• Sycuan Honors Gold Star Family a Santee Street Fair

  • On Saturday, May 28th, Sycuan honored the family of fallen hero, Sgt. Dustin L. Turpen.

    Sgt. Dustin L. Turpen served as an infantryman in the US Marines. During his 7 years of service he completed 3 combat deployments to Iraq with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, Lima Company, out of Camp Pendleton, CA and served as a Combat Instructor at The Basic School of Infantry out of Quantico, VA. He was meritoriously promoted twice and was awarded 2 Purple Hearts, the Combat Action ribbon with V device for valor, 2 Navy Unit Commendations, Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Good Conduct medal with 2 star devices, the National Defense medal, Iraq Campaign medal with 2 stars, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal, and Sea Service Deployment ribbon with 3 star devices, as well as having earned his jump wings.

    Kellee and Dustin met shortly after he returned from his first deployment in Fallujah, Iraq after completing Operation Phantom Fury. Kellee fell in love with his kind heart, wicked sense of humor and determination to enjoy every moment of life that he could. He experienced life to the fullest and he always took the people around him along on his adventures. They married July 16, 2005, just before his second deployment to the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. While there he made the decision to extend his contract because he knew that they would be turning around and redeploying almost right away when they got home. He didn't want to leave his junior Marines without an experienced leader. That's the type of man and Marine he was. Dependable, someone that could be relied on, the type of man that would help without being asked. 
    Alex was born 5 months before Dustin's death and you would never have seen a more devoted father. Dustin's love for Alex was clear in every moment they were able to spend together. Sgt Dustin Turpen died in the line of duty on January 31, 2009.