Nightstalker Widow in Support of Crash Victims' Families - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/02/06

Nightstalker Widow in Support of Crash Victims' Families

Lynnette Turns Lynnette Turns
A memorial for the eight killed in Afghanistan. A memorial for the eight killed in Afghanistan.

In the last year and a half, the Hunter Army Airfield-based Nightstalkers have experienced their share of tragedy. Last year, the small unit lost eight of their own in combat. Yesterday, four died in a helicopter crash in southwest Georgia (Chinook Crash News Conference Delayed).

We spoke to the widow of a Nightstalker; her thoughts and prayers are with those families now.

Lynnette Turns did not lose her husband in a crash. Chief Warrant Officer Robert Turns died from cancer last March. But her husband spent ten years as a Nightstalker, and she knows the dangers these men face every mission.

"When I got the phone call at school, I thought not another one," she told us. "Not here."

Lynette was shocked to learn of the crash, but like all military families, she knows what can happen. "Being a military wife for 20 years, you always know, any time they walk out the door, they may not come back."

Last June, that's what the families of eight Nightstalkers, including seven from Hunter, experienced. All eight were killed when enemy fighters shot down a special forces helicopter in Afghanistan. The Nightstalkers came to those families' aid as well as Lynnette's when she lost her own husband.

"They were out here providing food," Lynette told us. "Before, taking him to and from his chemo treatments and after, they were here 24/7 answering phones calls, keeping order here in the house."

The Nightstalkers organized fundraisers to help the families of their fallen comrades. Lynette says she knows the Nightstalkers, and former Nightstalkers, will be there for these families too. Today alone, she's heard from several who aren't even in Savannah anymore.

"One's in Cedartown, Georgia, and one is in Kansas and a guy called from Indiana," Lynette said. "Even though they're not part of the unit anymore, they're still connected. You never lose that Nightstalker bond."

Or she says, the pride in knowing that Nightstalkers don't quit. "Robert was a Nightstalker for ten years. He didn't quit and those guys in that helicopter, when they hit that guy wire or whatever it was they hit, they didn't quit. That's how everybody needs to live their life."

Like so many other Nightstalker families, Lynnette has already called the unit, offering her help, to give these families the support her own family found during their time of need.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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