08 John Irvin Kerns, Copperhill, Tennessee

08 John Irvin Kerns, Copperhill, Tennessee

John Irvin Kerns

John I. Kerns
John Irvin Kerns

Rank/Rate:   Private, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve)

Service Number:   348233

Birth Date:   August 9, 1919

From:   Copperhill, Tennessee

Decorations:   Navy Cross, Purple Heart, Prisoner of War Medal

Navy Cross Citation, written before the actual circumstances of his death were known:  The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to John I. Kerns (348233), Private, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and conspicuous devotion to duty while serving as a member of a volunteer boat crew in Company B, SECOND Marine Raider Battalion, during the Marine Raider Expedition against the Japanese-held island of Makin in the Gilbert Islands on 17 and 18 August 1942. Fully aware of the hazards of an imminent enemy air attack, and with complete disregard for his own life, Private Kerns, with four others, volunteered to take a boat to a point just outside a reef and shoot a line ashore to assist in evacuating those men remaining on the beach. Caught on the sea, he was defeated in his valiant efforts by the violent strafing of his boat by withering enemy machine-gun fire. His great personal valor and loyal spirit of self-sacrifice were in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country.

Command:   2nd Raider Battalion, carried aboard USS Argonaut

Loss Date:   October 16, 1942

Location:   Kwajalein

Circumstances:   Captured on Butaritari Island, Makin Atoll, taken to Kwajalein and executed

Remarks:  Photo courtesy of Gunner Ed Sere, USMC, ret.

NavSource,  Submarine Photo Archive for the USS ARGONAUT (SS-166)

On Eternal Patrol list of Submariners and Marines lost on the USS Argonaut (SS-166)

  Return to Lost Tennessean Roster


Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association

Perpetuating the memories of submariners who didn’t come home

Chairman: Mike Anderson (SK2(SS)USN) | President: Patrick Ryan (YNC(SS), LCDR USN)

The TSMA is a nonprofit memorial association registered as a 501(c) tax exempt organization and is registered with the Tennessee Secretary of State to receive charitable donations. Please make the TSMA one of the charities that you support.  You can make a donation here or send a check made to: Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association, c/o 309 Church Street, #107, Nashville, TN 37201.

Here’s our nonprofit (501(c)3) designation letter [link] Here’s our State of Tennessee registration to solicit charitable donations [link]

Thank you for your help commemorating the Tennesseans who gave their lives as American Submariners in the service of the United States Navy.

Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association

c/o 309 Church Street, #107 Nashville, TN 37201