Merlin C. Kerns – Colonel, United States Army

Merlin C. Kerns, 82, an Army colonel who retired in 1971 as Provost Marshal of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, died of a heart attack on May 1, 1997, at Walter Reed Army  Medical Center. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on May 7, 1997.

Colonel Kerns, a resident of Alexandria, Virginia, was born in Macfarlan, Ritchie County, West Virginia, on May 4, 1914. He also maintained a residence in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He attended Shenandoah College in Dayton, Virginia.

He enlisted in 1941, attended the Military Police Officer Candidate School, and served in Germany during World War II. He subsequently served four years overseas on General MacArthur's Far East Command in Tokyo, Japan, and in Korea during   the Korean War.

After the Korean War, his assignments included Provost Marshal of Fort Lewis, Washington, and Fort Richardson, Alaska;   Commanding Officer of 503rd Military Police Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Provost Marshal of Headquarters I Corps in Korea; and Provost Marhal of the office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington, DC.

During the Vietnam War, Col. Kerns served as Provost Marshal of the U.S. Army Headquarters Area Command in Saigon from 1968-1969. His military decorations include the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters. In 1984, Col. KERNS was named and Outstanding West Virginian by Governor Jay Rockerfeller.

Colonel Kerns KERNS retired in 1971 and devoted his engeries to his family and his hobbies of gardening and working on his farm in Ritchie County.

His survivors include his wife, Lorraine Kerns; a daughter, Kathie Whitler of Charleston, West Virginia; a son, Jack Kerns of Oxnard, California; and two grandchildren, Matthew and Michael Whitler of Charleston.

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