Meade County Veteran of the Month (May): Mr. Dick Turnwall
Upon graduating High School from Leola, South Dakota in May 1967, Mr. Turnwall enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving on active duty for 30 years.
Active duty dates:
26 March 1968 - 17 December 1973: U.S. Navy Seabee Equipment Operator
11 March 1974 - 31 July 1998: U.S. Navy Seabee Equipment Operator, U.S. Navy Diver, and U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officer
Promoted through the enlisted ranks from Seaman Recruit (E-1) to Seabee Equipment man Master Chief (E-9).
Commissioned as an Ensign (0-1) Limited Duty Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps, ultimately achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander (0-4).
Qualified as Seabee Combat Warfare Officer.
Served two years as Commanding Officer, Underwater Construction Team Two (UCT-2).
Qualified U.S. Navy second class diver, diving officer and qualified to dive through the Arctic ice pack. Maintained U.S. Navy diving qualifications for 23 consecutive years.
Completed multiple deployments throughout the Pacific, Indian, Arctic Oceans including places like Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Philippines, Diego Garcia, Guam, Midway, Tinian, Saipan, Johnston Atoll, Kure Island, Southern Marianas, and Canada. U.S. deployment locations were Hawaii, Alaska, Texas; Washington State, New Mexico, Idaho, Florida, and multiple locations in California. A single deployment to Puerto Rico was thrown in for some variety.
His wife’s maiden name is Corazon Fernandez Ladiero. Cora is originally from San Marcelino, Zambales Province, Republic of the Philippines. They were married in December 1987 while he was stationed in the Philippines on a 2 year assignment. They have two sons, Casey Lee born in January 1990 and Ryan Patrick, born in September 1995.
Mr. Turnwall retired from the U.S. Navy in July 1998. He then went to work in a Minneapolis based Target Corporation for 15 ½ years. Assignments included 2 years as an Owner’s Site Construction/Remodel Representative, 5.5 years as Construction Project Manager and finally 8 years as a Regional Owner's Construction/Remodel Site Representative, responsible for all new store construction and remodels in nine mid-western states.
Retiring from Target Corporation in 2014, they moved to rural Piedmont, South Dakota. Since becoming fully retired, he spends many hours riding motorcycle as a member of The American Legion Riders, South Dakota Patriot Guard and enjoyment throughout the Black Hills and surrounding areas. He also became involved with Veteran organizations and the Black Hills area Veterans Administration helping other veterans apply for programs/benefits and researching veteran program information to pass on to fellow veterans.
Mr. Turnwall and his wife enjoy some traveling around the United States attending annual reunions held by some of the military units that he was stationed with during his U.S. Navy career.