A man in uniform standing next to the president 's train.

Nicholas A. Turner

Nicholas A. Turner was born June 1, 1978, to Philip Larry and Judy Turner. Growing up in Elliott, he worked in the family business, Turner Copter Services Inc., which was started by his father, a Marine helicopter pilot, upon his return from service in Vietnam and provided crop-spraying and heavy-lift services across the Midwest for over 50 years. After high school, Nick attended Central College in Pella before joining the United States Marine Corps in 2001. Nick began flight training in 2002 on the T-34C Turbo Mentor. He was selected for advanced helicopter training in the TH-57 B/C Sea Ranger. Nick earned his Naval Aviator wings on December 18, 2003, graduated top of his class in Advanced Flight Training, and chose to fly the CH-53D Sea Stallion in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. After training, he reported to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362, the “Ugly Angels,†the same squadron his father was assigned to in 1965.

Nick trained in the CH-53D and deployed in 2005 as part of the Unit Deployment Program to Okinawa, Japan. He ultimately deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the U.S.S Bonhomme Richard. Promoted to Captain in 2006, Nick deployed to provide support for President George Bush’s visit to Hyderabad, India. In 2007, he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as Flight Line Officer in Charge. He attended the Marinerine Corps Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course in Arizona in 2008 and became squadron weapons and tactics instructor. In 2009, Nick deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Weapons and Tactics Instructor before the unit moved to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Nick was Airborne Mission Commander in a joint Army and Marine Corps Helicopter borne insert of two Marine Corps Infantry battalions, Operation Khanjari (Strike of the Sword). Later that year, Nick was selected to join Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) at Marine Corps Air Facility, Quantico VA. He participated in missions carrying the President and Vice-President around the world, becoming a White House Helicopter Aircraft Commander, and was selected to be one of twelve White House Liaison Officers.

After his four-year assignment at HMX-1, Nick was assigned as Air Officer to the 8th Marine Regiment in 2013 and deployed as part of the Command Element for Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response. His mission was to support the Marine Security force protecting the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, which was ultimately evacuated. Nick accepted orders to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 as Maintenance Officer, Executive Officer and a senior Instructor pilot in the CH-53E Super Stallion. In 2017, Nick deployed for a 5th time as a Liaison Officer to Marine Forces Europe and Africa in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2018, Nick became the 2nd Marine Division Air Officer and oversaw the training and deployment requirements for the Joint Terminal Air Controllers of three Marine Corps Infantry regiments and ten infantry battalions. He also managed the 2nd Marine Division’s Small Unmanned Aerial Systems program, with 600 operators and aircraft. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 2018.

Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Turner retired from active duty in 2021 with 2500+ hours of mishap free flight in multiple Marine Corps aircraft and 20 years of military service. His personal decorations include nine Air Medals, the Meritorious Service Award, five Commendation Medals, and the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He lives with his family in Rhodes, Iowa, and is a Subject-Matter Expert and Event Controller for the Air National Guard in Des Moines.

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