Saturday, February 13, 2010

Marine Cpl. Jacob H. Turbett

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Jacob H. Turbett, 21, of Canton, Mich.

Cpl. Turbett was assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Feb. 13, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

The mother of a U.S. Marine killed Saturday in Afghanistan said Tuesday her son would want the world to know how proud he was to have served his country.

Sheila Turbett, mother of Marine Corporal Jacob H. Turbett, the first reported American casualty in a major offensive in Marjah, Afghanistan, said he had apparently been communicating over the Internet with friends and relatives just a few hours before he was killed.

"My Jakie was so proud to be a marine -- that's all he ever wanted to be," said his mother, who returned to Metro Detroit Monday night after a quick overnight trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to oversee the arrival of her son's casket.

The slain corporal, whose unit was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., came from a military family, according to Sheila Turbett. One of his grandfathers, two of his uncles and a cousin were in the Marines and another uncle was in the Navy. His sister, Jaime Turbett, enlisted in the Navy and started boot camp on Feb. 3, just 10 days before he was killed.

"He was actually looking forward to going over there and fighting for his country," Sheila Turbett said of her son's tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Turbett, a Redondo Beach, Calif native, had hoped to make the military a permanent part of his life. "He was well-liked. He was a great worker, a really hard worker," his mother said.

"He was planning on finishing up his tour of duty, finish up his four years and then ... go to school and then go back into the military to try to get into flying."

In his spare time, Turbett -- Jake to his friends, Jakey to his mom -- enjoyed playing video games, learning about airplanes and squirrel hunting.

"He was a quiet boy, kind of, but he was a jokester," Sheila Turbett recalled. "He'd keep egging you on. He wouldn't stop. He liked to see you laugh. He was a big family guy."

His wife, Crystal, said he grew up in Canton Township. She said the military told her he died Saturday. Other details were not available, and his wife said funeral plans were incomplete.

Turbett wrote on his Facebook page that he was a 2007 graduate of Canton High School and was serving as a combat engineer. His unit was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Turbett had talked about joining the military early on, said Mark Pogliano, an assistant principal. "That always sounded like his game plan," he said. "He took going into the service very seriously." Later, after graduating and training, Turbett returned to the school for a visit wearing his uniform, Pogliano said. "He was a polite, quiet, nice young man."

Before serving in Afghanistan, Turbett was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, with the 9th Engineer Support Battalion. He also spent time in Iraq and Bangladesh, said Donald Brunson, who served with him.

Regardless of the setting, Turbett loved seeking diversions in his down time -- searching for a pizza place or playing "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero" video games. "He was always fun to be around," said Jeremy Roark, a corporal who served with him. "He was always having a good time."

He is survived by a wife, Crystal, whom he married in July 2008; his Mom Sheila, a sister, Jaime Turbett, a stepbrother, Joseph Marsh; and his father, Richard.

Marine Cpl. Jacob H. Turbett was killed in action on 2/13/10.

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