Kenneth B. Potter – Colonel, United States Army

Kenneth B. Potter was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 23, 1909 was raised in Cranston, Rhode Island and attended the University of Rhode Island, graduating with a degree in chemical engineering in 1933. While at URI Kenneth Potter was captain of the football and baseball teams and a member of Theta Chi social fraternity.  He was elected into the University of Rhode Island Athletic Hall of Fame.


He immediately entered into active duty with the Infantry and attended the U.S. Army’s Infantry Officer basic school at Fort Benning, Georgia followed by the Infantry advance course. He graduated from the Army War College in June 1956.

Colonel Potter’s army career is highlighted by his service as an infantry officer in the European Theater during World War II. He served company and battalion commander with the 3d Infantry Division.  He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart award as well as a Presidential Unit Citation, among other decorations. As an infantry battalion commander he was the recipient of the Silver Star Medal with four oak leaf clusters and was twice awarded the French Croix de Guerre – once personally from General Charles De Gaulle.

In 1949 (then) Major Kenneth Potter was awarded his second Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism while in leading his unit in action at Heroldsberg, Germany on April 14, 1945 at which time he captured 124 Germans and killed nine more with an enemy weapon he had picked off the ground. Though wounded twice he was never out of action during the German campaign and commanded the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Division, 7th Army-Europe.

Colonel Potter commanded Audie Murphy, the most highly decorated soldier of World War II, as an infantryman under his leadership in the 3d Division. He was in part responsible for recommending Lieutenant Murphy for his battlefield commission and the Congressional Medal of Honor. Colonel Potter and Lieutenant Murphy were lasting friends and he gave the eulogy at Audie Murphy’s funeral following his death in a tragic airplane crash.

Following the war, Colonel Potter returned to Washington D.C. where commanded the Army’s separation center at Fort Myer, Virginia. Subsequently he worked with Military Intelligence at the Pentagon.  He also was a teacher of math and science at Flint Hill Academy, Fort Hunt and West Springfield High Schools in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Colonel Potter married the former Dorothy Kasper of Jamestown, RI and raised three children: Kenneth Freeman Potter of Davie, Florida, Nikki D. Cothran and Richard B. Potter of Virgina.

Colonel Potter died on September 15, 1995 and was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

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