Major Chris A. Turner joined the Army in 2005 through Clemson University’s ROTC program. He has served in many positions from an Infantry Platoon Leader and Executive Officer in Iraq to a Company Commander in Afghanistan. After 13 years of service, Turner is currently a Battalion Operations Officer in 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY.
On October 5, 2013 Turner was wounded when an Afghan Security Guard fired at him and other Soldiers; although he was hit by a bullet in the firefight, the wound was not life threatening and he remained in Afghanistan to finish the tour. For the remainder of the deployment, Turner struggled more with the invisible wounds of war, reliving those painful moments of the firefight over and over.
Turner ruminates quite often about the day he was wounded. “The only reason I am alive today is because that AK47 initially misfired when pointed directly at me.” Turner remains positive about the direction of his recovery. “I know the memories will never fully go away and I know I am lucky to be alive, but I am confident my ability to cope in a healthy manner will prevail.”
For the years since that deployment, Turner sought help through various sources, but never consistently enough to heal. He finally committed to treatment with the support and encouragement of his family and his realization that he was not coping in a healthy manner; his primary support structure consisted of his wife Katrina and their children. “If it wasn’t for my wife and kids, my recovery would not be moving in a positive direction; without them, I would have been much more destructive – they give me a reason to fight.”
Turner has benefitted greatly from the George W. Bush Military Service Initiative. “Team 43 and the Warrior Open provided me many things, to include lifelong friendships and a large support team.” I now have the ability to openly communicate without fear or stigma – I am trying to eliminate that stigma from within the ranks while still on active duty, and look for opportunities to share my story and encourage those afraid of seeking help.”
In May 2017, Turner joined fellow Team 43 Warrior Johnnie Yellock on stage with President Bush during the Portraits of Courage Engage Event, and discussed openly his battle with PTS and the stigma associated with seeking help.
Turner is supported by his wife, Katrina, a school teacher, and their three children, Vyolet, Rowan and Zane. Following their time at Fort Drum, NY, Turner and his family hope for an assignment in a much warmer climate.