TOPEKA (KSNT) – Veteran Joe Turner enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1953. He describes himself as a country boy to the core and wanted a chance at a better life.

“I came from a very poor part of the country in Oklahoma,” Turner said. “I would have never been able to go to school, and I would have never been able to travel around like that.”

Turner served four years in the Marines and served tours in Korea and Japan.

“I didn’t get in no battles, I got to Korea in 1954, which the battles were over in ’53 and I’m glad,” Turner recalled.

Instead, he used his skills to fix F-9 and F-5 airplanes.

“All I got to do was clean up the mess,” Turner said. “Lot of times when these planes would get shot…since I was an electrician, it’d be big wire bundles inside these planes and the bullets would go through the wire bundles and I’d have to go in and splice ’em all back up.”

His service was crucial in getting planes back up and running but is as humble as they come when it comes to talking about his sacrifice to our country.

“As I always say, I figure I owe the service more than they owe me,” Turner said.

And for those thinking about enlisting, he says the biggest lessons aren’t always taught on the battlefield and would do it all over if he had the chance.

“Whether you go into battle or not, I think it teaches you a lot about life,” Turner said. “I do not regret it one minute and I would certainly do it again.”

These days, Joe keeps busy working as a tour guide at the Combat Air Museum in Topeka; he loves meeting people from all over the world and sharing stories.