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Grant M Turley

Military

Grant Turley was born in Arizona. He served with the 82nd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group. He was shot down during fighter attacks and crashed south of Bremen, on an escort mission to Berlin on 6 March 1944 in his P-47D #42-7998 'Kitty'.

Grant was in formation with three other P-47s when they saw several enemy planes headed for the bombers and rushed to intercept them. The German planes dived evasively and Grant pursued. Three more enemy planes then pounced on Grant and his wingman. Grant and his wingman split up, each targeting one of the fighters. Grant shot down the Focke-Wulf 190 he’d followed, but in the meantime, the third plane positioned itself behind Grant and let loose with its guns. Grant’s plane was hit several times and he was last seen diving rapidly with the Focke-Wulf 190 on his tail.

Following the dogfight, Grant’s wingman rejoined the formation. Captain May, who was serving as flight leader, later reported that neither he nor the other pilots ever saw Grant’s plane again.

Grant's brother, Stan Turley, remembered his brother in this extract from Wanda Turley-Smith's 'Grant Turley - Ace Fighter Pilot of World War Two':

'Grant was so steady, so conscientious, so dependable that you need not worry about him doing his duty, whatever that might be. There was nothing mean or malicious in Grant’s nature. He was as Nathaniel of old, “one without guile,” and never a word of disrespect to the folks or other authority figures. He also loved his little sisters and their cats and was very patient and good to them.

'The last time I ever saw him stands out particularly in my mind. He had a ten-hour layover in Connecticut on his way overseas and came to the Eastern States Mission office in New York City where I was completing my mission. He looked so strong and confident and handsome in his officer’s uniform.

'We were so glad for those few hours together. He observed that I was wearing a pair of tweed trousers with the seat and crotch area obviously worn out, but protected by a wondrous emerald green satin lining clearly outlined by large stitches on the back of the seat. “No brother of mine needs to wear a pair of pants like that,” he announced. So we went down to a nearby men’s store and he bought me a new brown, pin-striped suit that lasted me for many years.

'Grant was not perfect, but he had few faults and many virtues. I am proud to have him as my brother, and shall never forget the picture of him marching out to take his place with our nation’s protectors. His military honors, including the Silver Star, attest to his courage in combat. It will be good to see him again one day.'

Gun camera footage from Grant's aircraft can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv_uma5_dL8

Wanda Turley Smith's book about her brother, Grant, available here: http://www.legendexpress.biz/NewFiles/aboutbookGrant.html

Service

Units served with

  • 78th Fighter Group

    78th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 78th Fighter Group was initially based at Goxhill but moved to Duxford in April 1943 and stayed there until October 1945. It flew all three of the USAAF's principal fighters. On D-Day every available Thunderbolt provided air cover to the Allied...

  • 82nd Fighter Squadron

Aircraft

Missions

  • 8th Air Force FO 262 BOMBER ESCORT

    6 March 1944
    A combined figther force of 801 figthers of types: P-38; P-47 and P-51 are despatched to provide escort for heavy bombers attacking at Berlin, Germany. Mission Summary follows: ...

Associated Place

  • Duxford

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Duxford, now a museum and still a working airfield, was operated by the USAAF from 1943 to 1945. The base was briefly the home of the 350th Fighter Group in late 1942, but it was not until April 1943 that it became a fully American station when the...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Arizona 18 June 1922

From Wanda Turley-Smith's book about her brother:

'Grant’s birth was on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, June 18, 1922, at Sundown Ranch, Aripine, Arizona, which is located between Heber and Pinedale. He was a 7 pound baby, delivered by our good friend and neighbor, Aunt Elsie Flake. The second son of Fred and Wilma Turley, he followed his brother, Stan, by sixteen months. Three sisters eventually were born into the family: Wanda, May 14, 1926; Monita, May 7, 1930 and Marilyn on August 23, 1931.'

Died Barenburg, Germany 6 March 1944 – 6 March 1944

Grant was in formation with three other P-47s when they saw several enemy aircraft headed for the bombers and rushed to intercept them. The German planes dived evasively and Grant pursued. Three more enemy planes then pounced on Grant and his wingman. Grant and his wingman split up, each targeting one of the fighters. Grant shot down the Focke-Wulf 190 he’d followed, but in the meantime, the third plane positioned itself behind Grant and let loose with its guns. Grant’s plane was hit several times and he was last seen diving rapidly with the Focke-Wulf 190 on his tail.

Buried

Plot D, row 14, grave 23

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 April 2015 08:52:47 Carl Changes to events
Sources

ABMC, MACR 2975, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces / MACR 2975
Turley Smith, Wanda; Lt Grant M Turley - Ace Fighter Pilot of World War II; (2006)
http://www.abmc.gov/search-abmc-burials-and-memorializations/detail/WWII...

Date Contributor Update
22 October 2014 07:16:26 Carl Changes to nickname and biography
Sources

Grant Olsen, Lt Turley's great-nephew.

Date Contributor Update
28 September 2014 11:37:07 Carl Changes to biography
Sources

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv_uma5_dL8

Date Contributor Update
28 September 2014 11:07:58 Carl Changes to biography and awards
Sources

ABMC, MACR 2975, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces / MACR 2975
Turley Smith, Wanda; Lt Grant M Turley - Ace Fighter Pilot of World War II; (2006)
https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd...
http://www.ulongbeach.com/Turley.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:11:40 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

ABMC, MACR 2975, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 2975 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list

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