Body of National Guard soldier killed in California returned to Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The body of a Mid-South solider killed while training with the National Guard in California returned home today.

It was a solemn moment, as a flight carrying the body of Private First Class Tara Turnage arrived at Memphis International Airport.

"It's saddening because I wanted her to come through those gates and say something. This reception is a little different," LaQuita Darnell, Turnage's mom, said.

Six military members carried the fallen soldier's casket with an American Flag carefully placed on top.

It's the first time Turnage's family is seeing her after learning she died in an accident while training with the National Guard in Fort Irwin, California.

"It's just saddening. I get here and this is how I got to see her," Travis Coleman, Turnage's father, said.

Tara, A daughter, a mother, a sister, and a new fiance, was loved by so many.

"Her infectious smile always comes to mind. Her personality just keep her positive, I-can-do-anything attitude, and she always did it," Darnell said.

Now, one of Tara's sisters will follow in her footsteps, heading to the military after graduation.

"I tried to teach the girls honor and integrity and sometimes doing the right thing may not turn out the way you want it to, but still know that you've done it," Darnell said.

Darnell is proud of her daughter, an American hero, but said she doesn't want anyone to experience the pain she's feeling after losing child.

"I don't want any parent to have to go through this, and I know it's inevitable. This is a pain that no one else should have to feel," she said.

Funeral services for Turnage will be at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 24 at Awakening Christian Center in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

The military has not released the details of how she died, and the incident is still under investigation.

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