Monday, February 26, 2024

Avenue of Heroes: Michael A. Turner

Prepared by: Michael Turner (self)

Michael ‘Mike’ A. Turner was born at Naval Air Station North Island on August 4, 1944, to A.O. and Rose Turner. As a ‘Navy Brat,’ his family had numerous duty stations, but Coronado was home. In 1962, Mike graduated from Coronado High School, enlisted in the Navy in Richmond, Virginia, and attended Machinist Maintenance ‘A’ school in Great Lakes, Illinois. Upon graduation, he was assigned to Nuclear Power School in Bainbridge, Maryland. Mike met and married the love of his life, Barbara Anne Ellard, and honeymooned at the infamous Woodstock Festival.

During 28 years of service, Mike’s sea time included USS Springfield (CLG-7), Sixth Fleet Flagship homeported in Villa France, France, and USS Fulton (AS-11), homeported in New London, Connecticut. Finally returning to California, Mike was assigned to USS Long Beach (CGN-9), USS England (CG-22), USS McCluskey (FFG-41), and USS Independence (CV-62), all homeported in San Diego.

A hard charging engineer, ‘Snipe,’ Mike was selected and commissioned as an Engineering Officer under the Limited Duty Program.

One memorable highlight in Mike’s career was as Tactical Action Officer (TAO) aboard USS McClusky. After passing through the Straits of Hormuz to conduct operations in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain was off to portside with the ship’s SH60 airborne helicopter about five nautical miles to port. During TAO watch, Mike was alerted that the SH60 had detected an aircraft over Iran with its Exocet missile targeting the ship. Mike immediately lit off the Fire Control RADAR, called the Captain to the bridge, and loaded a SM1 MR (anti-aircraft missile) on the launcher. Upon recognizing they had little desire to fight an American warship, the Iranian aircraft returned to Iran.

Retiring in 1990, Mike worked as an Aircraft Carrier Maintenance Program Manager with Commander Naval Air Forces Pacific Staff. Mike was assigned to USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), promoted as the MPM Supervisor, and retired in September 2006. In retirement, he and Barbara enjoyed their home in Coronado. As a member of Coronado’s VFW Post 2422 and as a Distinguished Flying Cross associate member, Mike remains active in his beloved hometown.

Mike Turner’s family includes son, Michael and his wife Michaelyn, grandchildren Bella Maria, Zane Michael and Kingston River.

The Avenue of Heroes military service recognition program is sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 246 hometown heroes to date. On November 4, 2023, another 16 were honored. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation.
In 2011, the program was inspired spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly and the local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. That moment made clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes.
That spontaneous beginning launched the program in May 2015 with 18 banners. The Avenue of Heroes is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to the country.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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