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[WATCH NOW] Veteran of the Month: Mark Turney – May 2019

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SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Each month, SylacaugaNews.com and Yea!106.5 feature a veteran online and on-air, honoring them for their service to our country. Presented by Radney-Smith Funeral Home, the SylacaugaNews.com and Yea!106.5 Veteran of the Month for May is Mark Turney.

*note Q is abbreviated for questions asked to Turney.  A is abbreviated for Turney’s answers.

Q: Your full name?

A: Mark Gilbert Turney

Q: Date of birth?

A: October 27, 1960

Q: What was your rank?

A: I was an E-5. I was going to do 20 years but I came out because of diabetes. So I got an honorable discharge under medical conditions, and I am getting a pension now for my diabetes.

Q: What branch of service?

A: US Navy

Q: What was your job in the Navy?

A: My job was in communications, kind of like a telephone operator, I patched up communications throughout the ship, from combat to sonar, and we also made sure all the officers got their paper messages from teletype and satellite.

Q: Can you describe your training for that job?

A: We did 6 months in a school in San Diego, CA, Radioman Training School.  We learned how to type, which was the hardest part for me. We also learned codes.  In order to go to this school, you had to have a top-secret clearance, which I was cleared for back in 1983, around July, because I went to basic training in August of 1983 in San Diego.

Q: What years did you serve?

A: I served from 1983, six years in active duty and I served nine years in the Reserves.  I think I did more traveling in the Reserves than I did active duty to be honest and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Q: Did you serve stateside or overseas?

A: Both

Q: Can you tell me where?

A: In the 1980s, we served in the Indian Ocean as well as the Mediterranean. We were having conflicts with Libya at the time. We also served in Gitmo, Cuba. That was where we did our battle exercises, and our damage control and firefighting exercises. We’ve been to fun places like Jamaica and Greece and Bahamas. Had a great time and we’ve been in some rough spots too but I have no regrets.

Q: What is something you remember most about your time serving?

A: Meeting 2 different Presidents of the United States. I was Honor Guard in the Navy when I was stateside. I was stationed in Pennsylvania. I met George W. Bush when he made his visits there. And After my unit got back from Desert Storm, his father George H.W. Bush made a speech in Montgomery, and I had an invitation to go hear him speak. So that was my two most memorable moments in the Navy.   It was a high honor to get to meet the Commander in Chief of our military.

Q: If you could say anything to those that want to serve, what is something that you would tell them?

A: Number one, it saved my life because I did not have an ideal home situation. My parents were not physically abusive but they were verbally abusive. They did not instill in us self-confidence. When I went to Boot Camp, it challenged me mentally and physically. It challenged me to the limit, and I met the limits, which instilled a lot of self-confidence in me. They have a chance for education, a chance to see places they’ve only dreamed about or read about, a chance to experience different cultures, different foods. My time was enjoyable and I would recommend it to anybody.

Q: Would you do it again if you could and why?

A: Yes.  God created this beautiful world and God is a god of variety. He made people different, he made cultures different and I miss the travel sometimes. But I’m glad that I am home, have a beautiful wife, beautiful children, and of all the awards that I’ve received from all over the United States, this means the most to me because it comes from my home town.


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