COL Hebert L. Turner 1922-1997

COL Hebert L. Turner will be greatly missed. He was the honorary colonel when I first entered the Guard almost 10 years ago. I spoke with him every year at the muster and he was an interesting, genuine, and dedicated person. Regards, CPT Steve Delahunty The 116th Infantry Regiment 30th Annual Muster was dedicated to the memory of COL Herbert L. Turner, the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment from 1987 to 1997. COL Turner was born in Ridgeway, Virginia, in 1922. In 1938 at the age of 16 he enlisted in Service Company 116th Infantry Regiment 29th Division. Mobilized with the unit for World War II on February 3, 1941, he deployed to England, where he rose to the rank of master sergeant before being selected for Infantry Officers Candidate School. Leaving behind his brother Leonard and numerous friends from the National Guard in Service Company, he returned to the United States. Because of a War Department cap on the number of second lieutenants, Master Sergeant Turner was transferred to the newly formed 100th Division where he became the youngest first sergeant in the U.S. Army. He participated in the pilot program of the Expert Infantry Badge, finishing with the second highest score and therefore was the second soldier to earn the award. Entering combat in Southern France with the 100th Division First Sergeant Turner won the Bronze Star with Valor Device. In April 1945 he earned a battlefield commission as a second lieutenant. After the war he returned to his home in Roanoke and helped organize his old unit in the Virginia Army National Guard. In 1956 he became a military technician with the Guard and rose through the ranks to become Chief of Staff of the Virginia Army National Guard. In 1977 he retired after serving in every rank from private through colonel. Making his home in Staunton, COL Turner remained interested in his beloved 116th Infantry and he began to plan for a museum to tell its story. This dream became the focus for his retirement and in 1989 the museum opened its doors for the first time. Not one to rest, COL Turner forged ahead to improve the museum and acquire suitable display cases. He then began to contact other veterans, urging them to loan their war memorabilia for display. COL Turner's drive and determination saw the museum grow from humble beginnings to a facility with significant archival holdings and displays of materials previously unavailable to the public. While pushing ahead with the museum, COL Turner waged his own personal war with cancer. On July 26, 1997, his birthday, COL Turner crossed over the river to rest in the shade of the trees. Past, present and future members of the Regiment owe COL Turner a debt of gratitude for having the history of the 116th Infantry Regiment available to all. Every Forward!