Master Sergeant (MSgt) Kelly R. Vernon was born in Marion, Virginia and graduated from Marion Senior High School. He entered the United States Air Force in April, 1994, and trained as a Medical Laboratory Specialist. His assignments included Sheppard AFB, TX, Keesler AFB, MS, Grand Forks AFB, ND, Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, and Dover AFB, DE.
MSgt Vernon served in a variety of clinical assignments, First Sergeant Duty positions, and his last assignment was to the Air Force Medical Element, Headquarters, USAF Air Staff, as Superintendent and Command First Sergeant of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System. In that capacity, he oversaw the only Federal Level Medical Examiner Investigative System providing comprehensive forensic services in pathology, toxicology, DNA identification, and mortality surveillance.
MSgt Vernon held an Associates of Applied Sciences Degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from the Community College of the Air Force and certification as a Master Medical Laboratory Craftsman from the American Society of Clinical Pathology.
Sergeant Vernon was medically retired from the Air Force with a Military and VA diagnosis of depression and anxiety disorders. MSgt Vernon additionally pursued a VA, PTSD diagnosis, for more than two years following his medical retirement. Sadly, less than 48 hours after his death, his wife received the award letter of a 100% Total and Permanent rating. MSgt Vernon lost his battle with PTSD on October 8th, 2014 in Warrensburg, MO., after testifying about his PTSD, at a Compensation and Pension hearing, for the fourth time, the week prior to his untimely death.
MSGT Vernon leaves behind his wife of 19 years, Jo-Ann Vernon and their 4 children; Hailey, Hannah, Henry, and Hayden; his parents, Glen and Helen Vernon, sister, Karen Vernon, and brothers, Kevin Vernon and Keith Vernon. His loss is grieved by numerous friends and family around the world.