USS Turner Joy (DD-951), 1959-1991
USS Turner Joy, a 2850-ton Forrest Sherman/Hull class destroyer, was built at Seattle, Washington. After commissioning in August 1959 she cruised down the Pacific coast to visit South America. In May of the next year the destroyer steamed across the Pacific to begin the first of a dozen deployments to Asian waters. Her return to the U.S. in November 1960 was followed by a year and a half of duty in the eastern Pacific, then another Seventh Fleet tour during the last half of 1962. Turner Joy's third Western Pacific cruise, between March and October 1964, was historic. While serving with the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga on 2 August she was sent to reinforce the destroyer Maddox after the latter was attacked by North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats. Two days later, on the night of 4 August, the two ships believed they were again under attack and took vigorous countermeasures. This Gulf of Tonkin Incident was an important preliminary to the United States' long and painful combat experience in Southeast Asia.
Turner Joy's next six Seventh Fleet deployments, in 1965-66, 1966-67, 1968, 1969-70, 1971 and 1972-73, included intense involvement in the Vietnam conflict. In addition to screening carriers in nearby waters and undertaking patrol duties, she actively used her guns to support Allied forces ashore. One such mission, in October 1965, ended in tragedy when a shell accidently detonated in one of her five-inch gun mounts, killing three of her crew. During another bombardment, off North Vietnam on 7 April 1967, Turner Joy was hit by return fire, but was not seriously damaged. Following the January 1973 agreement that temporarily ended the fighting, the destroyer took part in Operation "Endsweep", the clearance of U.S. mines from North Vietnamese waters.
During the next decade Turner Joy went to the Western Pacific three more times, in 1974, 1975-76 and 1980. The '75-76 deployment carried her to the Arabian Sea, an area that in future years would become an increasingly important destination for U.S. Navy ships. While there, she took part in an exercise with the British, Iranian and Pakistani navies. In November 1982, as the Navy was in the process of taking all the ships of her class out of service, USS Turner Joy was decommissioned. She spent over seven years in the Pacific Reserve Fleet before being stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in February 1990. However, in April 1991 she embarked on a new career as a museum and memorial ship. Ever since, Turner Joy has been on exhibit at the city of Bremerton, Washington, as an enduring representative of the Cold War Navy.
USS Turner Joy was named in honor of Admiral Charles Turner Joy (1895-1956), whose long career included command of U.S. Naval forces in the Far East during the first two years of the Korean War.