Mother, son reconnect in Germany

  • Published
  • By Maj. Christopher Bowyer-Meeder
  • USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs

Capt. Crystal Turner, Critical Care Air Transport Team nurse, experienced a feeling that many mothers do when their child says, “I want to join the military.” She described it as a mix of pride and sadness seeing her son, Airman 1st Class Don Turner, KC-135 boom operator, head off to begin his career in the U.S. Air force.

“My momma heart broke,” explained Capt. Turner. “He went as far away as he could.”

Capt. Turner is stationed at Walter Reed Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base, VA., and Airman 1st Class Turner calls Fairchild Air Force Base, WA., home. When Capt. Turner was notified of a deployment to Germany, she prepared for the months she wouldn’t be even further away, and unable to see her family. Early into her deployment, however, she found out that her “see you later,” would quickly become a “see you soon.”

“I was asked if I wanted to go on a temporary duty assignment,” said the younger Turner. “When I found out where, I had to let my mom know as soon as possible.”

Not expecting to receive an opportunity to support a TDY so early in his career, Airman 1st Class Turner was surprised when his leadership gave him the opportunity to support a mission that was heading to Germany. He agreed to take the mission, and before long he was on a transatlantic flight to meet up with his mother in Germany.

“It was so cool. It was surreal to be with him in a work capacity,” said Capt. Turner. “It’s so rare to have that overlap.”

The two Turners capitalized on the short time they got to spend with each other in Germany, enjoying local cuisine and taking in the sights of Trier. Before donning their civilian attire to tour Germany, however, there was one order of business that had to be taken care of.

“that’s the first time he ever saluted me,” Capt Turner said after receiving a salute from her son since they could both say they were on active duty in 2021. “We’ve never been in uniform together.”

Even though they currently wear the same uniform, Airman 1st Class Turner pointed out where his inspiration to join the military came from.

“It was my dad,” he said. “My mom and I both decided to join around the same time, but she beat me to the punch.”

Even though her son credits his dad for the inspiration to join the military, Capt Turner concluded by saying just how proud she is of her son’s accomplishments.

“As a mom you tell your kids you’re proud of them, and they’re like, ‘yeah ,yeah, yeah,’ but he’s doing some really cool stuff. I’m going to tear up; that’s my baby.”