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First Name: Paul

Last Name: Kern

Birthplace: West Orange, NJ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: John

Date of Birth: 16 June 1945

Rank: General

Years Served: 1967-2005
Paul John Kern

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1967

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
•  Gulf War (1990 - 1991)


Paul John Kern
General, U.S. Army

Paul John Kern was born on 16 June 1945 and is a native of West Orange, NJ. He attended West Orange High School in his hometown. He attended the U.S. Military Academy and graduated with the Class of 1967. At graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Armor. In 1973 he earned Master's degrees in both Mechanical and Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Kern served two tours in Vietnam with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment as a platoon leader and troop commander, and was a Battalion Operations Officer with the 3rd Armored Division in Germany. He Commanded the 5th Battalion, 32nd Armor, 24th Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, GA; Commanded the 2nd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division, also at Fort Stewart and during Desert Shield/Desert Storm; and he was the Assistant Division Commander of the 24th Infantry Division after redeployment to Fort Stewart.

Other duties have included Kern's serving as the Commander, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), the Army's Experimental Force. He was also the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense; Military Staff Assistant, Defense Research and Engineering for Test and Evaluation, Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Director of Requirements (Support Systems), Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans.

Kern also served as Team Chief, Light Combat Vehicle Team, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition, and as the Program Branch Chief, Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems at Warren, MI. He taught weapon systems and automotive engineering at the U.S. Military Academy and was the department's research officer.

From 2001 to 2004, he served as Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. In June 2004, Kern was chosen to head the internal military investigation of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, also referred to as the Fay Report.

General Paul John Kern retired from active Army service in January 2005.

Medals, Awards, Badges & Tabs

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Meritorious Service Medal with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star
Army Service Medal
Army Overseas Service Medal
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Army Valorous Unit Award
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Parachutist Badge
Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
Army Staff Identification Badge
Ranger Tab

Silver Star Medal Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain (Armor) Paul J. Kern, United States Army, for gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force on 5 May 1970 while serving as Troop Commander with Troop I, 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date the lead platoon of Troop I spotted several enemy soldiers near their night defensive position. Captain Kern maneuvered two of his platoons into an assault formation and made a sweep of the area. While pursuing the enemy force the right flank came under an intense automatic weapons, small arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack from a well-fortified enemy position. Captain Kern used his vehicle to lead the assault on the enemy while he provided suppressive fire with his machine gun and personal weapon. When small arms fire disabled his communications Captain Kern exposed himself to the deadly hail of fire to give hand and arm signals and repair his communications. Captain Kern then stood atop his assault vehicle to direct the fire of the reinforcing troops. Due to his professional tactical knowledge the enemy force was totally routed with numerous casualties. Captain Kern's actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force, Vietnam, General Orders No. 2842 (July 5, 1970)

In Retirement

After retiring from the Army in January 2005, Kern joined the Board of Directors of EDO Corporation and iRobot Corporation. He is also a member of the External Advisory Board of the University of Michigan Department of Mechanical Engineering, and a Senior Counselor of The Cohen Group.

Kern now serves as the Chair of Advanced Technology in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy.

Kern became President and Chief Operating Officer of AM General LLC on 1 August 2008. His unique career blends technical expertise, combat operations, program management, policy development, and advisory roles to senior political leaders.

Honoree ID: 262   Created by: MHOH




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