Turner, Richmond Kelly “Terrible”, born 27-05-1885 in Portland, Oregon, to Enoch and Laura Frances, born Kelly, Turner. His father alternated between being a rancher and farmer, and working as a printer in both Portland (for The Oregonian with his older brother Thomas) and Stockton, California (where he owned a small print shop). The young Richmond spent most of his childhood in and around Stockton, with a brief stop in Santa Ana, and he graduated from Stockton High School in 1904.
Richmond appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from California in 1904, graduated in June 1908 and served in several ships over the next four years. In 1913, Lieutenant Turner briefly held command of the destroyer Stewart. After receiving instruction in ordnance engineering and service on board the gunboat Marietta, he was assigned to the battleships Pennsylvania, Michigan and Mississippi during 1916-19. From 1919 to 1922, Lieutenant Commander Turner was an Ordnance Officer at the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C. He then was Gunnery Officer of the battleship California , Fleet Gunnery Officer on the Staff of Commander Scouting Fleet and Commanding Officer of the destroyer Mervine. Following promotion to the rank of Commander in 1925, Turner served with the Bureau of Ordnance at the Navy Department. In 1927, he received flight training at Pensacola, Florida, and a year later became Commanding Officer of the seaplane tender Jason and Commander Aircraft Squadrons, Asiatic Fleet. He had further aviation-related assignments into the 1930s and was Executive Officer of the aircraft carrier Saratoga in 1933-34. Captain Turner attended the Naval War College and served on that institution’s staff in 1935-38. He next commanded the heavy cruiser Astoria and took her on a diplomatic mission to Japan in 1939. Captain Turner was Director of the War Plans Division in Washington, D.C., in 1940-41 and achieved the rank of Rear Admiral late in the latter year. He was Assistant Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet from December 1941 until June 1942 and was then sent to the Pacific war zone to take command of the Amphibious Force, South Pacific Force.
For the Guadalcanal Campaign, Rear Admiral Turner was Commander, Amphibious Force South Pacific, also known as Task Force 62 which included 9 Groups, including Landing Force, Major General Alexander Archer Vandegrift
and Screening Group, Rear Admiral Sir Victor Alexander Charles Crutchley, Royal Navy. The old wooden cross marker over the grave of Admiral Sir Victor Crutchley VC, KCB, DSC, Royal Navy, in St Mary’s Churchyard, Powerstock in Dorset, has been replaced with a slate type headstone bearing his name and that of his wife Joan Elizabeth
Richmond successfully fought the five-month campaign to victory which included the galling defeat at Savo Island. For the assault on the Russell Islands, Rear Admiral Turner, was named as the Commander of the Joint Force designated Task Force 61, with the Commanding General 43rd Infantry Division, Major General John Hutchison Hester, U.S. Army, being the Commander Landing Force. MG Hester died 11-02-1976, aged 89 in Atlanta, Georgia, US
For the assault on the New Georgia Groups of Islands, Rear Admiral Turner, was named as the Commander Task Force 31 which included New Georgia Occupation Force, Major General Hester. For the assault on Tarawa and Makin, Rear Admiral Turner was named as the Commander, Assault Force Task Force 51, which included 10 Groups, including Northern Attack Force for Makin and Southern Attack Force for Tarawa, Rear Admiral Harry Wilbur Hill Admiral Hill here with “Terrible” Turner died 19-07-1971, aged 81, in Annapolis, Maryland. In 1978, the destroyer USS Harry W. Hill (DD-986) was named in his honor.
Over the next three years, while holding a variety of senior Pacific Fleet amphibious force commands as both a Rear Admiral and Vice Admiral, he planned and executed the conquest of enemy positions in the south, central and western Pacific, contributing greatly to ultimate victory in the World’s greatest naval war. In the rank of Admiral, he would have commanded the amphibious component of the invasion of Japan, had that nation not capitulated in mid-1945. after the Allies dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaky. and destroyed the cities. Following the end of World War II, Admiral Turner served on the Navy Department’s General Board and was U.S. Naval Representative on the United Nations Military Staff Committee.
Death and burial ground of Turner, Richmond Kelly “Terrible”.
He retired from active duty in July 1947. Admiral Richmond Kelly Richmond Turner, who was the brother of the socialist and pacifist writer John Kenneth Turner, here with his wife , died in Monterey, California, on 12-02-1961, age 75 and is buried on the Golden Gate National Cemetery, Section C. Also buried there are Navy Admiral, Commander U.S. Submarines, Charles Andrews Lockwood, Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz
and Navy Admiral, Commander Fifth Fleet , Central Pacific Forces, Raymond Ames Spruance.