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SECURITY LEVELS

Past NACOs 1991 to 2010

Galleries:  2011 - Present1991 - 2010, 1971 - 1990, 1951 - 1970

PNACO Nicholas KeriganNicholas Kerigan 
2009-2010

Commodore Nicholas Kerigan is serving as the Coast Guard Auxiliary National Commodore.  He previously served as National Vice Commodore, National Area Commodore - Atlantic Area (East). District Commodore, First District - Southern Region in 2003-2004, as District Vice Commodore - Chief of Staff in 2001-2002 and District Rear Commodore - Activities New York (South) in 1999-2000.

Commodore Kerigan graduated from Saint John's University in New York, in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree.  He has also studied at Saint John's University, Graduate School of Business Administration.  Commodore Kerigan is retired and was most recently employed with Morgan Stanley as a Vice President in the Information Technology Division.  Previously he had been employed with two major International Banks in management positions with responsibility for business continuity planning.

Since joining the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary in 1992, he has served in all elected positions through National Area Commodore, Atlantic Area (East) as well as several staff positions at various levels of the Auxiliary.  He is an AUXOP member, is qualified as a Coxswain, Air Observer, Vessel Examiner, Instructor and as a Qualification Examiner.  He is active in operations, member training, public education, and the vessel safety check programs.  He is a member of Flotilla 12-03, First District, Southern Region.

Commodore Kerigan has received several personal awards and commendations, including the Auxiliary Meritorious Service Award, Auxiliary Award of Operational Merit, Auxiliary Commendation Award, Transportation 9-11 Medal, Auxiliary Achievement Award, Auxiliary Commandant's Letter of Commendation (OPS), Sustained Auxiliary Service Award (10) and several group awards including the Coast Guard Unit Commendation (OPS, 4) Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation (OPS), Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation (OPS, 5) and the Special Operations Service Award (2).

A native of New York City, he currently resides in Manhasset, New York with his wife Susan and their two children Christine and James.


PNACO Steven M. BudarSteven Budar 
2007-2008

Commodore Budar began his career in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary in 1985.  He has served as Vice and Flotilla Commander, Vice and Division Captain in District 14 Division 2, and later in District 14 Division 1, District Commodore, National Area Commodore, Pacific Area and National Vice Commodore.

Steve M. Budar is a 1974 graduate of the University of Michigan.  He began his business career with ALCOA Aluminum in Pittsburgh, PA.  Entered the insurance business in 1977 in Southern California and has owned and operated insurance agencies in California and Hawaii since.  Steve is the owner of the Budar Agency in Kona, Hawaii.  He is also President and CEO of the Dragon Group Inc., a financial consulting company.



PNACO Gene M. SeibertGene Seibert 
2005-2006

Commodore Gene M. Seibert was elected National Commodore on 3 September 2004 and served as National Commodore from November 1, 2004 until 31 October 2006.  Likewise, he served as the Chairman and CEO of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Association, Inc. from 1 November 2004 through 31 October 2006.  He served on the Board of Directors of the Coast Guard Foundation and on the Board of Directors for the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS) during this same period.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Boat US and the United Safe Boating Institute.  Commodore Seibert was the first Auxiliarist appointed to the Coast Guard's Leadership Council by Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant, United States Coast Guard and continues to serve in this position.

Commodore Seibert graduated from Thomas More College in Kentucky, in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.  He also holds an MBA (1976) in Procurement and Contracts from George Washington University, Washington, DC, and 2 Master of Science (1994 & 1997) degrees, in Government Contracting and International Contracting, respectively, also from George Washington University.  He is a registered member of the National Contract Management Association.

The Commodore retired from Lucent Technologies after 34 years of service.  While employed by Lucent Technologies, he held the senior management position of Area Vice President, International, Government and Domestic Contract Management.  He was responsible for the management of Contract Management, Negotiations and Administration from opportunity identification through contract signing and contract closeout.  He managed an organization of professional sales personnel, program managers and contract specialists. Other key positions held with Lucent Technologies included: Director, Merger and Acquisitions and Director, Sales Realization and Technical Consulting.

