Montgomery County Coroner retires from US Army after 36 years of service

Dr. (Col.) Kent Harshbarger, Montgomery County Coroner, retired from the U.S. Army Reserve, February 1, 2020. This milestone capstones a career spanning 36 years of uniformed service and obtaining the rank of colonel.

“After 36 years, it feels rather strange not having a reason to put the uniform on,” said Harshbarger. “I enjoyed my service time and considered it a true honor and privilege.  I owe so much respect and gratitude to those I have served with, from my first infantry unit in the National Guard to my last assigned role with the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System.” 

Harshbarger has worked for the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office since 2002 and has served as the coroner since 2011.  During his time as coroner he has assisted with the training of many Armed Forces personnel in the field of forensics.

Harshbarger enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard at the age of 18.  He completed his college education and received a direct commission to second lieutenant, where he continued his desire to work in the medical field, specializing in forensic pathology.  During this time, he also earned a Juris Doctor degree in law and later earned a Masters in Business Administration from Wright State University in Ohio.

Eventually, certain medical specialties, including pathology, were moved from the National Guard into the Army Reserve, where Harshbarger was assigned to Dover AFB, Delaware, at the headquarters for the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System (“AFMES”).

AFMES is the only medical examiner system authorized to support the Federal Government and the Department of Defense. Harshbarger served as the regional medical examiner including coverage for Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio.

“It was my honor to have served the country,” concluded Harshbarger.             

Harshbarger was presented with a Certificate of Retirement from the U.S. Army and a Certificate of Appreciation signed by the President of the United States.