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Ronnie Knittel



Knittel was born on April 27, 1955, in Igloo, South Dakota at the Army Weapons station. During President Johnson's Presidency, he closed several military installations. Igloo was one of them. Ronnie’s parents had a choice of stations to be transferred to, Texas or California. They opted for California to get away from the Texas heat. In the 60s, California was a very Red State.


Knittel joined the United States Marine Corps and went to boot camp at the recruit training depot in San Diego California. He graduated on February 23, 1973. He rose to the rank of Sergeant. His Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 0311 infantryman. His last duty station was an Inspector Instructor Staff (I&I).  His position on the I&I Staff was to train Marine Reserves in combat operations and tactics. His other MOSs were small arms instructor, armorer, communications, and motor transport. 

After being honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps, his first civilian job was in the small town of Hot Springs, South Dakota, population 6,600, working for the local police department. 


Knittel went to work at San Quentin State Prison in 1979.  His objective was to work there for three years and then take his experience to his ultimate job, working for U.S. Customs.     One of his many duties was to walk among the inmates looking for any drug transactions and potential assaults against staff and other inmates while under the watchful eye of the gunrail officers. He was assigned to the extraction team removing inmates from their cells who refused to come out.  Knittel officially retired from San Quentin in 1982.

In 1985 Knittel went to work as a special investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor.  All cases were considered confidential. The final investigation report was reviewed by a U.S. Department of Labor attorney and then to the Secretary of Labor, in Washington DC.

In 1987, Knittel went to work for the U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), as a special agent.  He was reassigned to detention and deportation.  At the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLTC) in Brunswick, Georgia, he graduated top of his class in physical fitness and expert marksman in shooting.

He left the Justice Department and went to work with the Federal Protective Service (FPS). He started in the uniform branch as a patrol officer.  Within two years, he was promoted to Sgt. where he daily supervised 15 officers. A year later, he was selected as the Senior Criminal Investigator supervising four detectives and support staff. He was then promoted to Lieutenant where he oversaw all patrol duties, as well as the Special Response Team Commander (SRTC).

In 1991, after working four years with the Federal Protective Service, he finally made it to U.S. Customs.  He was a Canine Narcotic Enforcement Officer. He worked wherever assigned searching container ships, cruise ships, commercial airlines, and private aircraft. His K-9  duties were not limited to just ways of transporting illicit narcotics into the United States. He worked on three narcotic task force groups taking down high-level narcotics traffickers.  After 9-11-2001 Customs became the Department of Home Land Security.  His position title changed to Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team. The ATCET tracked and monitored any potentially hazardous materials that could be used as a weapon of mass destruction within the Continental United States.


Knittel retired in 2011 after 30 years, but he was not done. In 2012, Knittel was hired as a contractor to the Afghan Mentoring Development. Knittel was attached to the Third Battalion Eighth Marines 3/8 and Third Battalion Ninth Marines 3/9 Police Advisory Team (PAT) in Southwest Helmand Province, Kandahar. He mentored and trained over two hundred and fifty Afghan Uniform Police (AUP) and Afghan Local Police (ALP) which was conducted through an interpreter.

He conducted daily joint operations with the U.S. Military in conjunction with high-risk convoys and engaged in training the newly formed Afghanistan Police and Border Forces in the principles of demographic policing, firearms training, station security, officer safety, and management skills building and mentoring on personnel, logistics, operations, and training.

He maintained a high level of physical fitness keeping with and exceeding Military standards. Utilized special weapons and tactics to ensure mission success. Additionally, Knittel executed advanced security reconnaissance and conducted threat assessments of projected routes. 

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