Korean War vet honored, awarded Purple Heart
July 2, 2009
<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </B>-- Nearly 50 years after being injured during the Korean War, the 3rd Infantry Division, Family and friends, helped honor Corporal James Turner June 26, at the Hinesville Veterans of Foreign War.
As he presented the Order of the Purple Heart to the Korean War Veteran, who served with the 5th Regimental Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Brigadier Gen. Patrick Donahue, Deputy Commanding General - Maneuver, thanked Turner for his valiant service.
Turner, who was born in Bacon County and grew up in Alma, Ga., said he didn't care much for school growing up but preferred the simple life of hunting and fishing with friends. When the Korean War broke out, he enlisted at age 17. Turner said he was surprised by how good Army life was.
Turner explained that in Alma, Ga., he was working odd jobs for about a dollar a day, but in the Army, he was making about $75 a month. Turner completed his training, and turned 18 on the high-seas en route to Japan, which was then an occupied country and considered hazardous duty.
When the political situation in Korea heated up, Turner moved there to help defend the Pusan perimeter, until he was injured on Aug. 24, 1951, when an explosion sent shrapnel into his thigh, hip and buttocks. He spent 433 days in the hospital and in recuperation.
Tonya Malpass, manager of the GA Department of Veterans Service said she was astounded to find that he never registered with the VA, much less made a claim for his injuries.
The Liberty County Commission Chairman, John McIver said the event was a great opportunity to recognize one of the nation's heroes.
"It is very significant for the community and the Department of Veterans Service to demonstrate this kind of commitment - to go back and recognize Corporal James Turner and give him what is due, after so long."
Friends of Turners, like Frank Scozzafava, described the veteran as a fairly quiet man, although brave, noting Turner's 22 years of service to the Fort Stewart Fire Department. He said Turner really isn't one to talk about his acts unless it is referring to a fish he recently caught.
The hero's children, Bobbie, James, David and Connie, attending the ceremony with his wife, Dorothy agreed that their father was more of a 'man of the land,' who put more stock in good, hard work habits than speaking of his achievements.
For some in attendance, like his granddaughter, Chelsea Turner, the ceremony was just recognizing something she already knew.
"He is an amazing man," Chelsea said. "I'm so proud of him, and I think it is cool that they honored him this way."