Since joining the US Coast Guard Auxiliary in 1984, Seibert has served in all elected positions, as well as in numerous staff positions within each level of the Auxiliary.  He is an AUXOP Member, holds qualifications as Coxswain, Air Crew, Vessel Examiner, Instructor, Marine Dealer Visitor, and is a Qualification Examiner.  He is active in operations, public education, member training and vessel examinations and served as the Flight Safety Advisor for Fifth District (SR).  Commodore Seibert and his wife, Maria, are members of Flotilla 12-02, Fifth District, Southern Region.
Commodore Seibert has received many awards and commendations, including the Distinguished Service Medal (2), Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Award (3), Life Membership, Commendation Medal, Transportation 9/11 Medal, Achievement Medal, Commandant Letter of Commendation, Coast Guard Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation (OPS), Sustained Auxiliary Service Award, Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation (OP, 2), Coast Guard Special Operations Ribbon, Coast Guard Group Action Award, and Flotilla Auxiliarist of the Year.

A native of Kentucky, Seibert currently resides in Virginia with his wife Maria.  They have 4 children: 3 daughters and 1 son, and 3 grandchildren.



PNACO E.W. EdgertonE.W.Edgerton 
2003-2004

E. W. (Bill) Edgerton, Jr is a native of Bamberg, SC, born on 7 February 1938.  A 1959 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he retired as a lieutenant commander from the U.S. Navy in 1983, after serving 24 years on warships ranging from minesweepers to aircraft carriers and in various shore commands.  He also was a program manager for critical nuclear safety and test programs.  While serving as head of a technical support unit for the Naval Sea Systems Command at the Naval Station Mayport, Florida, he took his first Auxiliary safe boating course.  In 1978 he joined Flotilla 14-8 later earning his AUXOP designation, coxswain device and qualifications as Instructor, Vessel Examiner, and Marine Dealer Visitor.

Rising through the 7th District elected and staff officer leadership ranks, Edgerton was elected District Commodore in 1996.  In that capacity he was largely responsible for the establishment of the Districts Auxiliary Support Center (DIRAUX WEST) that eventually expanded to include online testing, member training, and administrative support.  He went on to be elected National Area Rear Commodore (East) in 1998, National Vice Commodore in 2000, and National Commodore in 2002.

During his term as National Commodore, Commodore Edgerton oversaw the full development of Operation Patriot Readiness (OPR 1 and 2), implementation of the Coast Guard’s Personal Security Investigation (PSI) program and incorporation of the National Executive Committee into the Commandant’s Flag Conferences.

Commodore Edgerton has been awarded the Coast Guard Auxiliary Distinguished Service Award, Auxiliary Meritorious Service Award (2), Auxiliary Commendation Award, Auxiliary Achievement Award, Department of Transportation 9-11 Medal, Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation, Secretary’s (DOT) Outstanding Unit Award, Coast Guard Unit Commendation (3) and the Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation.  His Navy awards include Meritorious Service Medal (2), Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
His wife, Brenda, is also an active Auxiliarist having held the offices of Flotilla Commander and various appointed staff positions within the 7th District.  Currently they are active in church activities.  They live in Glen St. Mary, Florida, and have raised three sons.


PNACO Viggo C. BartelsenViggo Bartelsen 
2001-2002

Commodore Viggo C. Bertelsen, Jr., was elected National Commodore in September 2000 and served in that capacity for 2001 and 2002.  Concurrently, Commodore Bertelsen served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Coast Guard Auxiliary Association, Inc. and as a Member of the Board of the Association for Rescue at Sea (AFRAS).  As Immediate Past National Commodore (NIPCO) the Commodore was a member of the Boat US National Advisory Board in 2003-2004.

Commodore Bertelsen joined the Auxiliary in November 1975 as a member of Flotilla 22, Bellevue, WA.  He achieved AUXOP status in 1983 and Auxiliary Coxswain in 1987.  He teaches courses in the public education and member training programs, examines vessels and patrols regularly to support activities of the Coast Guard and Auxiliary in the Pacific Northwest.  In addition to serving in all elected flotilla, division, and district offices, he served as National Department Chief-Training (DC-T), National Vice-Commodore Pacific Area (NAVCO-P) and Chief of Staff (NAVCO-COS) prior to election as National Commodore (NACO).

