GREGORY P KERNAHAN

GREGORY P KERNAHAN - CAPT

  • HOMETOWN:
  • avon-by-the-sea
  • COUNTY:
  • Monmouth
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • November 16, 1942
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • March 06, 1968
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • CAPT
  • STATUS:
  • KIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


Gregory Patrick Kernahan, Jr. was born on November 16, 1942.  His home of record is Avon-By-The- Sea.  He had one sister, Mary.  He attended Neptune High School.

Joe Ryan, a former teacher from Neptune High School who taught Greg Kernahan had this to say:

Capt. Kernahan was in my US History Class in 1960  - excellent pupil and a member of my Junior Historical Society.  He was also a member of the student council.  Nice boy all around.  Worked after school.

Kernahan served in the US Army where he attained the rank of Captain (CAPT).

On March 6, 1968, at the age of 25, Kernahan was killed in action in Gia Dinh, South Vietnam.  He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart.

In a letter to the parents of Captain Kernahan, Colonel William Talbott wrote:

Greg was accompanying his men on a convoy to Kontum, a small town some 25 miles north of Pleiku here in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, when the convoy was ambushed by a battalion-size force of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army regulars.  Greg had already passed through the scene of the heaviest fighting, but realizing that many of his men were still trapped, he stopped and returned to the scene of the battle to organize the defenses and see that the wounded were cared for.  He was giving instructions and orders to this effect while darting from truck to truck, reassuring his men and giving aid to the wounded, when he was hit by small arms fire.  His jeep driver, Specialist Douglas, applied a tourniquet to his leg and bound his wound at that time.  Greg told his driver to look after the others and though seriously wounded, your son directed the defense of the dismounted convoy members and simultaneously gave instructions as to the care for the other wounded.  He steadfastly maintained that he was all right, and told his men not to worry about him.  His only consideration was for the welfare of his men.  Enemy action precluded evacuation of the wounded for about 45 minutes.  Greg insisted that he be the last to be evacuated.  As you know, he died en route to the hospital here in Pleiku.

Your son's courage and devotion to duty will forever stand as a monument to our constant struggle for a free world and his sacrifice will be long revered by those of us privileged to know and work with him.

Frank Donohue first met Kernahan while stationed at Fort Lewis, WA, while serving with the 75th Engineer Battalion.  This is how he remembers him:

Greg helped me and another fellow GI with some personal problems.  I never forgot him or his kindness and willingness to help others!  I was hospitalized when the 75th deployed to Vietnam, and when released I volunteered for service in Vietnam, where I wound up being stationed at Pleiku in June 1967 to June 1968.with Co. B, 815th Engineer Company to which the 585th was attached.  I visited the 585th at their "club" on a regular basis, and got to speak to Greg and some of his troops on a regular basis.  Anyone who served under or knew Kernahan knew him to be a "Great Officer", but beyond that, just a great person.

Sources: Mary DeAngelo (sister), Joe Ryan, Frank Donahue and NJVVMF.

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