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Mid-South Soldier Killed In Training Accident In California

MEMPHIS,Tenn (localmemphis.com) - A National Guard soldier from Memphis was killed in an accident shortly after shipping off to California for training.


LaQuita Darnell told Local 24 she learned of her daughter's death Monday when National Guard members came to her home.


"The knocked on my door," she said. "It's your worst fear, losing a child."


Darnell said the The National Guard Members stayed with her offering support.


"I'm still processing this," she said Wednesday.


Darnell shared with Local 24 the moment her daughter told her she was enlisting in the The National Guard.


"She did it because she just wanted me to be proud of her," she said. "But I was already proud of her. She just wanted to do something to completion."


The Tennessee National Guard said Private First -Class Tara Turnage died Monday morning in an accident at the National Training Center (NTC) in Fort Irwin, California.


"The NTC is a harsh and unforgiving desert environment and is the most advanced training area in the world," Maj. Gen. Max Haston said. "As a veteran of several NTC rotations and having experienced combat-the NTC is harder.  This soldier was doing her job in this harsh environment and had an accident.  We mourn her loss and her absence will be felt throughout the Tennessee National Guard. I pray for her immediate family and her Guard family as we all hurt."


Details of the accident are not being released as it is still under investigation."


"What happened doesn't really matter," said Darnell. "Knowing what happened won't bring her back."


Turnage's family, who are from Holly Springs, Mississippi, said they are still processing the lose leaning on each for support.


"We were always together," said Tara's best friend, Barbara Barksdale. "When I look at her daughter I see Tara and that has been a huge help. When I found out about her death I came over here and Ni Kyiah came up to me. She rubbed my back, she patted my face and she wiped my tears. That's when I knew then that it was Tara, like this is my form of Tara. This is the only way that I'm going to be able to move on."


Family and friends all agreed that Tara loved being in the National Guard and was proud to serve her country.


"She was an all-around good person," said Darnell. "She had that 'can do attitude.' Whether shed done it before or not, she could in vision it and do it."


The National Guard told Tara's family it soon will ship Turnage's body back to the Mid-South, adding the military would cover all Turnage's funeral services.

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