Tennessee soldier killed in WWII finally coming home

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SSG William Turner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee hero is finally being laid to rest decades after he was presumably killed in battle during World War II.

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant William Turner, an aerial engineer assigned to the 555th Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group, was a crew member aboard Hell’s Fury.  On December 13, 1943, the B-26 bomber was part of an armada of 219 planes that were flying from Essex, England to Amsterdam, Holland for a bombing raid when it was shot down, presumably killing all crews members on board.

Six crew members were recovered and eventually buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 1951, but the 20-year-old wasn’t one of them.

Decades later in 2007, the Royal Netherlands Army Recovery and Identification Unit excavated the crash site once more and recovered SSG Turner’s remains.

“William Turner was among the bravest American heroes to fight for our country in World War II,” Governor Bill Haslam said.  “We are grateful that he will be laid to rest on Tennessee soil and his family will have the closure and certainty of truly knowing his final resting place.”

According to Governor Bill Haslam’s office, Turner will finally be laid to rest Tuesday, August 22, at the Nashville National Cemetery. It’s the same day, the governor has declared a day of mourning. Flags across the state will be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset to honor his ultimate sacrifice.

“It is encouraging to see so many unanswered questions finally resolved to the benefit of surviving family members,” Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder said.  “We applaud the efforts of all of the federal experts working to identify and bring our service members home.”

SSG Turner is survived by his cousins: Linda Tinsley, Jeff Kemper and Rita Williams.