Among Commodore Bertelsen’s many contributions to the Auxiliary was introduction of the Flotilla Detachment organizational concept when he was the commodore of the 13th District.  The detachment enabled development of very small Auxiliary “seed” units in unserved areas with administrative and training support provided by an existing flotilla in another locale.  Further, Commodore Bertelsen obtained recognition of all Auxiliary commodores as “Flag Officers” including authorization to fly a personal flag (replacing the previous pennants and past officer burgees), wearing uniform shoulder boards identical in design to Coast Guard Flag Officers but with a silver background and participation in Coast Guard Flag Officer conferences.

A tireless advocate for Coast Guard funding of the Auxiliary, Commodore Bertelsen ultimately procured full Coast Guard funding of the previously approved Auxiliary Funding Model, approval and funding of air and surface maintenance allowances for operational facility usage and initial funding by the Coast Guard for procurement of mandated Personal Protective Equipment for Auxiliarists to enable them to engage in operational patrol activity.
Commodore Bertelsen was in office reporting to Admiral James Loy, Commandant of the U. S. Coast Guard as the national leader of the Auxiliary at the time of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  In response to the challenges resulting from the 9-11 attacks, Commodore Bertelsen developed the first Auxiliary Operation Order initiating Operation Patriot Readiness to inventory, quantify, qualify and document readiness of all Auxiliary personnel, facilities and resources for employment by the Commandant as plans for 9-11 response were implemented.  During this period Commodore Bertelsen presided over the expansion of Auxiliary membership to over 38,000 people ready, willing, able and organized to support the Coast Guard and the country as required and requested by the Commandant.

Commodore Bertelsen is the recipient of many awards and commendation s including two Coast Guard Auxiliary Distinguished Service Medals, two Coast Guard Auxiliary Meritorious Service Medals, the Medal of Operational Merit, the Auxiliary Commendation Medal, the Transportation 9/11 Medal, three Coast Guard Unit Commendations with Operational Devices, the National Defense Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and numerous other awards for Auxiliary service.

Commodore Bertelsen graduated from Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass. receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering & Applied Physics and a commission as Ensign, USN in 1958.  After competing in and winning the Thames Challenge Cup at the Royal Henley Regatta in England, then Ensign Bertelsen went on active duty in the Navy where he served in operations billets on destroyers in the Pacific Fleet.  After completion of active Navy duty, Commodore Bertelsen attended the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving an MBA (Industrial Marketing & Procurement) in 1963.

In 1963, Commodore Bertelsen moved to Seattle, Washington to be employed by the Boeing Company on the Minuteman Missile Program.  In 1967 he moved to Rocket Research Corporation, as Director of Procurement and subsequently became president of two subsidiary companies.  Commodore Bertelsen rejoined Boeing in the Commercial Airplane Company, serving in various procurement and industrial engineering management positions, retiring in February 2000 as Chief Industrial Engineer for Make/Buy and Internal Supply Chain Management, Twin Aisle Airplane (747, 767 & 777) Programs.

A native of California Commodore Bertelsen grew up as a Navy junior living in Oakland, California; New York City; Chicago; Camden, New Jersey; Arkansas; Arlington, Virginia; and Madrid, Spain.  He is married to the former Sandra Jeanne Sager of Corpus Christi, Texas and now resides in Issaquah, Washington.  They have a grown son and a daughter, one granddaughter and one grandson all of whom reside in the Puget Sound Area.  An active boater for over 50 years, he holds the grade of Senior Navigator and is a Past Commander of Bellevue Sail & Power Squadron of USPS.  He is a member of the Seattle Yacht Club, the North Vancouver Squadron of Canadian Sail & Power Squadrons (CPS/ECP), and is a Golden Life Member of the U. S. Naval Institute.  He is also a Member of the Northwest Danish Foundation, the Nordic Heritage Museum, a Member and Past President of The Danish Club of Seattle and active in his church choir.



