Mr. Kernan first became involved in apprentice training and the issues of disparate treatment in 1978 when he was recruited to provide assistance in the preparation of affirmative action apprenticeship training to address the Percy v. Brennan Case 73-cv-04279. Mr. Kernan’s experience with the subject of apprentice training began in 1968 when, subject to the lottery draft, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and reported to the Parris Island Recruit Depot assigned to Platoon 1039 for boot camp basic training, graduating on December 8, 1968, reporting to Camp Lejeune North Carolina for infantry training.
He received advanced infantry training at Camp Lejeune/Camp Geiger North Carolina and ordinance ammunition training at Quantico Virginia. Based on competitive testing Mr. Kernan was offered an appointment as a Midshipman in the US Navy pursuant to Title 10 §2107 of the US Code for commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps trained for field combat engineering. Mr. Kernan accepted and reported to the Navy Department’s attachment at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) for engineering training, which would change his MOS from 2311 Ordnance to 3102 Combat Engineer Officer. Orders were in preparation for Mr. Kernan to report to the First Marine Combat Engineering Battalion of the First Marine Division for permanent duty station Pendleton, California upon being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, for processing and deployment as engineering reinforcements to South Vietnam.
Then, in the early months of 1971, as the US withdrew from South Vietnam enemy engagement ceased, combat engineering strength went from more than 20,000 to by May 1971 to less than 1000. On May 24, 1971 the First Marine Combat Engineer Battalion withdrew from South Vietnam and shipped back to Pendleton, California. The last Marine Corps ground action in Vietnam was in May 1971. The withdrawal which began on January 1, 1971 was complete by the end of May 1971. This was at the same time that anti‐war protests were reaching their peak and on June 13, 1971 the Pentagon Papers began to be published by the New York Times.
When Field combat engineers were no longer needed in South Vietnam, preparations for Mr. Kernan’s deployment ceased. Instead he was offered the option of a duty station stateside or he could decline the commission and retire from military service. On June 21, 1971, Mr. Kernan volunteered to forego the commission and retire. his discharge rating on a scale of 1 to 10, was scored 9 on intelligence, with a “Highly Recommended” “evaluation to be considered in the future for determination of acceptability for other officer training”, with remark pertaining to the evaluation that “Kernan has demonstrated excellent potential for leadership”. On July 8, 1971 Mr. Kernan was released from duty by the Department of the Navy and with his DD214 Honorable Discharge from enlisted ranks of the US Marine Corps, he mustered out. Mr. Kernan put his uniforms in mothballs and put his military service behind him; it was a single line on his resume. In those days from 1968 to 1971 it was not cool to be in the military, the un‐welcome to Vietnam era vets. Mr. Kernan has a renewed pride in having served honorably as a United States Marine, he has become a member of the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Marine Corps League and the Commander of the Battle of Oriskany Masonic War Vets, regaining pride in military service.
Mr. Kernan’s military service was the underpinning for what has become Percy Jobs and Careers. In civilian life over the next 40 years, he put his military experience and training to use with Percy Jobs and Careers. Mr. Kernan left military service returning to civilian life as a veteran trained as a combat engineer in demolition, explosives and ordnance, skilled in civil and mechanical trades for demolition support, field construction of machinery, structures, systems and controls. He took a civilian job as a field explosive demolition engineer supervising blasting and drilling crews. After working in the field, he was transferred to the main headquarters of Hercules Inc., a chemical and explosives manufacturer formerly affiliated with DuPont, located in Wilmington, Delaware.
Mr. Kernan completed his BS degree in mechanical with civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1972. He was promoted in 1974 to Senior Engineer at Hercules, Inc. Mr. Kernan served four‐years as an engineer‐in‐training apprentice with advanced placement for military service and training in civilian work, enabling him to sit for the engineer‐and‐training and professional engineering exams simultaneously, and upon testing in 1976 became licensed as a Professional Engineer in Delaware and New York.
While working for Hercules, Mr. Kernan attended night law school, completing in 1976. He sat for the New York bar exam and was admitted to the practice of law in New York in 1977.
Mr. Kernan began practicing law as a sole practitioner and worked as Confidential Law Clerk for New York State Supreme Court Justice John R. Tenney, where he researched and wrote motion terms. Mr. Kernan was a member of the Panel of Arbitrators for the American Arbitration Association for 10 years beginning in 1979, specializing in complex construction arbitration disputes, including abitrating the default and design deficit for the speed skating oval in Lake Placid and other issues surrounding the 1980 Olympics.