Retired Aug. 31, 1974. Died July 16, 1975.
Major General Vernon R. Turner is chief of staff, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
General Turner was born in Idalou, Texas, in 1920. He graduated from high school in Levelland, Texas, in 1938, and entered Texas Technological College, Lubbock, Texas, that same year. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, in May 1939, to attend the West Point Preparatory School and entered the U.S. Military Academy the following year. He graduated from West Point in June 1943 with a bachelor of science degree, his pilot wings, and commission as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
During World War II, he served with the 366th Fighter Group in England and France, flying 70 combat missions in the P-47 Thunderbolt. He is credited with destroying four enemy aircraft, two in the air and two on the ground. Shot down during the breakout from the Normandy Beachhead, he was a prisoner of war for the last 10 months of the war in Europe.
Following World War II, General Turner was a student at the University of Chicago where he obtained a master's degree in business administration in 1948. He next served a tour of duty as a faculty member of the Air University. In August 1951 he was assigned as Assistant Air Attache in Paris, France.
In August 1954 General Turner began a ten-year tour of duty in the Strategic Air Command as a B-47 squadron commander; wing chief of maintenance, staff member and then commander of the 2d Air Force Assistance Team; and helped pioneer the introduction of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile into SAC as deputy director of materiel at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. In January 1960 he became chief of missile maintenance at Headquarters SAC. He graduated from the National War College and received a master's degree from The George Washington University in 1963. He then returned to Vandenberg Air Force Base as the director of operations, 1st Strategic Aerospace Division.
From August 1964 to May 1967, he was assigned as a department chief in the Air War College, introducing in that institution studies in systems analysis. He was assigned as deputy assistant for logistics planning in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems and Logistics, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, in June 1967. A few months later, he was appointed as commander of the new Air Force Data Systems Design Center, which he organized and commanded for two years.
General Turner assumed duties as director of aircraft and missiles, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations and Logistics), in August 1969. In April 1973 he became chief of staff of Air Force Systems Command with headquarters at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon. He is a command pilot.
General Turner is married to the former Cora Jean Watson of Lubbock, Texas. They have two children, Dyke and Kent.
He was promoted to the grade of major general effective March 1, 1972, with date of rank Aug. 1, 1968.