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All-Army women’s basketball player lives disaster, court readiness

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By SUSAN MERKNER

Army Spc. Juliette Turner enjoys taking a slightly unconventional route while helping people. Currently assigned to National Guard Battery A, 4th BN (HIMARS), 133D Field Artillery, out of San Marcos, Texas, Turner was one of the few women who trained in artillery, she said. She also plays for the U.S. All-Army Women’s Basketball team and participated in the Armed Forces Basketball tournament Nov. 1-7 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Readiness is a concept she embraces.

“Getting ready to play basketball is fairly easy,” Turner said. “Basketball allows me to focus — it’s a mental exercise that makes me more disciplined because it’s very technical.”

When the tournament ended, Army Women placed second, behind Navy, and Army Men repeated as the event’s champions.

The Army recruits Soldiers from where they are stationed or deployed to participate in a program which highlights their sports talents. The All-Army Sports program, hosted by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, brought Turner to training camp in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, and selected her to represent Army at the tournament.

Turner played high school basketball from 2005 to 2008 and at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland, from 2008-2012. She played for the All-Army team in 2015 and again this year. “My first year I was stationed at Camp Casey, South Korea. This season I am serving in the National Guard in San Marcos, Texas,” she said.

When Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf coast in late August, her leaders “asked for volunteers, and I raised my hand,” she said. Turner assisted Special Forces teams handling swift-water rescues in Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur. She also distributed food and water to displaced residents.

“It was a lot of late nights, early mornings,” Turner said, about her disaster assistance experience. “But it was rewarding to feel needed. It’s great when people thank you and are so appreciative. It’s a humbling experience.”

A native of the Washington, DC, area, Turner said she enjoys the family-like atmosphere on her basketball team as well as within the Army generally.

Turner’s future plans include going overseas, and she dreams of playing
professional women’s basketball in the WNBA.