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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Schedule Updated For 1st Lt. William Turner Memorial Sept. 20

Schedule Updated For 

1st Lt. William Turner Memorial Sept. 20

turnerhsyearbook1airforcefuneralThe upcoming memorial service recognizing a Coudersport High School graduate who perished in an Air Force cargo plane crash more than six decades ago is expected to draw national attention. Schedule of events has been announced for services to honor 1st Lt. William Turner. Members of Lt. Turner’s family will be at the Buffalo Airport when the lieutenant’s remains arrive with appropriate Air Force decorum. A military escort is planned to transport him to Coudersport. 

Visitation will be held from 10 am to 11 am on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Park United Methodist Church. A memorial service will follow at 11. At approximately 12:15, there will be a procession to Gilmore Cemetery, located on Rt. 872 near Sinnemahoning State Park (formerly the village of First Fork, where 1st Lt. Turner grew up). A military interment ceremony will be held at the cemetery at approximately 1 pm. Organizers are attempting to arrange for an Air Force flyover to mark the occasion. Many dignitaries have been invited to attend and/or participate, ranging from two former Presidents and Governor Tom Corbett, to military officials, federal and state lawmakers and members of 1st Lt. Turner’s extended family. Local arrangements are being handled by Mike Wennin in Cameron County, on behalf of the Gilmore Cemetery, and by Veterans Affairs Director Will Worthington and Commissioner Paul Heimel in Potter County.

turnerplaneIn June 2012, an Alaskan National Guard Blackhawk helicopter crew spotted wreckage from the 1952 crash site of a C-124 cargo plane, similar to the aircraft shown below, that killed all 52 servicemen onboard. Several months later, a task force returned to the site and was able to identify 17 sets of remains, one of those being 1st Lt. Turner’s. The plane had struck a mountainside as it flew from Tacoma, Wash., to Elmendorf Air Force Base. Weather conditions made recovery impossible and the shifting glacier covered the wreckage. Searches for the remaining 35 passengers and crew continue.
William Turner was the son of Willis E. and Pearl Caldwell Turner of First Fork (today’s Sinnemahoning State Park). He was a 1946 graduate of Coudersport High School. Classmates recalled him as a quiet student with a strong interest in science. Most of the plane’s occupants were servicemen who had been in Washington on leave and were returning to duty.  Among those who have confirmed their attendance are national leaders of the Korean War Veterans of America and Florida resident Tonja Anderson-Dell, who has spearheaded the national campaign to bring home all 52 victims. Her grandfather was among the victims. His remains have not yet been recovered. Anderson-Dell has reached out to other families who lost loved ones in the crash.


Anonymous said...

May God rest their souls, it is a wonderful blessing that those that have been found can be returned home to their families...Rest in Peace, Thank you for your service to this Great Country. God be with you always.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Rest in peace

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace cousin