Who is Dusty

Free Dusty Turner

A man who made it through the world’s hardest military training; a patient, intelligent, and articulate advocate for his fellow prisoners; a man who’s life circumstance should break him but yet still he works every day to improve the world in small ways. Read about Dusty below…


Who is Dusty Turner

Dusty was born Dustin Alan Turner to Linda & Arch Turner on February 7, 1975. From the very beginning he was a fast learner and achiever and he was nonstop from the time he took his first steps at age 8 ½ mos.  He was a happy child, growing up in the Midwest, in a loving family and home. 

Dusty’s parents divorced when he was a baby and at age 2 both were remarried.  He lived with his mother, his step father, Larry Summitt, and his 4 siblings; brother, Matthew, step sister, Heather and 2 half brothers, Jason & Tyler.  His father lived near and spent time with him also.  He was raised in the same house, where his mother lives today.  His grandparents, uncles, aunts, lots of cousins and extended family were a big part of his life. 

Growing up, Dusty had many friends and enjoyed an active life. He was a good student and took lots of extracurricular classes, including Spanish starting in 3rd grade.  In high school he became a cadet teacher and taught at the same elementary school that he attended; Clear Creek Elementary. 

He was involved in and enjoyed multiple sports, including cross country, baseball, basketball, football and swimming. Swimming is where he excelled.

His family attended a small Christian church, Clear Creek Christian Church, where Dusty became a Jr. Deacon and loved serving the congregation. He was also involved in scouts and absolutely loved all the aspects of scouting; from tying knots to camping, fishing, archery and learning many other practical skills. Later when his two younger brothers joined the scouts he helped with their unit, teaching the younger boys and helping them with their activities. He was and still is a good son, brother and family of our family. He is an active role model for not only his younger nieces, nephews and cousins but also for many of the younger inmates. To this day he lives a disciplined and purposeful life albeit under the most difficult circumstances

By the time Dusty was a junior in high school he had already made up his mind that he was going to join the Navy to become either a diver or a Navy SEAL. Several members of his family made the military their career. His father and stepfather both served in Vietnam, his uncles, Jack & Duane Baker were both paratroopers in the army. His great uncles and grandparents served in World War II and the Korean War. One uncle, Charles W Clark, was a Green Beret and died serving our country. Dusty’s older brother had already joined the Navy and was at that time serving in Hawaii.  He made the Navy his career serving in lots of capacities and on several ships. His ship was the first to be sent to remove the Taliban after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks. He also was a Rescue Swimmer and later a dive and rescue instructor.  Dusty’s family had a long tradition of service to our country and his intentions were to continue that tradition. 

Dusty’s basic training was conducted in Orlando, Florida. From there he went to “A” school in Pensacola, FL.  “A” school is a few weeks of specialized training for all Navy recruits and Dusty chose Photography. His drive and determination, throughout his younger years, paid off.  From there he applied for and was accepted into the very elite SEAL (SEA, AIR, and LAND) Program. At the age of 18 ½, he was one of the youngest to ever be accepted into this elite Navy program.   

— Linda Summitt—Dusty’s Mother

I am very proud of my son; as much today as I was when he was growing up. Our family continues to steadfastly support Dusty and maintain a belief that he will one day have his freedom restored.


Dusty graduated BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) Training on December 16, 1994. He travelled back to his home in Bloomington, Indiana for Christmas. He and most of the 18 other men he graduated with were then ordered to Columbus, GA to go through Army Airborne School. After a short leave following “jump school”, Dusty was given his first choice of which SEAL Team he wanted to be a part of: Team 4 in Virginia Beach, VA. On February 4, 1995, he officially checked in to his new duty station. It was 3 days before his 20th birthday, making Dusty the youngest SEAL Team member in the US Navy.

All new guys in the East Coast SEAL Teams must go through SEAL Tactical Training (S.T.T.) concurrently with a six-month probationary period before they don their Trident pin and become official SEALs. Prior to starting S.T.T., Dusty was ordered to Fort AP Hill in Bowling Green, VA to help facilitate the S.T.T. class already in session. Trained as a Combat Photographer he was also tasked with taking photos of various aspects of the training as well as aerial photos from helicopters.

Around April of 1995, Dusty and his S.T.T. class went to Puerto Rico for a month of advanced dive training. After returning to the states he resumed advanced small arms, demolition and field training at Fort AP Hill.

Additionally, Dusty was assigned to Echo Platoon, one of a dozen platoons that comprise SEAL Team 4. As Team 4 operates in Central and South America, Echo Platoon was gearing up for what would be Dusty’s first deployment to Panama in August of 1995. In his off time he was getting extra qualifications so as to be a greater asset to his platoon.

Dusty was proud to have made it through arguably the toughest military training in the world and he was excited about his future with the SEALs. He had a few years of formal Spanish, as well as further learning in both Mexico and Puerto Rico, and he couldn’t wait for his first deployment to Panama. He planned to try out for SEAL Team 6 after his second deployment, but that would be another year later.

Dusty and his swim-buddy, Billy Brown, had trained together for nearly one and a half years. As fate would have it, shortly after Dusty was injured during BUD/S training Billy was injured as well. They spent a couple of months together in rehab before rejoining and later graduating in Class 196. They went to jump school together, were both assigned to Team 4, and even put in the same platoon. That fate of having Billy Brown as his assigned swim buddy was the disaster that has led to much heartache and sorrow.

–Dusty Turner–

Find out more

If you would like to be involved or find out more about how you can help Free Dusty please do email us at freedustynetwork@gmail.com