William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration

Colonel (R) Russell Kern

Colonel (retired) Russell J. Kern retired from the US Army, 30 September 2010, after more than 34 years of service.

Russ, a 1976 graduate of Madison High School, Madison, Florida, enlisted in the US Army in 1975 (delayed entry program) and rose to the rank of Sergeant during his three-year tour of duty. During this tour, Russ served as a helicopter crew chief in Stuttgart, West Germany.

He next graduated as the distinguished military graduate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1982 and was commissioned a Regular Army Second Lieutenant in the Transportation Branch of the US Army. Russ attended the US Army's rotary wing flight course and the maintenance officer's test pilot course after commissioning. He subsequently served as a Special Operations Pilot and maintenance test pilot throughout his aviation service assignments.

After his aviation service, Russ entered into the US Army's Foreign Areas Officer Program and studied to become a Military Diplomat. He attended Russian language training at the Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California, and received a Master of Science Degree in National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He was a senior fellow and is a graduate of the George C. Marshall Center for International Studies, Garmisch, Germany, and he received a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Studies from the US Air Force, Air War College and Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

Russ has served tours of duty in Germany, the US, Ukraine and The Republic Latvia. In his officer career he has been assigned as: Pilot; Maintenance Test Pilot; Platoon Leader; Staff Officer; Logistics Officer; Company Commander; Battalion Executive Officer; Assistant Army Attaché; Chief, Office of Defense Cooperation; Army Attaché; Chief of Staff (MACOM level) and Instructor, Air War College. Russ' combat deployments include: Operation Prime Chance, undisclosed location; Operation Just Cause, Panama; Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Persian Gulf; Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq. He has amassed over 1,200 helicopter flight hours as a special operations pilot and maintenance test pilot. Russ is qualified in the following aircraft: UH-1H; MH-6; AH-6; OH-6C; CH-47B; CH-47C; CH47-D; MH-47 AWC and the MH-47E. He also holds a civilian private pilot’s license for single engine, land airplanes and commercial instrument rating for rotary wing aircraft.

After his retirement from the US Army, Russ worked for SAIC, Fort Benning, Georgia, as a doctrine writer and program manager, and then for Knowledge Point, Abu Dhabi, UAE, as a Team Leader for Courseware Development. Russ is now a member of the Webster County, Georgia, Tax Assessor's Board and works his and Patti's small farm.

Russ and his wife, Patti, reside in Parrott, Georgia. They have 5 children: Channah Galbraith of Lee, Florida; Nicole Lipford of Tyronza, Arkansas; Kerry Turner of Parrott, Georgia; Peter Kern of Savannah, Georgia; and Jordan Turner of Pinetta, Florida. They are also the proud grandparents of Gracie Ann, Trey, Jake, Kerrington and Oscar.

Russ' Awards and Decorations from the US Army:

  • Defense Superior Service Medal
  • Legion of Merit
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Joint Service Achievement Medal
  • Army Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal with Star Device
  • Iraq Campaign Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Star Device
  • Southwest Asia Service Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • NCO Professional Development Ribbon
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Overseas Ribbon with Numeral Seven
  • Saudi Arabian-Kuwait Liberation Medal
  • Kuwaiti-Kuwait Liberation Medal
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award with four Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Senior Army Aviators Badge
  • Parachutists Badge
  • Air Assault Badge
  • Aircraft Crewmembers Badge
  • Legion of Merit, State of Michigan
  • Ministers Award, Ministry of Defense, Republic of Latvia
  • Ministers Award, Ministry of Defense, Ukraine

Russ' hobbies include: motorcycles; fishing; camping; home-brewing and playing the harmonica. He is a member of the following organizations:

  • Macedonia Baptist Church, Preston, GA
  • American Legion, Columbus, GA (lifetime member)
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars, Albany, GAMasonic Lodge 229, Dawson, GA
  • Hasan Shrine Temple, Albany, GA
  • Harley Owners Group, National Chapter (lifetime member)
  • Independent Harley Riders Association, Albany, GA
  • Night Stalker Association, Clarksville, TN (lifetime member)
  • Night Stalker Motorcycle Riders Brotherhood, Clarksville, TN