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First Name: William

Last Name: Kernan

Birthplace: Fort Sam Houston, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: F.

Date of Birth: 29 January 1946

Rank: General

Years Served: 1968-2002
William F. Kernan

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


William F. "Buck" Kernan
General, U.S. Army

William F. "Buck" Kernan was born on 29 January 1946 at Fort Sam Houston, TX. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in November 1968 after completing Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA. He holds a Bachelor's degree in History, and a Master's degree in Personnel Administration. His military education includes the Infantry Officer's Advanced Course; the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; and the U.S. Army War College.

Kernan's initial assignment was as Liaison Officer with the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC. Assigned to Vietnam in August 1969, he served with the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon Leader (Tiger Force), and Assistant S-3. Following this assignment he returned to Fort Bragg and served as Company Commander, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 325th Infantry.

Upon completion of the Infantry Officer's Advance Course in March 1974, Kernan was assigned to the U.S. Army Recruiting Command as an Area Commander in Austin, TX. Joining the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Fort Lewis, WA, in April 1976, he commanded two companies and was the assistant S-3 before departing in July 1978 to attend the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS. In July 1979, he was assigned to the Military Personnel Center in Washington, DC, initially to the DA Secretariat, and then to the Officer Personnel Management Directorate as an Infantry Branch Assignment Officer.

In August 1981, he was selected to be the U.S. Exchange Officer representing the 82d Airborne Division to the British Parachute Regiment where he commanded Company C, 3 PARA, for two years. Upon his return from England in July 1983, Kernan joined the 2d Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, where he served as the Executive Officer and Battalion Commander. After completing the Army War College in July 1987, he assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, GA. In December 1988, he assumed the duties as Deputy Commander, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, and held that position until 20 June 1989, when he assumed command of the 75th Ranger Regiment. On 20 December 1989, he led the 75th Ranger Regiment in its combat parachute assault into Panama during Operation Just Cause.

In September 1991, he was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Ord, CA, where he served as the Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver). In July 1993, he was assigned as the Director of Plans, Policy, and Strategic Assessments, J-5, U.S. Special Operations Command at, MacDill Air Force Base, FL. Kernan commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) from February 1996 until February 1998 and assumed Command of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg on 12 March 1998.

His final assignment was as Commander, U.S. Army Joint Forces Command from 1998 to 2002.

General William F. "Buck" Kernan retired from active Army service in 2002.

Medals, Awards, Badges & Tabs

Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Medal with Award Numeral "2"
Army Commendation Medal with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Arrowhead & Bronze Star
Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
NCO Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Vietnam Civil Actions Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Master Parachutist Badge with Bronze Combat Star (Operation Just Cause)
Air Assault Badge
Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge
Ranger Tab

Honoree ID: 263   Created by: MHOH




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