Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran Victoria Turney, who served as a gunnery sergeant during the Persian Gulf War.
Victoria Turney graduated high school in May 1976. Afterward, she left for boot camp in August 1976, when she turned 18. Turney’s father had previously served in the Air Force. He told Turney to join any service she wanted but to make sure it was the right pick for her. Turney went to the Air Force recruiter in Nebraska. However, she did not have the interview she expected with the Air Force recruiter. She was about to leave until a Marine happened to talk to her about joining the Marine Corps.
After boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, Turney’s first orders were to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, with Marine Corps Combat Development Command . She then reenlisted and went to Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she worked in recruiting headquarters.
Turney studied journalism at the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. She served in Japan for a year and then left for Lake Forest (formerly El Toro), California. Later she went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for three years and then back to Camp Pendleton, California, where she deployed for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Due to the passing of her father, Turney was only in Desert Storm for a few weeks and was on one of the last aircraft, which Turney called the “funeral aircraft,” because “everyone that was on that airplane was going home to a funeral.” It was one of the last planes to leave before the ground war started.
During her time in Desert Storm, Turney worked mostly backline in public affairs, dealing with the media and counter-foreign services since women serving in the Marines did not go to the front lines. Returning to Camp Pendleton, Turney went to Atlanta, Georgia, where she finally retired after 20 years of service. Turney gives credit to the Marine Corps for giving her a family and qualities like honesty and a strong work ethic that prepared her for transitioning back to civilian life.
Turney received the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association’s (USMCCCA) Donald L. Dickson award in 2019. Turney has been an active member of the USMCCCA since joining in the early 1980s, and has also been a recipient of Marine Corps Visual Information and Excellence in Communications. Turney has also been involved with the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Virginia.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Hagen Kenny
Editor: Christopher Wilson, Elissa Tatum
Fact checker: Alexys Santiago, Latesha Thornhill
Graphic artist: Chalsi Lee