Retired March 1, 1975.
Major General John R. Kern Jr., is the assistant deputy chief of staff, programs and resources, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
General Kern was born in 1924, in Slatington, Pa., where he graduated from Slatington High School in 1938. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., in 1942.
During World War II, General Kern enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and after a period of training, received his commission as a second lieutenant in February 1944. In May 1944 he was assigned to the 388th Bombardment Group in the European Theater of Operations as a navigator on a B-17 aircraft. During the succeeding months, he flew on 27 combat missions against targets in Europe. On his 27th mission, the aircraft on which General Kern was navigator was shot down and he spent the remainder of World War II as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft I near Barth, Germany.
Upon his release from POW status, General Kern served for approximately one year as Army Air Corps liaison officer at the War Department Separation Center, Fort George G. Meade, Md. In September 1946 he was assigned to Westover Field, Mass., where he served for three years as assistant base adjutant and later as navigator and squadron adjutant. In October 1949 he was assigned to McAndrew Air Base in Newfoundland where for two years he was the group navigator of the 1805th Airways and Air Communications Service Group engaged in flight checking radio facilities from isolated stations north of the Arctic Circle to Lajes in the Azores.
In November 1951 he was assigned to the 1007th Air Intelligence Group. He served as a staff officer with that organization for three years and then completed the field officers course at Air Command and Staff School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
Upon graduation from Air Command and Staff School in June 1955, General Kern was assigned to the Inspector General Group at Norton Air Force Base, Calif., where he was a personnel and training inspector and later, chief of the Plans and Policy Group.
In July 1959 General Kern was again transferred overseas and assigned to the Directorate of Manpower and Organization, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, where he served as chief of the Manpower Standards Branch and later as chief of the Organization Branch.
Upon his return from overseas, he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as a manpower management staff officer and then as chief of the Organization Branch in the Directorate of Manpower and Organization in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Programs and Resources. In July 1966 he was assigned to Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, where he served for three years as director of manpower and organization.
He returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in August 1969 and was assigned to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, as chief of the Command Planning Division and in February 1970 became assistant deputy director for force development. In August 1970 General Kern assumed the position of deputy director of manpower and organization in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Programs and Resources, and in March 1972 he was assigned as director. In July 1974 General Kern was assigned the position of assistant deputy chief of staff, programs and resources.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
He was promoted to the grade of major general April 2, 1973, with date of rank Aug. 1, 1969.