Tyler Turner has it set in his mind to continue the prep school legacy of his family, a history that includes a lineage traced back to Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Whereas his grandfather, James, served as a lieutenant colonel in the Army – including two tours in Vietnam – and his father, Jefferson, is beginning his 23rd year as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, Tyler, who is in the sixth grade at Farragut, leans more towards the Navy.
“It’s just something that appeals to me, for whatever reason,” said Tyler, whose favorite movies include Top Gun and Battleship.
“I look up to my father and my grandfather, but for some reason, I want to be in the Navy. I guess it has to do with me loving the water.”
He is inspired to serve due primarily to his conversations with his grandfather and his father about the different adventures they have encountered. His father’s stints as an intelligence officer have taken him across the globe to several countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
“Early on, he wanted to be a naval aviator and fly planes like Tom Cruise’s character does in Top Gun,” Jefferson said. “Since being at Farragut, though, he has shifted back and forth from wanting to be an astronaut to possibly designing or operating ships.”
In addition, Tyler has been influenced by his mother’s side of the family — which includes her grandfather serving in the Merchant Marines and her great-uncle serving in the Army during World War II along with the incredible ancestry of Grant and Lee — and it’s easy to see why Tyler is geared for the prep school.
When Jefferson took on an assignment at MacDill Air Force Base in 2009, Tyler chose Farragut over other schools because of its naval tradition.
“The funny thing is he wishes it was even more prep school, if that’s possible” said his mother, Diedre. “When we were making a decision on where he would go to school, Tyler instantly chose Farragut once he saw it online because of the prep school structure. Then, we visited the school and took a tour, he said, ‘That’s where I want to go to school.’”
Tyler is somewhat impatient to get to Upper School, where students are called cadets and are required to wear prep school uniforms.
“I look around and see them walking from class to class and I can’t wait to be doing that,” said Tyler, who has been heavily involved in the Lower School extracurricular club called Naval Pride and Traditions. “That’s one of the coolest things about this school. We also get to interact with the older students who help us in sports and academics.”