Tag Archives: Americal Division

John Harrison Turnipseed, Jr.

Turnipseed was one of our OCS class who was booted out in the final days before graduation. I knew that he went on to Viet Nam as an E-6, his former rank, and was awarded three Purple Hearts. Now I’ve learned that he was an assistant to then-Major Colin Powell, the deputy G-3 of the Americal Division, in 1968 and ’69, wielding the pointer on the maps while Powell briefed ranking officers.

But he also drove Powell when the future four-star and secretary of state, was at division HQ in Chu Lai and probably had a more extensive relationship that included helping out when Powell went into the field to check on operations. Powell received the Soldiers Medal for non-combat valor when he pulled three men, including the division commander, out of a burning helicopter. No proof yet but could John have been there? What assistant would not be with the boss at such a time and others? That may have been how he received three Purple Hearts.

UPDATE: Now know he didn’t enter the army until Feb, 1967, so he couldn’t have been an E-6 about 10 months later when he entered OCS. Reading Powell’s otherwise interesting autobio, I sadly find no mention of John, and he apparently wasn’t in on the helicopter rescue which Powell details. Which was little more than an excursion gone bad so maybe there was no reason for John to be there.