A professional soldier and veteran of three wars, Lt. Col. Turner began his service as a combat infantryman in General Patton's 3rd Army during World War II, earning the Bronze Star for Valor and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. During the 1950s, he received a direct commission in the MA Army National Guard and completed Army Fixed Wing and Helicopter pilot training.
Following his transfer from The National Guard to The Army he served in both infantry and artillery branches as a senior army aviator logging 6000 flight hours flying nearly every aircraft within the army. He patrolled The DMZ in Korea under hostile fire and also spent 12 months in Vietnam as a combat helicopter pilot. Near the end of his tour in Vietnam he had the distinction of being selected by General William Westmoreland Commander of all US forces in Vietnam to be his personal pilot. During a subsequent assignment in Germany, Lt. Col. Turner had the unique distinction (for an aviator) of serving as commander of an operational U.S. Army field battalion.
Among his decorations for service are the Meritorious Service Medal and multiple awards of the air Medal for aerial combat. Following his retirement from the army in 1972 after 30 years of service, he lived with his family for 17 years in Germany in a small Bavarian farming village in the foothills of the Alps adjacent to Lake Chemisee. It was an idyllic existence which they loved every minute. In 1988, he and his family moved to Lake Greenwood in South Carolina.
He is survived his brothers, Donald and David; his sisters, Elaine King and Claire Benway (to whom he was known as “Buddy”); his wife Virginia (Stone), formerly of Westborough; their daughter and son, Kathleen and Randy, both of South Carolina; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Graveside services with full military honors were held in Beaufort National Cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina. Anyone wishing to honor and remember Lt. Col. Turner, may make a memorial donation to any veterans organization of their choice.
For online condolences, please visit www.roneyfuneralhome.com.