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July 8, 2014

ANSWERS FOUND

On June 18, The Department of Defense announced 17 service members, including Capt. Robert W. Turnbull of Thomasville, were recovered from a C-124 Globemaster aircraft that was lost on Nov. 22, 1952.

In addition to Turnbull, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Lawrence S. Singleton, Pvt. James Green Jr., and Pvt. Leonard A. Kittle; U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Earl J. Stearns; U.S. Navy Cmdr. Albert J. Seeboth; U.S. Air Force Col. Noel E. Hoblit, Col. Eugene Smith, 1st Lt. Donald Sheda, 1st Lt. William L. Turner, Tech. Sgt. Engolf W. Hagen, Staff Sgt. James H. Ray, Airman 1st Class Marion E. Hooton, Airman 2nd Class Carroll R. Dyer, Airman 2nd Class Thomas S. Lyons, Airman 2nd Class Thomas C. Thigpen, and Airman 3rd Class Howard E. Martin were recovered and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.4

On Nov. 22, 1952, a C-124 Globemaster aircraft crashed while en route to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, from McChord Air Force Base, Wash.. There were 11 crewmen and 41 passengers on board. Adverse weather conditions precluded immediate recovery attempts. In late November and early December 1952, search parties were unable to locate and recover any of the service members.

On June 9, 2012, an Alaska National Guard (AKNG) UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew spotted aircraft wreckage and debris while conducting a training mission over the Colony Glacier, immediately west of Mount Gannett. Three days later, another AKNG team landed at the site to photograph the area and it found artifacts at the site that related to the wreckage of the C-124 Globemaster. Later that month, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and Joint Task Force team conducted a recovery operation at the site and recommended it continued to be monitored for possible future recovery operations. In 2013, additional artifacts were visible and JPAC conducted further recovery operations.

DoD scientists from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used forensic tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of 17 service members. The remaining personnel have yet to be recovered and the crash site will continued to be monitored for future possible recovery.

Turnbull’s remains will be flown from the JPAC headquarters in Hawaii to Tallahassee, Fla., on July 17. A tribute service for him is set for July 18 and a grave side service with full military honors is July 19 at 11 a.m.

Turnbull has had a grave marker at Barnetts Creek Baptist Church since 1956.

 

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