"Nightstalkers don't quit." For most of Chief Warrant Officer Rob Turns' life, he lived by that motto. Until Monday, when he died of colon cancer.
Now his comrades, the 160th Special Ops Aviation "Nightstalkers" themselves, remember the man they called friend and hero.
Turns was no stranger to fighting tough battles. Whether overseas in Afghanistan or at home fighting cancer, he never gave up. "You couldn't keep Rob down," said CW5 Charles Lapp. "Always smiling, always laughing. He actually came in to work after surgery."
It's that fighting spirit that led Turns to the Army, becoming an avionics platoon leader for the Nightstalkers, an elite special ops group trained to fight, trained to never give up.
"He was 100 percent dedicated to the mission, the job, which is what epitomizes a Nightstalker," said Lapp.
Turns loved serving his country and he loved his soldiers, treating them like family. "His mentoring of his soldiers was exactly like he mentored his son Bobby throughout his football career, and the soldiers look up to Rob."
When the 160th visited Turns' home for a little PT last December, Turns joined in, doing push ups with his men. "That was Rob," Lapp told us. "He wanted to show us that he was still with us and strong."
Maybe not as strong in body, but still strong in spirit, up until the very end. He died peacefully at home with his family.
"I know that Rob is in a better place, and God has taken away his pain," said Lapp.
Bittersweet thoughts, but Turns' comrades are taking comfort. They know he fought a good fight, a Nightstalker to the very end. "Nightstalkers don't quit, and Rob hasn't quit, he's just gone on to a better place."
A military memorial for Rob Turns will be held at the Hunter Army Airfield Chapel on Thursday at 10am. A celebration of life service will be on Friday at 3pm at Southside Assembly of God on Tibet Avenue.
Turns' family asks that in lieu of flowers people instead make contributions to a college scholarship fund at Bank of America in Lynnette Turns' name for Bobby and Amy Turns.
CW4 Robert Turns was 46.