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High energy Waynesville grad leaving 7th Civil Support Team for St. Louis
High energy Waynesville grad leaving 7th Civil Support Team for St. Louis

Sgt. Chester Romine, left, and Staff Sgt. Jamie Turner, both of the 7th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil support Team at Fort Leonard Wood, examine part of a lab structure during an exercise at Vigilant Guard at Camp Dodge, Iowa.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (June 23, 2009) — For one member of the 7th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team of Fort Leonard Wood, Vigilant Guard will likely be his last full-scale exercise with the unit — at least for a while.

Missouri National Guard Staff Sgt. Jamie Turner, a Waynesville High School 1998 graduate who now lives in Iberia, will return to his roots after he accepted a position that should come with a promotion to become the readiness noncommissioned officer for Company B, 1-138th Infantry Battalion in St. Louis.

“I was at the top of the promotion list and the opportunity came,” Turner said.

Turner has 11 years of service with the Army, seven in the Guard. The last four have been as a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist on the 7th Civil Support Team reconnaissance squad. He’s been a team chief for the past two years.

For four years in the regular Army, Turner served in a pair of infantry units — the 1-325th Airborne Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Infantry, Long Range Surveillance Detachment.

“It’s exciting to go back to the infantry because I’ve missed it,” he said.

Getting the opportunity to work with the team one last time was memorable for Turner.

“It was just a good time going into a threat zone again — I enjoy it,” he said. “That’s been my big skill here, to go down range and take care of stuff. It was one last big ‘hoorah.’”

Although his new position is in a traditional Guard unit as opposed to the active Guard reserve status of the 7th Civil Support Team, the job will be full time.

Turner said he’s making the move to progress his career, have more time with his family, and learn more about being a noncommissioned officer.

“I want to be able to take care of soldiers later on,” he said. “The job will also give me the opportunity to go to school, too, because I should be in a position that is slower pace through the week. That is a nice change.”

The Army has dedicated 2009 as the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer in recognition of the professionalism, commitment and sacrifices of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps. Throughout the year, the Army wants to educate the public on the roles and responsibilities of today’s noncommissioned officer. Internally, the Army is working to enhance and accelerate education, fitness and leadership development of these Soldiers, who form the backbone of today’s Army.

With the position being away from his home, Turner said he’ll stay in St. Louis through the week and come home on non-drill weekends.

Turner is credited with being a workhorse and brining a lot of energy to the reconnaissance team and the unit by his junior noncommissioned officers.

“We are going to miss Staff Sgt. Turner because he puts a lot of sweat and his own blood into the job,” said Sgt. Herbert Wolf. “He’s not a paper pusher – he’s actually out here to do recon. That’s what recon is all about — the hands on part.”

Although he’s leaving the team, it may not be for good as Turner said he hopes to perhaps some day return as the unit’s first sergeant.

Until then, Turner said there is much he’ll miss.

“There’s the camaraderie and the fun of working in Hazmat level A suits,” he said. “It’s exciting to do it. I’ll also miss the Homeland Security mission. It’s a real mission. We are on call every day.”

Turner is supported in his Guard career by his wife, Kathy, and the rest of his family in Waynesville.

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