James W. Turner – Private, United States Army

James W. Turner
Private, U.S. Army
Service # 39579498
112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division
Entered the Service from: California
Died: 10-Nov-45
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Bronze Star, Purple Heart

 U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

September 09, 2008

Missing WWII Soldier Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Private James W. Turner, U.S. Army, of Altus, Oklahoma. He will be buried on September 11, 2008, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

Representatives from the Army met with Turner’s next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.

In November 1944, the 112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division was attacking east through the Hürtgen Forest in an attempt to capture the German towns of Vossenack and Schmidt. On November 4, the Germans counterattacked in what would become one of the longest running battles in U.S. history. Turner, a member of G Company, 112th Infantry Regiment, was reported missing in action near Vossenack on November 9.

In 2005, a German citizen who was searching for wartime relics in the Hürtgen Forest, near Vossenack, found human remains and other items, including Turner’s military identification tag. The remains and items were turned over to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) for further analysis.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the identification of Turner’s remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site.

Friday, September 12, 2008
Oklahoma WWII vet receives a hero's returnRelated Information
By Chris Casteel
Courtesy of The Oklahoman

Nearly 64 years after he was killed as a teenager fighting in Germany during World War II, Army Private James Wilford Turner was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday in front of his siblings and widow who only recently found out what had happened to him.

Relatives from Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas attended the service. Turner's sister, Jewell Gresham, 87, covered her face in her hands and grieved again after receiving the folded flag; a few seats away sat Lorena Lockwood, who had been married to Turner less than two years when he was shot in a forest in Germany, where his remains lay until 2005.

Turner, who went by the name Wilford, was 19 when he was killed. He joined the Army in March 1944 and was reported missing in action on Nov. 9 near Vossenack during the Battle of Hurtgen Forest. He was a month away from his 20th birthday.

A German citizen found Turner's remains and dog tag while looking for war relics near Vossenack three years ago, but it wasn't until early August that the identification of the remains was completed and members of Turner's family were notified.

David Turner, who attended the service, was 3 years old when his brother was killed. The family then lived in Altus. He and Gresham now live in Yuma, Arizona. Another brother, Jesse, who lives in Norman, also attended the funeral Thursday. Homebound brother Valton Turner of Oklahoma City could not attend.

David Turner said the chaplain, Captain Stanton Trotter, was amazed that so many people had traveled so far for the service. Lockwood, from Winnsboro, Texas, was accompanied by her daughter, from her second marriage, and a granddaughter.

David Turner said he hadn't seen Lockwood for nearly 20 years, though they had had some contact in recent years. Many years ago, Lockwood had given the Turner family the Purple Heart awarded to Wilford when it still wasn't known what happened to him. When his remains were found, the military notified her, along with the Turners.

“The whole ceremony was beyond our expectations — so professional,” David Turner said. “Everybody was super nice to us.”

A seven-member firing party from the 3rd U.S. Infantry — the “Old Guard” — fired a three-shot volley, a bugler played taps and the folded flag was presented to Gresham, who sat graveside in a wheelchair.

“My sister got very emotional again, similar to when she saw his dog tags” when military officials delivered them in August and the news that his remains had been found, David Turner said.

“She and my brother were very close, just a couple of years apart.”

Turner's mother and father have been dead for many years.

“That's really, especially for me, the sad part,” David Turner said. “All they ever knew was he was missing in action.”

jwturner-funeral-services-photo-01Members of the casket team remove the burial flag on Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery from the casket  of Army Private James W. Turner, who was killed in Germany in 1944. His remains were not found until 2005

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