LESTER H. KERN, LCDR, USNR

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Lester Kern '23

Date of birth: November 26, 1901

Date of death: November 24, 1943

Age: 41

Lucky Bag

From the 1923 Lucky Bag:


Loss

Lester was lost on November 24, 1943 when USS Liscome Bay (CVE 56) was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine.

He survived the sinking and was rescued by USS Morris (DD 417), but died shortly afterwards and was buried at sea.

Lester was a LCDR in the Navy Reserve, DVE-V(S), which was applied to "Officers of the Volunteer Reserve to the line for special service in deck and engineering duties." It's not clear what his duty aboard Liscome Bay was.

His wife was listed as next of kin; the following year she was residing in Baltimore.

Related Articles

Henry Mullinnix '16, Irving Wiltsie '21, Finley Hall '29, Charles Ostrom '30, and George Williams '40 were also lost in Liscome Bay.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

July 1923

Ensign, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

September 1923

Ensign, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

November 1923

Ensign, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

January 1924

Ensign, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

March 1924

Ensign, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

May 1924

Ensign, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

July 1924

Ensign, USS New York

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

September 1924

Ensign, USS Parrott

November 1924

Ensign, USS Parrott

January 1925

Ensign, under instruction, Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

March 1925

Ensign, under instruction, Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

May 1925

Ensign, under instruction, Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island

Others at this command: ENS William Reddington '23.

July 1925

Ensign, USS Humphreys

Others at this command: LTjg William Gray '21.

October 1925

Ensign, USS Humphreys

Others at this command: LTjg William Gray '21.

January 1926

Ensign, USS Humphreys

Others at this command: LTjg William Gray '21.

January 1927

Lieutenant, treatment, Naval Hospital, New York


Class of 1923

Lester is one of 25 members of the Class of 1923 on Virtual Memorial Hall.