Sergeant Day G. Turner, USA (January 8, 1945)

Day G. Turner was born on September 2, 1921 in Berwick, Pennsylvania. He was drafted for wartime service in the United States Army on September 16, 1943. Turner was an infantryman, and served in Company B, 1st Battalion, 319th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division. The division arrived in Europe for combat via Utah Beach in Normandy on August 5, 1944.

Five months later on January 8, 1945, Sergeant Turner led his rifle squad in an inspired defense of a house which secured his unit’s flank near Dahl, Luxembourg. He fought with both his weapons and those he seized from the enemy and just when it looked like his squad couldn’t hold out much longer due to casualties and lack of ammunition, the enemy surrendered.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (T-Z):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

*TURNER, DAY G.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 319th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division. Place and date: At Dahl, Luxembourg, 8 January 1945. Entered service at. Nescopek, Pa. G.O. No.: 49, 28 June 1945

Citation: He commanded a 9-man squad with the mission of holding a critical flank position. When overwhelming numbers of the enemy attacked under cover of withering artillery, mortar, and rocket fire, he withdrew his squad into a nearby house, determined to defend it to the last man. The enemy attacked again and again and were repulsed with heavy losses. Supported by direct tank fire, they finally gained entrance, but the intrepid sergeant refused to surrender although 5 of his men were wounded and 1 was killed. He boldly flung a can of flaming oil at the first wave of attackers, dispersing them, and fought doggedly from room to room, closing with the enemy in fierce hand-to-hand encounters. He hurled handgrenade for handgrenade, bayoneted 2 fanatical Germans who rushed a doorway he was defending and fought on with the enemy’s weapons when his own ammunition was expended. The savage fight raged for 4 hours, and finally, when only 3 men of the defending squad were left unwounded, the enemy surrendered. Twenty-five prisoners were taken, 11 enemy dead and a great number of wounded were counted. Sgt. Turner’s valiant stand will live on as a constant inspiration to his comrades His heroic, inspiring leadership, his determination and courageous devotion to duty exemplify the highest tradition of the military service.

Turner didn’t live to have his Medal of Honor presented. He was killed in action one month later on February 8, 1945. Sergeant Day G. Turner today rests in peace with 5,075 of his comrades-in-arms in the Luxembourg American Cemetery. The present 80th Training Command of the United States Army Reserve carries the lineage of the 80th Infantry Division.

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3 thoughts on “Sergeant Day G. Turner, USA (January 8, 1945)”

  1. Day G Turner was my Great-Uncle. I am so proud of him, but alas we’d never meet. One of his sisters, unfortunately’ and unknown to any other family members,sold his medals and other memorabilia! To this day, we are deeply saddened by this.We will never be able to display his “Medal of Honor”, which was so deserving. RIP Uncle Day!

    1. I just saw your uncle’s grave in Luxembourg American Cemetery earlier this month. Very touching. My father served in the 94th Infantry Division. My sister and I with our husbands were on a Battlefield Tour of the 94th Infantry Division and Luxembourg American Cemetery was on our tour. The trip was amazing and we were just blown away with the courage and patriotism these fine men had. Your uncle’s story is amazing.

  2. i am the nephew of day turner , my mother was lois marie turner, my name is edwin ellsworth hutton, i live in antioch ca.
    94509 .

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