AL ASAD, Iraq --
During a seven-month deployment to Al Asad with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, one junior Marine surpassed the expectations of her rank and billet making a positive impact on operations inside and outside of the wire.
Lance Cpl. Shamara L. Turner works as an aviation
operations specialist, who coordinates training and manually records the flight hours for all air crew members of the unit.
The Goose Creek, S.C., native’s efforts were recognized in a commendation from Brig. Gen. Timothy C. Hanifen, the commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward).
According to the award, Turner made a lasting impression on the HMLA-773 operations department. Whether providing situational briefs to pilots or assisting Marines in completing more than 200 Marine Corps Institute courses, she continued to seek out opportunities to improve herself.
“Lance Cpl. Turner is a hardworking individual who has concern for everything she does and sees every task through to its fullest,” said Gunnery Sgt. Charles Peoples, HMLA-773 operations and training chief. “It is very rewarding to have a Marine who is so dedicated to our shop, squadron and Corps.”
In her first month of the deployment, Turner volunteered to participate with Task Force Lioness and served 45 days in Haqlaniyah, Iraq, with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment.
“Since I work at an air station, I wanted to experience the ground side of operations,” said Turner. “The best part of serving (with Task Force Lioness) was having the ladies in the town come up, kiss our hands and thank us for coming to protect them.”
Other than Task Force Lioness, Turner says the highlight of her deployment is the guidance she received from her superiors.
“I am thankful that I had my gunny out here to help me better learn the ins and outs of my job,” said Turner.
Prior to her enlistment, Turner worked odd jobs until enrolling in Trident Technical College, with dreams of becoming a nurse. After discovering a two-year waiting list for the program, she took the Emergency Medical Technician Course and accepted a job with a local medical transport service.
But the twenty-four year old sought more than just a job. She wanted a career to help support herself and her
daughter, Gabrielle. That’s when she made a visit to the local Marine Corps recruiting office and made the decision to enlist.
Turner’s father, a former Marine, had influenced her, and she wanted to emulate the characteristics that distinguished him from other individuals.
“That was something that I wanted, something that once accomplished will never fade,” said Turner.
As the operations specialist prepares to return to Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base Atlanta, she anticipates the moment of reuniting with Gabrielle.
“The main thing I am looking forward to when I get back to the states is being football tackled by her when I get off the plane,” said Turner. “Other than that, I will continue to focus on my career, and live the military life that I love.”