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Charles J. (Charley) Turner

Memorial Location

COLUMN:   ROW: 29

  • Lieutenant
  • Served: January 18, 1991
  • Gulf War “Desert Storm” with USS Ranger
  • Flight Officer on A6E Intruder aircraft in ATKRON 155
  • Awarded: Distinguished Flying Cross, National Defense Service Medal, Purple Heart
  • Killed in Action, declared 3/23/1991. Interred at Taylor Falls Cemetery, Minnesota

Charley Turner was the youngest of four boys raised by Lowell and Helene Turner of Richfield, Minnesota. All of the boys were active Boy Scouts and counselors at a scout camp at Many Point Lake in northern Minnesota. He graduated in 1979 from Richfield High School and then attended the University of Minnesota. He lived with his wife, Sharon, of less than three years, and their son, Andrew, 8 Months old, in Oak Harbor, Washington.

Charles, 29, was the first casualty report to hit home in Minnesota when he was missing after the Navy A6E Intruder was shot down while returning from a bombing run on January 18, 1991. He was the navigator-bombardier on the flight, piloted by Lt. William T. Costen, during the Gulf War designated “Desert Storm”. The flight took off from the USS Ranger aircraft carrier. His family didn’t know if he was killed or captured until March 16th when the Navy identified his body among those turned over to the Red Cross by the Iraqis. He wasn’t officially declared killed in action until March 23rd.

Charley had hoped to teach history when he left the Navy. He left a diary in which he wrote about the prospects of his death, “I know I have a son . . . strong, healthy and happy with a strong good woman to raise him if I do not return. I feel I have hit all life’s highlights and a legacy to boot . . . A boy who will grow, knowing that if I am not with him it is because I did my duty.”  His diary also indicated that he believed what he was doing was worth the risk with this statement, “Let’s get this straight . . . I fear combat but I also have a cause now worth dying for, a president worth following and a nation and world behind me.  I’m ready to test my steel on the field of combat.”

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