A Lifetime of Military Service to Arizona State Cowbelle President

This week we are pleased to continue our series featuring Arizona cattlewomen who have also served our country in the armed forces. Pam Turnbull, the president-elect of the Arizona State Cowbelles, served many years in the military and continues her serving ways with many other organizations in her community. We asked her a series of short questions so our readers could get to know her better.

2nd Lieutenant Pam Turnbull in her everyday uniform in 1985.


Arizona Beef Council (ABC): Tell us about yourself and your background in the military.
Pam Turnbull (PT): I am from Alamogordo, New Mexico, a small, patriotic town surrounded by agriculture and a strong military presence, with wide open spaces offering unusual adventure nearby. A short drive led to so many fun places, such as the White Sands to the west, mountain meadow picnics in the summer and tubing/skiing/sledding/ice skating in the winter to the east, our uncle’s ranch and cousin’s orchards north of town, and great hiking to the south.

Men in every generation of my family served in the military before I was born – from the Revolutionary War on to my father and grandfathers. One of my great uncles served with Pershing chasing Pancho Villa and in World War I, then with Patton in World War II. We also had a neighbor who survived the Bataan death march and was a prisoner of war. He and his wife really pushed me to go to college and seize the new opportunities for women in the US Air Force. I attended New Mexico State University, joined the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC), and received a B.S. in Ag Business Management.

In a tent with a Canadian Major and a US Army “customer” working on permanent offices, accommodations and munitions storage for NORAD and National Guard forces defending the National Capitol Region.

During 23 years of military service, I had great opportunities. I lived in or visited 21 countries, 43 states, 3 U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, plus, attended the Air Force Institute of Technology and received a Master of Science in Logistics Management.  In reflecting on my military career, the focus of my efforts was to create tools with technology, focusing on innovation and modernization.

Pictured in Washington, D.C., setting up military defenses post 9/11/2001.

The USA has been “at war” since 1989–fighting aggression, drugs, and thugs– and sending humanitarian aid all over the world.  One of the jobs where I knew I made a HUGE difference FAST was developing barcode, smart card, and RFID capabilities and installing global infrastructure (and mobile tools) for distribution management. My favorite job was making airplanes fly as leadership on flight lines with fighter, bomber, airlift, tanker and reconnaissance aircraft.  Providing aid and shelter in our homeland was also rewarding–air dropping feed to cattle and other livestock when floods or massive snow storms hit the Midwest and Northern states, hurricane recovery efforts and earthquake search and rescue missions, delivering supplies to snowbound mountain towns while downed power lines were rebuilt – to name a few.

ABC: How are you involved in the cattle community?
PT: My involvement in the cattle community these days is as a consumer, promoter, and the neighborhood “beef broker” (sharing pasture raised, soy-free beef from the Barnard’s at WhiteBarn Farms in Portal and butchered at the Willcox Meat Packing House). I also have a brother and cousin with cow-calf operations near Carrizozo and Mayhill, NM.  Plus, I am the President-Elect of Arizona State Cowbelles and Immediate Past-President of the Willcox Cowbelles.  I am also Beef Quality Assurance certified and a Master of Beef Advocacy 2.0 graduate.

Pam’s retirment photo in uniform.

ABC: What is the most important life lesson you learned from your service in the armed forces?

PT: Always be true to yourself and your own priorities.  Wherever the path leads, live each day with Personal Responsibility in your Daily Efforts (PRIDE)!

Pam adds, “To those who help feed the world, THANK YOU!”

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