The McKenna Story

“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”

Wayne Bennett

NY State Police Superintendent

Captain John J. McKenna IV, United States Marine Corps, from Brooklyn, N.Y., was killed in action on August 16, 2006 while conducting combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq while serving as a platoon commander with Company B, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines. John was born on March 17, 1976 to John J. III and Karen McKenna of Brooklyn. He was the brother of Allyson McKenna, Clifton Park, N.Y. He attended Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School in Brooklyn and graduated from Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School in Brooklyn. John was active in civic and athletic pursuits and earned his Eagle Scout. Additionally, he served as a lifeguard for several years in Fleischmanns, N.Y. From 1992-1993, John studied in Vienna as part of the Ronald Lauder Foundation International Exchange Program. In 1998, John earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Binghamton University. In 1998, he 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. John then went on to serve as part of the initial invasion force during Operation Iraqi Freedom and subsequently earned a Naval Meritorious Service Award.

Captain McKenna left active duty in 2003 to pursue selfless devotion to public service and enter into a career of with the New York State Police. He graduated from the New York State Police Academy on August 8, 2005 and was stationed in Saratoga and Clifton Park with Troop G before receiving permanent assignment to the Kingston Barracks in 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, N.Y. John successfully completed Marine Corps Infantry Officers School and was assigned as an infantry platoon commander. His military medals and awards include the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal; the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terror Service Medal; Naval Meritorious Unit Commendation; National Defense Service Medal; Combat Action Ribbon; Iraq Campaign Medal; Purple Heart; Armed Forces Reserve Medal; Sea Service Deployment Medal.

In life, John was a vibrant, thoughtful, energetic young man who loved his family and his country. A voracious reader and student of history, professionally he was the consummate Marine officer, always leading by example; he continued with that same mindset when he donned the Gray Uniform of a New York State Trooper. In his off-duty time, John loved to read, collect guns and unique hats, and spend time with his family. His passing has left many with a great sense of loss. He is a true American Patriot, son and brother who will always be loved and never be forgotten. John is survived by his father and mother, John and Karen; his sister, Allyson McKenna; and his niece and goddaughter, Michaela; his grandfather, George Chlebik; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.


Originally Published in the Albany Times Union on Aug 23, 2006.

John J. McKenna IV Merit Award

Through fundraising efforts, JMM5K is able to provide one male and one female Binghamton Crew member full coverage of spring training camp costs. Award recipients are selected by Binghamton Crew coaches, the McKenna family, and race founder, Michael Eichler. As a member of the club, John continuously displayed commitment and dedication to his teammates and to the club as a whole. The winners of  this award have demonstrated the indelible spirit of John McKenna as well as shown initiative to lead other club members, while maintaining professionalism with squads and coaches.

Merit Award Winners

2015 Ninth Annual Cayla Kiernan, Jeff Arnott
2014 Eighth Annual Emily Eng, Dylan Hartwick
2013 Seventh Annual Devan Blazey, Collin Milone
2011 Sixth Annual Katy Kam, Patrick Schiefen
2010 Fifth Annual Adriana Zhao, Patrick Schiefen