Pvt. John I. Kerns, son of F. W. Kerns and the late Mrs. F. W. Kerns , has been reported missing in action [August 16, 1942] with the U.S. Marine Corps. Pvt. Kerns was born in Port Arthur and attended the local schools. His father taught music in the Port Arthur schools and directed the Port Arthur Symphony Orchestra some years ago.
A letter from Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson, giving details of the action in which Pvt. Kerns was lost, was sent to his father. The letter, in part, said: “It is with the very deepest sympathy I inform you that your son, Private John I. Kerns, was listed as missing after the raid on Makin , on 17-18 of August. (Makin is a southwest Pacific island.)
“While there is no positive evidence, I believe there is little question that he was lost at sea. He was one of five boys who regained the ship after the withdrawal and who volunteered to take a boat to the beach to pick up those of us who remained there with the wounded. While this boat was en route to the beach, it was strafed and sunk by enemy planes.
“John was a first rate Marine and every inch a man. He did valiant work during the battle of Makin. His final act of risking his life on behalf of his comrades was wholely in line with his character. For this act, which was above and beyond the call of duty, I have recommended John for the highest commendation within the power of the commander-in-chief to award.”