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Monroe, Alabama County Road 17 Dedication For Sgt. Charles Wayne Turberville

By By Stewart Grant, MEGA Vice Chairman Board of Directors | Marine Corps Embassy Security Group | December 19, 2014

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On Sunday, October 19, 2014, Monroe County honored one of their fallen Marines with the renaming of a 5 mile stretch of County Road 17 to the “Sgt. Charles Wayne Turberville Memorial Highway.”

 

On September 26, 1971, Sgt. Turberville, a Marine Security Guard (MSG) posted to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was killed by Khmer Rouge terrorists.  He became the second Marine Security Guard, from Monroe County, to be killed by hostile action since the start of the MSG program.

 

The first MSG, killed by hostile action, was Cpl. James Marshall.  Quantico’s Marshall Hall is named in his honor.

 

The highway dedication brings to closure, a tremendous amount of work done by two of Sgt. Turberville’s best friends, Edward and William (Ronnie) Philen.  Sgt. Turberville preferred to be known by  Wayne, his middle name, rather than Charles.  Both of the Philens felt that not enough has been done to recognize Wayne’s sacrifice and that something like a highway dedication would be a great way to fill that void.  There is not enough room in this article to detail all that transpired to get this dedication approved by all parties.

 

Forty-three years after Wayne’s death, the Unveiling Memorial Service began at 10:00 AM at the site on County Road 17 where the first sign is located.  Attendees included almost a dozen Turberville family members, Monroe County Council members, VFW post members, friends of the Turberville family.  Some of the special guests were SgtMajor Kenneth Pickering, representing MSG Command & myself, representing MEGA.

 

At this service, Ronnie gave a brief recap of Wayne’s tours of duty, including Vietnam, acceptance into the MSG program, the MSG posting in Cambodia, and his death.

 

SgtMajor Pickering spoke about the duties and responsibilities of our MSGs, past, present and future.  County Commissioner Billy Ghee read the Resolution that was passed on August 26, 2014.  A prayer of dedication was presented by Jeff Young who was a childhood friend of Wayne, and a very good friend to Edward and Ronnie.  Following the prayer, the memorial sign was unveiled.

 

The second part of the Memorial Service was held in the Eureka Baptist Church, immediately following the unveiling of the memorial sign.  It began with the National Anthem followed by Pastor Terry Harden who gave the welcoming remarks and who lead the congregation in the singing of ”America the Beautiful.”

 

Ronnie again took the podium doing the recognition of special guests and relatives of the Turberville and James Marshall families who were present for the service.  Many of the attendees shared their memories of Wayne, several running over their 3-5 minute time limit.  The featured speaker was Lt. Cmdr Tonder, a nephew of Wayne.

 

Potluck lunch and good fellowship followed the church service.  I am sure Wayne would have approved of today’s events.


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