Greg Turberville comes home as keynote speaker
By SHERRY DIGMON
Greg Turberville stopped several times as he was speaking, overcome with emotion and memories. Friends lost. The tragedies of war. The reason the country observes Memorial Day – for the men and women who have died for the freedom we all share.
No one knows better than someone who’s been there – like CW5 Turberville, the keynote speaker at the Memorial Day observance Monday, May 31, presented by VFW Post 7016 and American Legion Post 90.
Turberville referenced the Atmore News article “The Forgotten Holiday” (Atmore News, May 26, page 1A) and shared some history of the day. Then he shared memories of “three fellow warriors.”
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jamie Dunbar Weeks died May 14, 2006, when his helicopter was shot down by enemy fire during combat operations south of Baghdad, Iraq. Killed in action, May 14, 2006, Mother’s Day, he was Turberville’s close personal friend and fellow soldier.
Edgar Harrell did not die in combat, but he was one of the three warriors Turberville honored. It was only recently the two met and became friends. Harrell, who passed away only 22 days ago, was the last surviving Marine of the USS Indianapolis, the U.S. Navy ship that sank in July 1945. It was this ship that delivered the atomic bomb the week before it was hit and sunk.
Cpl. Loren Miles Buffalo, 20, was killed March 9, 2011 when an improvised explosive device detonated while he was on patrol in Kandahar province. Through a series of unforeseen circumstances, Turberville was on the flight that brought Buffalo’s body home.
“On this day, it was a conflicted emotion,” he said. “All of us were terribly burdened with the knowledge of the precious cargo on our flight home.”
He recounted the moment when the cargo door opened, and he saw the flag-draped coffin.
“On Memorial Day, we pause to remember and honor the brave veterans like these three,” Turberville said. “Forgotten holiday? Not by the families of the fallen. Not by the American Legion. Not by the VFW. Not by you who are here today.”
Also participating in the program were Billy Gates, VFW Post 7016 Commander; Dave Graham, American Legion Post 90 Commander; Glenn Wardrop, VFW Chaplain; Mayor Jim Staff; soloist Lana Langford, National Anthem; Memorial Roll Call Team: Harold Madison, Lloyd Albritton, Ronnie Albritton, Joel Mackety, Jim Biggs; Fire Team: Steve Reynolds, Robert Whatley, Larry Reynolds and Jeff White; Bethany Presley, Taps; Jack Wright, American Legion Chaplain.
Link to photo gallery below