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James  R.   Turpen


Col. James R. Turpen

Feb. 14, 1930 - Oct. 21, 2005. Husband, father and friend, Jim Turpen, has joined his parents, Robert and Katherine Turpen, and $1 the other fighter pilots before him, at the side of God. God, the one who protected him for so many years while fighting to keep our country free.

While stationed in TakLi, Thailand, as Flight Commander and Assistant Operations Officer of the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron during the Vietnam War, he flew 164 combat missions. In his F-105, he named "Peggy Sue" after his beautiful bride, he flew as Flight Leader and Force Commander in some very harrowing experiences which we had only just begun to hear about in the last few years. Just one such story was of his squadron being personally responsible for blowing the top off of a mountain apparently full of North Vietnamese munitions, earning his squadron many com­mendations from the U.S. Government, as well as honorable distinction of thanks from the South Vietnamese Government.

His career was second in importance to him, with his family always coming first. However, he gave his all to each. He began his career in the National Guard
1947-1950, and began his real career for the U.S. Air Force in 1950. He entered pilot training in 1951 and as of the time of his death, still enjoyed friends he'd made in those early days. After he was commissioned, his flying days took off from Seattle; Thule, Greenland; Ramstein, Germany; and all over the United States - with us by his side most assignments.

He received his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Indiana University, graduating "with distinction," of course. He then received his master's at Auburn University in political science, all while carrying on his pilot career. During and after his career, he managed to also be the most loving father and husband, and the truest friend any person could ever hope to know.

CHECK 6 COLONEL TURPEN, we have had your back, now God does. You are surely flying with no boundaries and smiling from ear to ear. You are missed and loved dearly, but we know you are now at peace and will always be with us.

Jim leaves his loving wife of 54 years of marriage, Peggy of Shalimar, Fla.; son, Steve and his wife Gayle Turpen and their children Jamie and Lindsay from Danville, Calif.; son, David Turpen and his son Jason of Destin, Fla.; daughter, Beverly McNally and her husband Richard residing also in Shalimar, and their children Mark McNally and Shelley Schmidt, both in Las Vegas. Extended family joins in our sorrow from the West Coast to the East Coast.

A local memorial service will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Shalimar United Methodist Church, 1 Old Ferry Road, Shalimar, at 3 p.m. Interment, with full honors, will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., date to be announced as known.

Arrangements are entrusted to Heritage Gardens Funeral Home in Niceville.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in the Turpen name to The Air Force Aid Society. Contact information is available at Eglin Air Force Base.


Thanks  to  RALPH  JACKSON ('49) for  providing  this  obituary.