Captain James F. A. Turner, 79, of Rota, Spain, formerly of Benton Harbor passed on Friday, July 12, 2019, in Rota.
Captain Turner served his country faithfully during this tour and was a pioneer in race relations in the United States Air Force. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal, an Air Force Commendation, AF Outstanding Unit, Air Force Training Ribbon and Air Force Longevity and played on a USAF Armed Services Basketball Championship team.
Captain Turner was born on March 8, 1940, in Tupelo, Miss., to Zelma Turner and Mattie Kemp Turner. He attended Benton Harbor High School and then joined the Air Force in 1957. At an early age, he identified his calling and over the years came to set his plans according to the ordering of his calling. In May of 1968, then 2nd Lt. Turner, serving as Police Chief of Law Enforcement, founded the First Base Human Relations Council, simultaneously initiating and teaching the “First¨ Race Relations Equal Opportunity education classes/seminars. In 1972 Captain Turner was selected as one of the consultants to President Richard M. Nixon's Secretary of Defense, Melvin R. Laird. From 1968-1976, as a master instructor in the classroom, Captain taught Race, Ethnic and Gender classes/seminars for several thousand military and DOD civilian personnel.
His formal education included a Bachelor of Science in Police Administration, Law Enforcement and Security, Penology and Corrections, with a minor in Sociology, Allied Field of Psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha; a Master's in Urban Ethnic Studies and a Master of Arts in Executive Development for Public Service from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
His military education included Air Force Basic Training and Chaplain Service Specialist Technical Training School, Drug/Alcohol Substance Abuse Management Course at Air Education Training Command, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio; Officer’s Training School at Medina Base, Texas; U.S. Air Force Police Academy at Lackland Air Force Base; Squadron Officers School Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala.; Graduate Defense Race Relations Institute; NOW Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Patrick Air Force Base, Melbourne, Fla.
Awards and accomplishments included the Ten Outstanding Young of America Award, First Race Relations Officers trained to be Race Relations Instructors, “Father of Civil Rights Education in the US Military,” Retired U.S. Federal Court Officer/Monitor, Retired Educator Michigan Department of Education, Lansing, Mich.; Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Director of College Admissions, ROTC Officer Education Program, Headquarters: University of Michigan.
Retired Captain USAF Turner served as the Senior Manager in the Division of Student Affairs, Interim Director of Minority Affairs at Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Mich. He also served as a consultant to Mr. Don Barden, found and owner of Barden Cable Television, in his acquisitions throughout Michigan. Barden Cable Television Company also secured a contract to build the City of Detroit Cable Television System.
Retired Captain USAF Turner served as a Vice President for the NAACP and also led school desegregation for the Office of the United States Federal District Court in the State of Michigan.
He subsequently founded “Michiana and Texas Paradigm One Financial Institute, a Professional Mortgage Education School,” serving as President and CEO.
Finally, retired Captain USAF Turner served on the School Board of Benton Harbor and happily fund raised various Democratic and Republican candidates in Texas and in Michigan. He enjoyed his retirement in both San Antonio and Rota, Spain.
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