Tennessee Army National Guard identifies soldier killed in California

The Tennessee Army National Guard lost one of their own during a training accident in California earlier this month, sending shockwaves of grief through the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Private First Class Tara Turnage of Memphis was killed in an unspecified vehicle accident while training at the National Training Center in California.

“This was a very bad day for the Regiment and the Tennessee National Guard”, said Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee Adjutant General. “The NTC is a harsh and unforgiving desert environment and is the most advanced training area in the world. As a veteran of several NTC rotations and having experienced combat- the NTC is harder. This Soldier was doing her job in this harsh environment and had an accident. We mourn her loss and her absence will be felt throughout the Tennessee National Guard. I pray for her immediate family and her Guard family as we all hurt.”

According to WBIR, PFC Turnage was assigned to the Forward Support Company, Support Squadron and attached to G Troop, 1st Squadron of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

LaQuita Darnell said she learned of her daughter’s death on Monday after National Guard members came to her home and gave her the bad news.

“The initial shock of losing one of my children, I think that’s been one of my worst fears, and to have it realized was hard,” Darnell said.

Recently engaged, Turnage leaves behind a 7-year-old daughter.

“When she joined the military, she learned discipline and she became a better person- more responsible, a better mom,” Darnell said.

Turnage’s unit was training in preparation for deployments to Europe at the time of her death.

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