First Black Professor at Arkansas State
One of the First Two Black Graduates of Arkansas State
Frederick C. Turner, Jr., from North Little Rock, Arkansas, graduated Salutatorian from Booker Washington High School in 1955. In 1960 he was one of the first two black graduates of Arkansas State, receiving a BS in Education and a commission in the Infantry. Colonel Turner served three combat tours in Vietnam where he commanded a detachment of Armed Door Gunners and a company in the 27th Infantry (Wolfhounds) Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division, and served as a Senior Advisor to South Vietnamese Regional and Popular Forces. During this time he received the Combat Infantry Badge and was twice awarded the Bronze Star Medal. In July 1969, at the specific request of Dr. Carl R. Reng, President of Arkansas State University, he returned to ASU as an Assistant Professor of Military Science and thus the university's first black faculty member. He went on to serve as the Commander of U.S. Army Forces at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), in Belgium, and then as a member of the Faculty and Staff of the Command and General Staff College at Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1982 Colonel Turner retired from military service and moved to Austin, Texas, where he became manager for the Texas Employment Commission's Project RIO, a special program for Re-Integration of Offenders.