Turner, Richmond Kelly, 1885-1961

Alternative names
Birth 1885-05-27
Death 1961-02

Biographical notes:

Richmond K. Turner (1885-1961) was born in Portland, Oregon. He attended high school in Stockton, California, before his appointment to the Naval Academy. Graduating with distinction in June 1908, fifth in a class of 201, he served the two years at sea then required by law, before being commissioned ensign in June 1910. After graduation in 1908, he served consecutively in Milwaukee (C-21), Preble (TB-12), and West Virginia (ACR-5) until June 1912, when he joined Stewart (DD-13), assuming command a year later. The World War I years found him on board the battleships Pennsylvania (BB-38), Michigan (BB-27), and Mississippi (BB-23). After serving as Commanding Officer of Mervine (DD-322), he reported for flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, where he was designated Naval Aviator on August 30, 1927. Upon completion of more than 4½ years of shore duty, Turner returned to sea as Executive Officer of the aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-3) and subsequently Commanding Officer of Astoria (CA-34). In October 1940 he became Director of the War Plans Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and in December 1941, in the rank of rear admiral, assumed additional duty as Assistant Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet. On June 18, 1942, Turner became Commander, Amphibious Force, South Pacific, and from that time participated in most of the major amphibious engagements of the Pacific Theater. Among Admiral Turner's most noteworthy achievements during the Pacific campaign were the Guadalcanal-Tulagi invasion, the New Georgia campaign, the Tarawa assault, the occupation of the Marshall Islands, and the seizure and occupation of Saipan. So successful were Admiral Turner's amphibious operations throughout the Pacific theater that he came to be known to the Japanese as the "Alligator," the symbol of fast and inexorable amphibious striking power. Besides the Navy Cross, he received the Distinguished Service Medal with three gold stars, the Navy Commendation Ribbon, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon. He was also made a Companion of the Order of the Bath by Great Britain. Admiral Turner was transferred to the retired list of the Navy in the rank of admiral on 1 July 1947. He died in Monterey, California, February 12, 1961, shortly after the death of his wife, the former Miss Harriet Sterling, whom he had married fifty-one years before.

From the description of Turner, Richmond Kelly, 1885-1961 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10576085


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