Lt. Col. Brian D. Kerns, professor of military science and commanding officer of Old Dominion University’s Army ROTC unit, died Thursday, Sept. 4 at Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk. He was 43.
Kerns, who commanded the ODU Army ROTC since 2011, suffered a heart attack shortly after completing personal training with his cadets on August 27. Kerns is survived by his wife Lisa and son Ethan, 3.
“Brian was the epitome of an Army officer,” said RADM (ret.) David Architzel, Old Dominion University Director of Military Affairs. “He cared deeply for all those who served under him and would do anything for them. Most importantly, he was a loving husband and father to Lisa and Ethan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire Army family tonight.”
Kerns’ military career began in August, 1992, when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant from The Citadel.
A native of Virginia, Kerns earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from The Citadel, and a master’s degree in military history from the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. His Army schools included the Armor Basic Course, Dismounted Armored Scout Course, Scout Platoon Leaders Course, Infantry Captain’s Career Course and the Command and General Staff College.
His active duty assignments included Anti-Armor Platoon Leader, Scout Platoon Leader, Troop Executive Officer and Assistant Squadron S3, 1st Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk, La.; assistant Operations Officer, HQ, 3d Infantry Division; Battalion Maintenance Officer and Tank Company Commander, 1st BN, 64th Armor Regiment at Fort Stewart, Ga.; Cavalry Team Chief and Trainer, 48th Infantry Brigade, Macon, Ga.; Squadron Operations Officer and Executive Officer, 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment; and Chief of Operations and Brigade Executive Officer, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain at Fort Drum, N.Y.
Throughout his military career, Kerns served in increasingly challenging assignments in support of Army operations, including Operation Uphold Democracy, Operation Desert Thunder, SFOR Bosnia and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His military awards included the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Combat Action Badge.
Funeral arrangements are pending. In addition, a memorial service will be held on campus, and details will be announced at a future date. In recognition of Kerns’s service and sacrifice, all ODU flags on all campuses will be lowered to half-staff through Thursday, Sept. 9.
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