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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS | Obituaries

Vernon Turner; Retired Submarine Commander

July 01, 1999

Vernon Clark Turner, retired World War II commander of the submarine Billfish, died at his home in Camarillo on Monday. He was 87.

Turner was born Sept. 16, 1911, in Brownwood, Texas, and attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., graduating in 1933.

He served as executive officer of the submarine Plunger. The submarine was sent to Pearl Harbor and, while approaching the base on Dec. 7, 1941, was fired on by enemy aircraft.

The Plunger was the first submarine to sustain a depth charge attack after war was declared. Turner received the Silver Star for his role aboard the Plunger.

He also served as executive officer of the Pompon and took command of the Billfish in 1944.

After the war, Turner commanded the Burton Island and served under Adm. Chester W. Nimitz.

On Oct. 3, 1948, Turner married Eugenia Waldo in Bremerton, Wash. He remained in the Navy until his retirement in 1951, when he became a project manager for the Fluor Corp. in Los Angeles.

Turner moved to Camarillo 40 years ago while working on a project at the Point Mugu naval base.

Turner's son, Vincent, of Upland, remembering an incident that his father told him about, said one of the crew members on the Pompon, Tom Payne, became the administrator at NASA. On the first moon mission, Payne loaned Neil Armstrong his dolphins, an insignia from the Pompon, for luck.

In addition to his wife and son, Turner is survived by sons William of Phoenixville, Pa., and Donald of Sunland; daughters Mary Alice Subers of Soleberry, Pa., and Linda Aufdemberg of Tustin; seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in Turner's name can be made to the Alzheimer's Assn.

Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. today at St. Mary Magdalen Chapel in Camarillo, with Msgr. John Hughes officiating. Burial will follow at Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village.

Arrangements are under the direction of Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Mortuary, Westlake Village.

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