Maj. Gen. Abraham J. Turner Inspires Next Generation of Leaders

Thursday, May 5, 2011

SC State University continues to be the top minority serving institution in the nation. To date, the University has commissioned more than 2,035 officers in the Armed Forces. Maj. Gen. Abraham Turner, a notable alumnus of SC State University and one of the 2,035 officers, commanded the nation’s largest initial entry training post in Fort Jackson, S.C. Turner is committed to supporting students, and will offer words of encouragement to the future leaders of tomorrow during the 2011 Commissioning Ceremony. Cadets that are commissioned through the SC State Army ROTC program have successfully completed University requirements to graduate and all of the requirements established by cadet command to be commissioned as a second lieutenant. The Commissioning Ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 1 p.m. in the Dr. Barbara A. Vaughan Fine Arts Recital Hall. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend the annual event.

Ecstatic about Turner’s return to the University, Lt. Col. Derrick Corbett, professor of military sciences, shares positive words as it relates to Turner. “Maj. Gen. Turner is the most senior ranking officer commissioned through the SC State University Army ROTC program that is currently on active duty.”

As a devoted son of the University, Turner will share his experiences as a cadet and offer words of advice to the 2011 commissionees. Turner is the chief of staff in the United States Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base. He is the principal advisor to the commander and deputy commander of the United States Strategic Command and directs the activities of the command staff by developing and implementing policies and procedures in support of the command’s missions. Turner also chairs numerous boards, oversees the command corporate process and serves as director of the commander’s staff.

Turner earned his commissioning into the Army as an infantry officer through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at SC State University, graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in music. While attending the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pa., he earned a master’s degree in public administration from Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Pa.

Prior to his current assignment, Turner was deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Va. Other previous assignments include serving as commanding general for the U.S. Army Training Center in Fort Jackson, S.C.; assistant chief of staff, C-3, Coalition Forces Land Component Command, Camp Doha, Kuwait and assistant division commander (Operations), 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. He also served as the chief of the House Legislative Liaison Division, Washington, DC.

Turner's combat experiences include a combat jump into Panama during Operation Just Cause, a deployment during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and most recently, deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Among his many awards and decorations, Turner has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merits with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

Thrilled about the opportunity for Turner to share such inspiring words to the next generation of leaders, Corbett shares his admiration for the Bulldog Battalion. “This is a rite of passage that to date 2,035 officers from our ROTC program have experienced.  How fitting is it for Maj. Gen. Turner to come back to the University where it all started for him 35 years ago to inspire the next generation of leaders that will represent the Bulldog Battalion through service to our nation,” shares Corbett. Turner will retire this summer. This year’s annual commissioning ceremony will be his last official speaking engagement before his retirement.

Those who will follow in the footsteps of Turner and receive the second lieutenant commissioning will be: 

Christopher Bellinger, senior, biology major, SC State University
Brian Erwin, senior accounting major, Claflin University
Marvin Hughes, II, senior, business economics major, SC State University
Otis Scott, senior, criminal justice major, SC State University
Tequella Walker, senior, criminal justice major, SC State University

“I am encouraged by the officers to be commissioned as they represent a new generation of leaders that will be the standard-bearers for their peers and those that follow them to emulate,” Corbett echoes.  “For the family members of the commissionees, this is their ceremony too.”   

For additional information about this annual event, contact Lt. Col. Derrick Corbett at (803)536-8878.