2013 Lone Sailor honorees: GM CEO, former Marine commandant, media mogul Turner


The Navy Memorial’s trio of 2013 Lone Sailor awardees have worn the uniforms of the Navy, the Marines, the Coast Guard … and even the Atlanta Braves.

Dan Akerson (AP photo)

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson (Naval Academy Class of 1970), retired Marine Corps Gen. P.X. Kelley and Ted Turner, who served in the Coast Guard briefly before creating a media empire, will be honored by the organization at a Sept. 18 dinner in Washington, D.C. The award goes to “sea service veterans who have excelled with distinction in their respective civilian careers while exemplifying the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment,” according to the release announcing the 2013 honorees.

Akerson took over General Motors in 2010 and has led the U.S. automaker through its post-bankruptcy rebound. Kelley, who retired as Marine Corps commandant in 1987, was instrumental in the construction of national memorials to veterans of World War II and the Korean War, and has served on more than 20 corporate boards, according to the Navy Memorial release.

Marine Gen. P.X. Kelley (Marine Corps photo)

Turner’s time in uniform didn’t quite match Kelley’s 37-year career or even Akerson’s post-academy stint (1970-75). The CNN founder served briefly in the Coast Guard while on a break from his college years at Brown — years that ended in 1960 without a degree and, reportedly, some fire damage.

After college, the former Coastie (photo evidence here) went on to transform his late father’s advertising business into a communications juggernaut. He even bought the Atlanta Braves in 1976, according to this massive career timeline; a year later, he donned a Braves’ uniform and guided his team to a loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates before Major League Baseball leadership booted him from the dugout.

Ted Turner (AP photo)

Turner is listed among famous Coast Guardsmen on the service’s frequently-asked-questions page, joining previous Lone Sailor/Coastie honorees Arnold Palmer and Lloyd, Jeff and Beau Bridges. Other Lone Sailor awardees include multiple presidents, actor Bill Cosby, baseball legend Stan Musial, football legend Roger Staubach and many, many more.

Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will receive the organization’s Naval Heritage Award at the dinner, an honor that’s gone to President Reagan, Bob Hope and John Wayne, among others.


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