PNACO Everette L. Tucker, Jr.Ev Tucker 
1997-2000

Everette L. Tucker, Jr. joined Auxiliary Flotilla 49, 2nd Coast Guard District, while serving as the Director of the Leadership & Management Department and the Pre-Command Course (0-5/6 levels) for the U.S. Army's Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1974.  He retired from the Army after over 30 years service with the rank of Colonel in 1988.  Tucker and his family reside in Yorktown, Virginia, where he is a member of Flotilla 63, 5th Coast Guard District (SR).  During his years in the Auxiliary, Tucker has served in every elected position, including 5SR District Commodore from 1986-87.  He has also held staff positions at all levels from flotilla to national department chief of member resources.  From 1987 to 1994, Tucker was a member of the National Legislative Liaison Committee, holding its chair from 1990-1994.  He was elected National Rear Commodore-East, in 1993 and National Vice Commodore in 1995.  His qualifications include: instructor, vessel examiner, and coxswain.

During NACO Tucker's tenure, he spearheaded the re-establishment of recreational boating safety as a core mission of the Auxiliary and the provision of increased Coast Guard funding for the Auxiliary.  His efforts were instrumental in increasing other organizations participation in the Vessel Safety Check Program; such, as the USPS.  Due to his efforts the Coast Guard Auxiliary Association, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, was founded to increase the availability of funds to carry out the Auxiliary's missions and programs.  Under his leadership, membership in the Auxiliary saw significant increases each year and priority was placed on personnel issues; such as, diversity and prevention of sexual harassment.  He also presided over the celebration of the Auxiliary's 60th Anniversary celebration in 1999 that included the production of a history documentary video and an exhibit at the Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut.

As IPNACO and Director, International Affairs & Interpreter Support (IA), Tucker focused on developing the Auxiliary's international affairs program which has produced a number of memoranda of understanding with various nations in the Caribbean, Australia, Canada, and The Philippines to facilitate training and joint operations.  He also helped implement the International SAR Competition (ISAR) between the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and our Auxiliary.  The IA program also now comprises an extensive interpreter program in which Auxiliary members serve as foreign language interpreters during Coast Guard and Navy operational deployments overseas, international/joint events/exercises, disasters, and even in administrative proceedings.

Commodore Tucker was born in 1935 in East Texas.  A licensed engineer and land surveyor, he holds degrees in geology and civil engineering from the University of Texas-Austin and Texas A&M University, respectively, along with a master's degree in educational psychology from Boston University.  Following graduation from the University of Texas, Tucker served for thirty years in various command and staff positions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including service in Vietnam, earning the combat infantryman's badge.  He has overseen army housing and base operations and been commander of the 94th Engineer Battalion and the 24th Engineer Construction Group.  He is a 1978 graduate of the Air War College.

Following retirement from the Army in 1988, Tucker worked as a defense consultant, analyzing joint service operations which included Operations Desert Storm/Desert Shield, Operation Just Cause, and peacekeeping in Somalia.  He is the author and co-author of several operations and engineering publications written for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Commodore Tucker's Army awards, in order of precedence, include: Legion of Merit (2), Bronze Star (2), Meritorious Service Medal (4), Air Medal (5), Commendation Medal (2), Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (with palm), Army General Staff Badge, Airborne Device, as well as the infantry badge cited above.  His Coast Guard and Auxiliary awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (2), Meritorious Service Medal (7), Coast Guard Unit Commendation (2), CG Meritorious Team Commendation (11), Auxiliary Award of Administrative Merit (5), Commandant's Letter of Commendation, Coxswain device and other service awards.

Commodore Tucker is married to the former Patricia Merka, also a native Texan.  They have two children and two grandchildren.


PNACO Peter W. MeleraPeter Melera 
1995-1996

Peter W. Melera was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on February 19, 1942.  He was raised in Sharon Springs, New York, where he graduated from high school in 1960 and still owns a home.  He attended the Pennsylvania Military College in Chester; The State University of New York at Cobleskill; and the University of Georgia, in Athens, where he obtained the Ph.D. in 1969.  Melera has held faculty positions at the Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York City; the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland; and is now Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Research at the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine in Camden, New Jersey, where he is also the Deputy Director for Basic Science at the Cancer Research Institute of Cooper University Hospital.

