FREDERICK C. TURNER

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  • "A well lived life is a reward of no equal."
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TURNER Vice Admiral FREDERICK C. TURNER U.S. Navy (Ret.) On Thursday, April 24, 2014, Frederick C. Turner, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy, Retired, a 34-year Fairfax resident, passed away peacefully at home. He had been in declining health for the past few years, tended to by family members and caregivers. On a beautiful Spring day, he departed his beloved home in Fairfax for the last time, draped in the U.S flag, to the sounds of a ship's bell ringing six times. The whole family jointly honored their husband, father, and grandfather with a champagne toast of respect. He was two months shy of his 91st birthday. Admiral Turner was born on June 13, 1923, in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduation from high school in 1941, he entered the Navy through the V-5 aviation cadet program and began flight training in September 1942. He received his wings in December 1943, and underwent operational training at Melbourne, FL in early 1944. He subsequently flew 28 combat missions in the Pacific Theater with fighter squadrons VF-82 and VF-17A. For combat action against the Japanese, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal with three stars. After WWII, he was a member of the first test pilot school class at NAS Patuxent River, MD. In Dec. 1949 then-Lieutenant Turner flew a Banshee jet from the U.S. East Coast to the West Coast in an attempt to chase the setting sun. The photos he took from Jacksonville, Dallas, El Paso and San Diego were published in the Jan 2, 1950 Life Magazine, in an article showing the incredible speed at which people could then travel. Lt. Turner was flying at nearly 600 miles per hour. In 1950 he was selected to continue his test pilot training at the Empire Test Pilot School in Farnborough, England, where he graduated No. 2 in his class. A tour at VX-3 in Atlantic City followed, after which the Navy sent him to continue his education at both the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland; he graduated from Maryland, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1961. He would later go on to earn a Master of Science in Business Administration from George Washington University in 1964. He returned to operational flying in 1954 with Attack Squadron VA-83, served a two year assignment at BUPERS in 1959, and then reported to fighter squadron VF-174 in August 1962, enroute to command of fighter squadron VF-32 at NAS Cecil Field, FL. During this assignment, he demonstrated the F8U-1 Crusader onboard the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau, and journeyed to Paris to help sell the F8U to the French Navy (his French language skills helped greatly in this endeavor). He was in command of VF-32 for only nine months, because he was ordered to assume command of Carrier Air Wing THREE, which he led from September 1962 until July 1963. This was just the beginning of the fast track he was on as further evidenced by the following assignments: student at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) in Washington, DC for nine months, followed quickly by 10 months on a CARDIV staff, then command of his first ship the troop transport USS Sandoval (APA-194), for nine months, followed by command of the aircraft carrier USS America (CVA-66) for 15 months. Both ships were based out of Norfolk, VA. He was selected to two-star flag rank at the end of his America tour. Over the next several years he served as Chief of Naval Air Advanced Training in Corpus Christi, TX; on the staff at BUPERS; and as COMCARDIV-2/CTF-60 in Athens, Greece. Upon receipt of his third star in 1974, he assumed command of the U.S Sixth Fleet, in Gaeta, Italy. He and his flagship participated in the re-opening of the Suez Canal in 1975, which had been closed since the Six Day War of 1967. For his final tour of duty he was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare (DCNO), on the OPNAV staff at the Pentagon, where he sponsored the development of the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. When he retired from active duty in July 1979, he was the last Navy World War II carrier pilot to leave active duty. In retirement Admiral Turner worked as a consultant for Teledyne, and for the French defense company Pyrotechnics Lacroix. In 1987, Admiral Turner was invited to join The Golden Eagles, an exclusive organization of notable Naval Aviation pioneers. He was a proud member and attended many reunions and organization events. A cadre of Golden Eagles members will honor him at his funeral, serving as honorary pallbearers and also providing a eulogy. His love of flying continued long into his retirement. For many years, his pride and joy was a single-engine Cessna T210, in which he flew the family on many vacations and adventures. He had a life-long love of the French language; was keenly interested in History and Science; loved doing daily crossword puzzles and never went a day without enthusiastically listening and/or singing along to music. He also greatly enjoyed playing golf and introducing his grandson to the game of golf; traveling; and tending to the home landscaping he designed. He leaves behind his beloved wife Betty to whom he was married for 68 wonderful years. She was the love of his life; his North Star, and never a day went by without him telling her how much he adored her. Theirs was an incredible marriage that was full of love, laughter, and happiness. His steadfast love of family and his unwavering devotion to his wife was his greatest legacy to his children. He is also survived by three sons: Frederick C. III, Robert, and David; two daughters: Pamela Hauge, a retired Naval Officer, and Susan Turner; one grandson, Christopher Hauge; a sister, Rosalie Gerdon; and 11 nieces and nephews. Visitation for family and friends will be held Wednesday, October 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Rd, Fairfax, VA. Funeral services, with full military honors, will be conducted at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, October 16 at 12:45 p.m. Weather permitting, a flyover of four United States Navy F-18 Fighter Jets will also honor Admiral Turner during the service. Guests should gather at the Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Virginia. Additional details will be available on the Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home website at www.fmfh.com. An online condolence book can be accessed there as well. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Capital Caring, the regional hospice organization (www.capitalcaring.org); or to Honor Flight, the veteran's organization that provides free transport to Washington, D.C. for aging veterans to visit the national memorials that honor their service and sacrifices (www.honorflight.org).

Funeral Home
Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, L.L.C.
9902 Braddock Road
Fairfax, VA 22032
(703) 425-9702
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Published in The Washington Post from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, 2014
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