Died June 25, 1965.
A tall, erect, professional soldier with more than 6,000 hours of flying time and many World War II combat decorations, Major General Howard M. Turner has served more than 24 years with the Air Force. He was born in Avoca, Iowa, in 1902. After attending the University of Iowa for a year, he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1920. He graduated June 12, 1924, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Service.
The following September he began ground school and flying training at the primary flying school at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. Upon completing this course in March 1925, he entered the advanced flying school at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, from which he graduated in March 1926 with the rating of pilot.
The young officer's first assignment after graduation was at Kelly Air Force Base as engineering and operations officer for the Eighth Attack Squadron. In July 1926 he moved with that squadron to Fort Crockett at Galveston, Texas, where he served as squadron engineering officer until August 1928. He then was assigned to the primary flying school at Brooks Air Force Base as an instructor.
In October 1931 he went to Randolph Field, Texas, as a flying instructor, and when his tour ended in November 1932, was ordered to France Air Force Base, Panama Canal Zone, as engineering officer of the 25th Bombardment Squadron. In July 1934 he became squadron adjutant, and in November of that year took command of the Sixth Composite Group at France Air Force Base. After a short tour as group commander, he returned to Randolph Air Force Base as a flying instructor. Later he became flight commander of the 53rd School Squadron at Randolph.
In January 1937 he was sent to Bolling Air Force Base, D.C., where he became station engineering officer and later commanding officer of the l4th Air Base Squadron. For awhile he was also in charge of the 20th Photo Section and served as an aide to President Roosevelt.
He remained at Bolling Air Force Base until January 1940 when he was detailed to the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Two months later he graduated and returned to Bolling Air Force Base as commanding officer of the 14th Air Base Squadron. In addition to his regular duties, he frequently piloted Secretary of War Woodring on official trips in the United States. In August 1941 he was appointed commander of the Fourth Staff Squadron at Bolling Air Force Base.
After war began and the Army Air Force was expanding rapidly, he was transferred to Washington in March 1942, where he became deputy director of individual training at Army Air Force headquarters. He also was designated pilot to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, a duty he performed throughout his tour in Washington.
He left Washington in February 1943 when he was assigned to the four-engine aircraft school at Sebring, Fla. There he was taught heavy bomber operations, particularly those of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, which he later flew over strategic targets in German-occupied Europe. After completing this course, he was assigned to the Second Air Force in Spokane, Wash.
In April 1943 he was transferred to Kearney, Neb., where he assumed command of the 100th Bombardment Group, which was being made ready for combat duty in the European theater. Late in May the group, with Colonel Turner in command, took off for Newfoundland, whence it flew across the Atlantic, reaching its operational base at Thurleigh, England, on June 6, 1943. While he was at this base, he became commander of the 40th Combat Bombardment Wing, a B-17 unit.
His success as a leader of the strategic air combat wing led to his assignment as commanding general of the First Bombardment Division of the Eighth Air Force, With headquarters in Brampton, England, in October 1944. He commanded the First Bomb Division during the remainder of the war.
He returned to the United States in November 1945 and after a period of rest and recuperation, became deputy commander of the Atlantic Division of Air Transport Command at Fort Totten, N.Y., on Jan. 3, 1946. In March of that year he took over the Bermuda Base Command, and the following month transferred to Air Defense Command headquarters at Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y. He became commanding general of the 10th Air Force at Brooks Air Force Base in June 1946.
In January 1948 he appointed deputy commanding general of Air Defense Command at Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y., and the following December became vice commander of the newly-organized Continental Air Command at that base.
During his combat service in the European theater, General Turner was decorated many times for gallantry, meritorious service and outstanding achievements. He holds the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Ribbon and the Presidential citation.
His foreign decorations include the Commander of the British Empire; the French Legion of Honor and Croix do Guerre with Palm, and the Belgian Croix do Guerre with Palm. He was given the honorary freedom of the City of Bedford, England.
He is rated a command pilot and combat observer.
General Turner is six feet, two inches, and weighs 195 pounds. He participates in many sports including hunting, fishing, badminton, squash, golf and tennis.