When we arrived in Seattle I was idly reading the 'What to See in Seattle' pamphlets in the hotel lobby when I came across a pamphlet for the U.S.S. Turner Joy which is now a museum ship in Bremerton. I was shocked and amazed to learn that this historic ship is still afloat and hadn't been scrapped and turned into Toyota fenders years ago. For those not up on their history, the Turner Joy and the U.S.S. Maddox were two destroyers involved in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 which paved the way to our full-on participation in the Vietnam war.
The Turner Joy is a Sherman class destroyer and the last of the all gun ships of her type. Modern destroyers have one 5" gun plus missles. Because of the 5" guns that her class was armed with, the Turner Joy and other destoyers (Fletcher class of WW2 vintage) provided fire support for our forces ashore. The Turner Joy fired the last naval round of the war in 1973 prior to the cease fire. I had a plastic model of the U.S.S. Sherman as a kid and was very familiar with the Sherman class destroyers and the unique bubble topped 5" gun turrets - well, familiar as only a 10 year old assembling plastic models can be!
The ship is in great shape and just about everything except the engineering spaces are open to visitors. There are plenty of steep ladders to go up and down so this is a ship for the fit and agile! I spent about an hour and a half seeing it.
|Driving into Bremerton, mothballed aircraft carriers are visible from the public road. The only one that we could see a name on was the Kittyhawk launched in 1956 and laid up in 2009. Soon to be a reef or razor blades.|
|The Grouch and the Turner Joy in the background|
|The bow 5/54" rapid fire gun.|
|The auto loading mechanism for the 5" guns.|
|The captain's cabin when in port. Heavy responsibility brings some benefits! I was interested to see that the commander of the ship is an O5, equivalent to an Army LTC who would be a battalion commander.|
|The Executive Officer's cabin. a step down but better than the enlisted accommodations!|
|This is one reason that my corporal father told me that it is better to be an officer than an enlisted man. Yikes! My complete and total admiration for those who lived like this for months at a time.|
|The CIC or combat information center|
|View from aft showing the two stern mounted 5" guns. All three of the guns were used heavily in fire support missions on multiple tours to Vietnam|
|The Old Man's chair when he was on the bridge|
|The bridge and the helmsman's station|
|The Turner Joy looking very ship-shape!|