George Kerchner, a junior officer who led his Army Ranger company up the Pointe du Hoc cliffs during the Normandy invasion and who managed to silence German big guns that threatened the success of the D-Day landings, died Feb. 17 at his home in Midlothian, Va. He was 93. He died of sepsis and pneumonia, said his son Greg Kerchner. Lt. Col. James E. Rudder congratulates Lt. George Kerchner, right, who was presented with the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second-highest award for valor, in 1944.
Then-Lt. Kerchner, a former Baltimore soda jerk, joined the Army in 1942 and volunteered the next year for duty in the elite Army Rangers. He trained for six months in England, climbing seaside cliffs in anticipation of raiding Pointe du Hoc, a well-fortified promontory jutting into the English Channel.
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