Remains of World War II Soldier to Return to Middle Tennessee
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder recognize the service and sacrifice of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant William Turner of Nashville, who was presumably killed on December 13, 1943 along with five other American crew members while serving in World War II. Turner along with the rest of the “Hell’s Fury” crew were part of an armada of 219 B-26 aircrafts flying form Essex, England to Amsterdam, Holland for a bombing raid. “Hell’s Fury” was struck by anti-aircraft artillery and crashed near Schiphol near Amsterdam. The 20-year old aerial engineer was assigned to the 555th Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group and was a crew member of “Hell’s Fury” B-26 bomber. The crash was recorded by the military as Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 1413.
Although the remains of six crew members were apparently recovered, only two crew members were able to be identified between 1946 and 1949. Unidentifiable remains from MACR 1413 and another crash were buried at Arlington National Cemetery on January 29, 1951.
In 2007, the Royal Netherlands Army Recovery and Identification Unit (RIU) excavated the MACR 1413 crash site and recovered human remains. The Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used DNA and anthropology analysis to identify the remains as Staff Sergeant Turner.
“William Turner was among the bravest American heroes to fight for our country in World War II,” 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.”
“It is encouraging to see so many unanswered questions finally resolved to the benefit of surviving family members,” Grinder said. “We applaud the efforts of all of the federal experts working to identify and bring our service members home.”
Turner’s remains will arrive at the Nashville International Airport Air Cargo Building at 941 Airport Service Road in Nashville on Tuesday, August 15 at 10:51 a.m. (CDT). Media planning to attend the dignified arrival will need to be staged at the Air Cargo Building by 10:00 a.m.
Haslam has declared a day of mourning and ordered flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, August 22 in honor of Staff Sergeant Turner’s ultimate sacrifice. Graveside service will be at the Nashville National Cemetery at 1420 Gallatin Pike S, Madison 37115 at 10:00 a.m. (CDT) on Tuesday, August 22.
Turner is survived by his cousins Linda Tinsley of Murfreesboro, TN, Jeff Kemper of Smithville, TN and Rita Williams of Cottontown, TN.