RON “MAD DOG” Marullo

My name is Amanda Caroline-Marullo Simpson and I am the widower of LT Ronald Nicholas Marullo. I am sharing my story as I believe that Ron’s colon cancer diagnosis could be directly related to his multiple missions and the airspace that he flew over while he was on missions in the E-2C (radar plane) Hawkeye.

In late May of 2015, I remember Ron calling me into the bedroom because he could not get out of bed. He was in so much pain. After being rushed to the ER and getting an MRI we were referred to Texas Oncology immediately. They got us in quickly-we only had to wait a few days. On June 5, 2015, one day before our 16th wedding anniversary Ron was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic colon cancer.

Right away his Oncologist Dr. Kocks started a treatment plan. Ron was ready for the challenge and the biggest fight of his life. We were getting chemo every two weeks. After 6 months we had to take a break from it and let his body rest, but when we were ready to start up again, we were told that we should spend as much time together as we could and that another round would probably do more harm to his body than good. On August 20th, 2016 Ron passed away.


  1. Scott Allen

    Survivor’s guilt is a strange thing. It creeps up on you when you least expect it and despite one’s rationales, it’s always there. Some might say it’s just a feeling but it’s more than that…

    I went in for my first colonoscopy in 2014 a few days before I turned 52. This was supposed to be routine so when the Gastroenterologist said I had colon cancer it was a shock. This was an aggressive type of cancer and time was critical. The physicians worked together, and just 4 days after the tumor was discovered it was removed. That was a blessing.

    Two years later, almost to the day, I got an email letting me know that Ron was gone. I didn’t even know he was sick, and I couldn’t believe he had the same type of cancer that I did. Not a day goes by that I don’t regret not calling Ron and every other Hawkeye guy I ever knew to tell them about what happened to me and recommend, most urgently, that they get checked out.

    I guess I thought there was some kind of safety net, a health Ombudsman, some network, or linkage that would raise a red flag and warn others of the risks. There was not…nobody is watching out for us or working to distribute this kind of lifesaving information – so we must do it. We must get the word out or live with the consequences of doing nothing. For now, all I can say is that I miss my friend.

    I started the Hawkeye Initiative to honor the memory of Ron “Mad Dog” Marullo. But the best way to truly honor Ron and the other Hawkeye aircrew that have died is to spread the word. Please help me do that by sending this link – to all those who served our community.

    • Rob Oldham

      What an honor you are carrying out for your friend, his family and fellow service members. You continue to set the standard for all to follow that have had the honor to be led by you Sir. May God continue to walk with you and bless you and your family.

  2. Keith Custer

    Ron was my best friend and a great man. He was taken from us too soon. Mad Dog was the best! The world could use more of his humble, gracious, spirit. I wish he was still with us today, but anything that we can do to help prevent another shipmate from experiencing this ordeal is time and energy well spent. Please help us spread the word and keep our brothers and sisters safe and healthy. Love to all my Bear Ace family! Keith “Marcel” Custer


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Though much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


Ulysses – Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809 1892