Dr. Melera joined Flotilla 62, of the [former 3NR] 1SR, Rye, New York, on July 18, 1974.  During the ensuing 21 years, he served in appointed positions at the Flotilla, Division, and District levels and in elected positions at all levels, including serving on the National EXCOMM as NARCO-East and NAVCO from 1992-94.  He earned the AUXOP device in 1983 and became certified as an Auxiliary Coxswain in 1985 and a Boat Crew Qualification Examiner in 1987.  At NACON 1994, he was elected to the position of NACO for 1995-96.

The years from 1993 to 1997 saw great changes in the Coast Guard, as required by the Congressional mandate to downsize and streamline.  Best business practices were adopted: Total Quality Management (TQM), as formulated by the use of Quality Action Teams (QATs), was implemented service-wide and that by necessity included the Auxiliary.  This provided an opportunity for COMO Melera to propose to the National Board an extensive reorganization of the NAEXCOM and the National Staff.  Upon approval by the Board and the Commandant, a Directorate style of management, similar to that adopted by the Coast Guard was activated on February 29, 1996, to promote better operational alignment with the parent service.  During his term COMO Melera oversaw the dismantling of the Area Conferences and stand up of N-TRAIN and the National Area Planning Meetings to enhance training and communication at all levels.

On June 27, 1995, Melera, in conjunction with the CHDIRAUX, CAPT. A. A. Sarra, promulgated the Auxiliary Business Description and Direction (ABD&D) that provided guidance for Auxiliarists to undertake Coast Guard missions beyond those historically associated with recreational boating safety, a trend that had been ongoing for a decade.  As a consequence of the ABD&D, the Goal Attainment Program (GAP) was terminated, thus freeing Auxiliarists to carry out missions they wanted to do, as opposed to being tasked to carry out more traditional Cornerstone missions in order to receive rewards.  Thus so-called ?GAP Ribbons? became a thing of the past.  Streamlining the Coast Guard also claimed the Second Coast Guard District and due to its closure in 1996, COMO Melera oversaw the merger of the Auxiliary Central and Eastern Areas into the Atlantic Area.  In addition on February 15, 1996, he initiated a monthly, sometimes biweekly, Memorandum for the Commandant on Auxiliary Affairs.  This report was sent to all Flags and S[enior] E[xecutive] S[ervice] members in an effort to keep the Auxiliary "Front and Center" with the Coast Guard leadership.  The report was also distributed to the National Board and Staff to maintain awareness of Auxiliary activities across the organization.

Perhaps COMO Melera's most important contribution to the organization was his testimony on April 25, 1996, to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, which helped to assure passage of the "Auxiliary Act" into law.  This piece of legislation redefined the Auxiliary and provided authorization for the Commandant to utilize Auxiliarists to ". . . .assist, the Coast Guard. . .in performing any. . .function, power, duty, role or mission or operation authorized by law," and, most importantly, it provided the legal protection for them to do so.  The Act had been in preparation for several years and had first been submitted during COMO Lanz's tour, but it had not moved beyond Committee review.  However as a direct result of the persistence of the Commandant, Adm. Robert E. Kramek, and his recognition of the importance of the legislation to the Auxiliary, the Act was packaged as part of the 1997 Coast Guard Budget, and through the efforts of his legal and congressional staffs and in close collaboration with the Chief of the Auxiliary Department of Legal Affairs, Como Joseph Gordon, the Act was finally signed into law on October 19, 1996.  This was indeed a watershed event for the Auxiliary and laid the legal groundwork for the truly multi-mission organization it is today and further enfranchised it as a member of "Team Coast Guard".

For his efforts during a period of great change for the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and for his strong support of the concept of "Team Coast Guard," COMO Melera was presented with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Distinguished Service Award by Admiral Kramek at NACON96.

