General Turnipseed entered the USAF as an Airman Basic in May 1951 and began his aviation training in Class 52G as an Aviation Cadet at Goodfellow AFB, Texas. After completing his basic flying training, he was assigned to Advanced Training at Laredo AFB, Texas. At completion in October 1952, he was commissioned 2nd Lt, and was sent to Moody AFB, Georgia and to Tyndall AFB, Florida for more training and then to Air Defense Command flying the F-94C. He was then assigned to SAC at Bergstrom AFB, Austin, Texas and flew the F-84G and the F-84F for three years.
He was released from active duty and became a member of the Alabama Air National Guard in January 1956 as a reconnaissance pilot with the 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 106 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. During his Guard service he served as Flight Commander, Squadron Operations Officer, Operations Staff Officer, Flight Safety Officer, Squadron Operations Officer, Deputy Commander for Operations, and Group Commander. In June 1961 he began full time work with the Guard.
In October 1961 the Alabama Air Nation Guard was called to active duty for one year due to the Berlin Crisis. The deployment operation was called "Operation Stairstep" and the aircraft and personnel were deployed from Birmingham, Alabama to Dreux, France.
General Turnipseed has logged over 5450 flying hours and has flown the following aircraft: AT-6G, T-28, T-33, F-94C, RF-80, RF-84, RF-4C, and F-4D. He was promoted to Brigadier General in June 1984 and reassigned from the 187 Fighter Group to HQ, Alabama Air National Guard as Assistant Adjutant General for Air. He retired from Alabama Air National Guard and was transferred to the Retired Reserves in March 1987.
Some of his awards include Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.