GEORGE BENTON TURNER (1899 ~ 1963). Medal of Honor Recipient George Benton Turner was born on June 27, 1899, in Longview, Texas. He attended Wentworth College in Lexington, Missouri, where he studied liberal arts until 1918, when he left college to join the military.
Turner served during WWI, but was not deployed to Europe. In 1928, he worked as a secretary at a law office and for a wholesale grocery chain in Los Angeles County, California. He joined the Army there in 1942, becoming a Private First Class in Battery C of the 499th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, Fourteenth Armored Division.
On January 3, 1945, near Philippsbourg, France, he was separated from the rest of his unit by an armored enemy advance. Turner located another American unit withdrawing from the village, just in time to see two German tanks and 75 soldiers advancing down the village's main street. He seized a rocket launcher, and despite heavy enemy fire, stood in the middle of the street to fire on each tank, destroying one and disabling the other. Turner then dismounted a heavy machine gun from a nearby half-track, placed it in the middle of the street, and opened fire on the enemy infantry, halting their advance. This enabled the Allies to begin a counterattack, during which two American tanks were disabled by enemy fire. Turner held off enemy troops and gave the tank crews time to escape, covering them with machine gun fire. One man had been unable to escape his burning tank and Turner ran through heavy enemy fire to help him. While rescuing the trapped man, the tank's ammunition exploded and Turner was seriously wounded. Refusing medical attention, he remained with the infantry until the next day, participating in several skirmishes through the day and night. During this time he also volunteered to drive a truck through heavy enemy fire to deliver wounded soldiers to an aid station.
For his heroic acts, Turner was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. President Truman presented Turner with the Medal of Honor on August 23, 1945, at the White House. Turner died in Encino, California on June 29, 1963. He was survived by his wife, Lucille K. Turner; his ashes are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Bibliography: "Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas; Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, University of Texas, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/TT/ftuqg.html, September 26, 2005.