MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
A 1st Tank Battalion leader was recognized as the 2010 Marine Corps Motor Transportation Maintenance Officer of The Year, but said the credit isn’t his to take.
Chief Warrant Officer John A. Kerns is scheduled to travel back to his home state of Virginia for the Marine Corps Motor Transportation Symposium and awards dinner, March 29-31, 2011, where he will be the first ever to receive the award.
Kerns, from Winchester, Va., said he attributes his success as a leader to his Marines.
“My success is the success of the Marines I work for,” Kerns said. “The lance corporals, [non-commissioned officers and staff NCOs] are some of the best I’ve worked for in the Marine Corps.
“I’m the guy that’s directing traffic, and they’re the guys who do all the work,” he added. “The credit goes to them, and the award I’m receiving is a testament to their abilities, and their wants and desires to do good things and accomplish the mission.”
Maj. Ronald Dean Storer, the executive officer of the battalion and a native of Idaho Falls, Idaho, said Kerns’ abilities, knowledge and outstanding organization, is what earned him the unit recognition, and the overall award.
“We stood a [Field Supply Maintenance Analysis Office] inspection in January of 2010, and his shop, across the board scored a 97 percent, which led to our battalion receiving a 99 percent, which is unheard of in today’s operational tempo,” Storer said. “Without the work him and his Marines do down there daily, we don’t move tanks in the field.”
Kerns arrived at the Combat Center in August 2009, and immediately got to work, according to his commanders.
“Chief Warrant Officer  Kerns is a tremendous combat multiplier here at this battalion,” Storer added. “His leadership over the last year and a half since I have been here as [executive officer] has just been tremendous. He’s met every task and mission. His maintenance accountability is spot on.”
Sergeant Steven McColl, the former platoon sergeant for motor transportation maintenance in the battalion, said Kerns’ calm demeanor and willingness to instruct his Marines is what makes him a great leader.
“He has a pretty cool style of leadership, but it is also challenging,” said the Savage, Minn., native. “He makes you learn your job and be more proficient at work, but he is very laid back. He’s not the type of person to yell, but you don’t ever want to cross that line with him.”
McColl added his officer-in-charge is not only a good person to work for, but he also has genuine concern for his Marines, which is why he has been so effective at helping them improve themselves.
Kerns described his personal philosophy on leadership as one of teaching and mentoring.
“I think if you take care of the Marines, and congratulate them for doing a good job, the mission will accomplish itself,” he said. “A mission accomplished is based on taking care of Marines.”