Captain John J. McKenna IV USMC
KIA Fallujah, Iraq, August 16,2006
In 1998, John accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant after his successful completion of Officer’s Candidate School. Upon completion of the Basic School, he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Air Wing where he served with distinction to include tours in Uzbekistan/Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and subsequently earned a Naval Meritorious Award. Captain McKenna left active duty in 2003 to pursue selfless devotion to public service and entered into a career with the New York State Police. He graduated from the State Police Academy on August 8, 2005. During his early days in Troop G, John patrolled Albany International Airport and was later assigned to Kingston NY, Troop “F”.
In light of the ongoing war on terror, John felt compelled to continue his service to his country by joining Company F, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines in Albany NY. John successfully completed Marine Corp Infantry Officers School and was assigned as an Infantry Platoon Commander.
Captain McKenna’s unit was called up for service in February 2005 for duty in Iraq. Captain McKenna and his unit were on foot patrolling the streets of fallujah, Iraq, when his unit came under coordinated sniper attack. Lance Corporal Michael Glover, who was the point man for the patrol, was struck by a sniper’s bullet and lay wounded on the ground. Capt McKenna immediately called for his men to throw smoke grenades around Cpl. Glover. Captain McKenna ordered his men to maintain the position of cover and went into the cloud of smoke to aid Cpl. Glover. As Captain McKenna was dragging Cpl. Glover to safety, he was hit by sniper fire.
John received the Silver Star for “Ignoring the imminent peril from heavy incoming fire, Captain McKenna ran into the intersection in an effort to save his downed Marine. completely exposed to enemy fire, he calmly knelt next to the stricken Marine to assess his condition. As he began to drag the Marine to a covered position, Captain McKenna was hit by enemy fire and was mortally wounded.”
In life,John was a vibrant, thoughtful and energetic young man who loved his family and his country. A voracious reader and a student of history, professionally he was the consummate Marine Officer always leading by example, continuing the same mindset when he donned the Grey Uniform of New York State Trooper. In his off duty time in the State Police Academy, John mentored other cadets as they struggled with their training. As the NY State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett said at John’s Funeral. “There are a few Troopers out there who owe their jobs to John’s friendship and patience with thier studies. He is a true American Patriot, son, brother, uncle, nephew who will always be loved and never forgotten.