Skip to main content

Air Force veteran named to Tillman Military Scholar cohort

June 03, 2013

Jason Turner, a United States Air Force veteran, has been selected as a Tillman Military Scholar for the 2013-2014 academic year. A native of North Hampton, N.H., Turner is working to complete a master’s degree through the School of Social Work at Arizona State University.

In 2008, the Pat Tillman Foundation established the Tillman Military Scholars program to support educational opportunities for service members and military families by bridging the financial gaps left by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. As a result, Tillman Military Scholars receive financial support to not only cover traditional study-related expenses such as tuition and books, but also other needs, including (but not limited to) housing, transportation and childcare.

Turner initially decided to join the military to acquire the discipline and direction that he lacked as a teenager. He had high hopes that the Air Force would also equip him with desirable career opportunities.  

His career began in security forces where he worked in the missile field as an alarm response team member. After a brief stint as an armorer, Turner switched his career sights toward joining the K-9 unit. He later became a full-time dog trainer and helped run the kennels. He conducted training for both explosive and narcotic detector dogs, and was even deployed in support of Secret Service missions with his explosive detector dog.

“I learned about sacrifice and service to others. One of the most valuable lessons was the importance of integrity and honor. I also learned the value of perseverance, determination and the efficacy of commitment,” he said.

Turner made the decision to leave the service so he could pursue his education. He heard about the Tillman Scholars program while interning at the Veterans Court in Tucson. He received a call from the Tillman Foundation with the news of his acceptance while in a meeting.

“I have to admit that I kind of freaked out. I was extremely excited. I really wanted to be a part of this amazing community. I felt a sense of pride in being announced as a member of the Tillman Scholar class,” he said.

Next semester Turner will put his social work studies to work as an intern for the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. He is hoping to learn more about posttraumatic stress and other issues impacting the veteran populations.

“My goal is to work at the VA, become a member of the guard as a social worker focusing on substance abuse and trauma treatment. I also plan to open an outpatient clinic geared towards substance abuse and trauma treatment assisting veterans,” he said.