Airman laid to rest 62 years after crash

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Dustin Mullen
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Never leave an Airman behind. These words are a staple in the Air Force and echoed by men and women every day through the Airman's Creed.

Following this code, whether on the battlefield or even a lost plane from more than 60 years ago, is a way of life.

During Nov. 22, 1952, a C-124 Globemaster, traveling from McChord Air Force Base, Washington, to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, went down en route.
There were 11 crewmen and 41 passengers on board. Among them was Capt. Robert Turnbull Sr., who was finally laid to rest July 19 with the help of memebers from Tyndall AFB, Florida.

"I was shocked when they notified me about finding him," said Sharon Sellers, Turnbull's granddaughter. "We thought we would never see him. I am very thankful to the Air Force for all the effort they put in to get him home."

Search parties were unable to locate and recover any of the service members, due to adverse weather conditions at the time of the crash.

However, June 9, 2012, an Alaska National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew spotted the aircraft's wreckage, while conducting a training mission, emerging from the side of the Colony Glacier, which is about 50 miles east of Anchorage. Turnbull's remains, and those of 16 other service members, were recovered and brought home to their families.

"The Air Force values never leaving a man behind," said Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Dussia, a chaplain with the 325th Fighter Wing. "We value honoring those who have passed and given their life for their country. The family was grateful for all those who helped bring him home. "

Turnbull was laid to rest in Barnetts Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, Thomas County, Georgia, next to his wife. Dussia was the presiding chaplain who performed the funeral services.

Sellers hoped the rest of the families, who also lost loved ones that day, get to see their family members and friends come home as well so they can feel the same relief.
"It was a relief to know (he) has finally been laid to rest. It's been so many years," she said. "It was wonderful to see him honored."

The Air Force will ensure that, upon request, a funeral honors detail is provided for all eligible members. Along with Dussia, many helping hands came from Tyndall AFB, including the base honor guard, who performed full military honors.