Osborne S. P. Koerner – Captain, United States Navy

Osborne S.P. “Ossie” Koerner, 94, a lawyer with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a longtime officer in the Naval Reserve, died December 13, 2006, of intestinal cancer at the Jefferson retirement community in Arlington, Virginia, where he lived.

Captain Koerner began his U.S. government service with the Federal Housing Administration in 1934. During World War II, he served aboard the USS Helena and took part in 13 engagements with Japanese forces in the Pacific, including the Solomon Islands campaign and the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The Helena was the first Navy ship in World War II awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for its part in 1943 in the Battle of Kula Gulf, in which it was sunk by a Japanese torpedo. Mr. Koerner survived the sinking by swimming in oil-laden waters for several hours. He sent SOS signals with a pencil flashlight until he was rescued by a launch from the destroyer USS Radford. He named his only son after the Radford.

Captain Koerner later served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Wasp in the Pacific.

After the war, he returned to the housing administration as a lawyer, retiring in 1973 as a central office director with HUD.

Captain Koerner was born in Avalon, Pennsylvania, grew up in Grove City, Pennsylvania., and was a graduate of Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. He graduated in 1936 from the National University School of Law, which later merged with George Washington University. He received a second law degree from GWU in 1970.

He served for many years in the Naval Reserve, reaching the rank of Captain.

After his retirement from federal service, Captain Koerner pursued a lifelong interest in education, taking courses through Harvard University, Oxford University and other institutions. He traveled widely throughout the world and visited Russia and China, among other countries.

He was a longtime Arlington resident and was a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church there. He was previously an elder, trustee and deacon of National Presbyterian Church in Washington. He was also a member of USS Helena and USS Wasp veterans' organizations.

His wife of 44 years, Rachel Hood Koerner, died in 1990.

Survivors include two children, Marianne H. Koerner of Arlington and Radford S. Koerner of Alexandria.



“Ossie” on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 of Arlington, Virignia. Husband of the late Rachel H. Koerner; loving father of Radford S. (Christine Vick) Koerner and Marianne H. Koerner.

Services will be held on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 9 a.m. at Fort Myer Old Post Chapel with interment following at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Residences, Inc., 14160 Newbrook Drive, Chantilly, Virignia 20151.

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