Presently Dr. Melera continues his service to the Coast Guard as an Auxiliarist, having been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut in 1996.  Since 2004, he has chaired its Admissions Committee.  He is now the senior member of the Board in terms of longevity.  In the past he has also been a member of two Deans Search Committees.  Says Melera, "The Academy is a wonderful institution and I have been privileged to serve as a Trustee and to contribute my academic expertise to help its administration, faculty, and staff achieve their mission."

Dr. Melera is married to the former Barbara A. Plantholt of Baltimore, Maryland, with whom he owns the D. Landreth Seed Company.  Founded in 1784, it is the oldest seed house in America and the fourth oldest corporation in U.S. history.  Together they have four children: three boys and one daughter, and three grandchildren.
[June 2008]


PNACO Joseph J. Lanz, Jr.Joseph Lanz 
1993-1994

Joseph J. Lanz was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 11, 1929, where he has been a life long resident.  In 1951, he graduated from Allegheny Technical Institute and eventually went into business for himself as the owner of an optical company.  Lanz enrolled in the Auxiliary in 1975, having joined as a result of taking a PE class.  Over the years he was elected to offices at all levels of the organization.

During his tour as NACO from 1993 to 1994, Lanz was responsible, along with his Board, for initiation and partial development of the landmark legislation, Coast Guard Auxiliary Act of 1996, that was signed into law on 19 October 1996, after eighteen months of effort by the Auxiliary and Coast Guard and Congressional negotiations.

The national board was also responsible for changing the antiquated Auxiliary penalty indicia mail system to the 'Official Mail' system currently used today.  In1993, under Lanz's leadership, the Auxiliary began the Wal Mart initiative through which many stores in the chain cooperated with local flotillas, allowing use of their facilities for the promotion of boating safety.  During Lanz's term, the Board developed and planned N-Train, the yearly training conference that replaced the three Area Conferences as of 1995.  Lanz also promoted a greater awareness of the Auxiliary and its programs among the active duty and reserve Coast Guard and its leadership.

Commodore Lanz was the first NACO to be made a voting member of the CG Flag Corps, was awarded the Auxiliary Commendation Medal in 1988 and 2006 and the Department of Transportation Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award by Commandant Robert E. Kramek in 1994.  Lanz currently serves as the Auxiliary's National Chairman of the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance program.

Commodore Lanz is a Korean War era veteran, during which time he served as an Army Signal Corps instructor at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey and was deployed overseas to Paris, France.  In Pittsburgh he was also active in his church and the Federal Credit Union.  Lanz shares retirement with his wife of fifty-six years Joan Strobel Lanz, and is the proud father of four daughters and grandfather of eight.
[June 2008]


PNACO Stanley Y. KennedyStanley Kennedy 
1991-1992
Deceased

Stanley Y. Kennedy, Jr., a retired career army officer and decorated World War II veteran, was elected national commodore in 1991.  Kennedy first joined the Auxiliary in 1974 as a charter member of the Kent Island, Maryland flotilla and became one of the first coxswains in the Fifth CG District (NR), earning the AUXOP device in 1980.  He was also an active vessel examiner and instructor.  He was first elected flotilla commander in 1977 and rose through the ranks of elected office.  He was awarded the Department of Transportation Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award in recognition for his two outstanding years as national commodore.

Kennedy went on to serve as a member of the National Safe Boating Council.  During his professional career Kennedy was known as a strong and empathetic leader and tremendous problem solver.  While en route to an NSBC meeting he suffered a heart attack and died on January 7, 1995.

Kennedy was born on November 26, 1920 to career officer Army Captain and Mrs. William Y. Kennedy in Rockford, Illinois.  He was commissioned in the U. S. Army as a second lieutenant in 1943 and served in the European Theater, earning the Combat Infantry Badge and two Bronze Stars for valor.  While serving with occupation forces he met his future wife Margarethe Fuhrer with whom he had two daughters.  Kennedy continued his army career in various command and staff positions in the armored branch.  He retired as a colonel in 1968, after serving as the executive officer for the assistant secretary of the army for research and development.  Six years later, he switched from army green to Bender Blues with his 45-foot boat in tow.

Kennedy was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on January 17, 1995.  The honorary pall bearers were led by Coast Guard Cmdt. Robert E. Kramek.