USS Turner DD-834 (1945-1969)
The USS Turner (DD-834) was the third ship named after Captain Daniel Turner, former commander of USS Constitution. She was a 2,400 ton Gearing class destroyer built at Bath, Maine, and commissioned June 12, 1945.
Action in the Far East
Following commissioning, the Turner sailed to Boston to undergo conversion to a destroyer picket ship. While she was on shakedown off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Japan surrendered. She returned to Boston in late August and spent September training off the East Coast and in the Caribbean. She departed for Hawaii on October 8, arriving November 28. On December 10 she steamed to Japan.
The Turner operated with elements of the 5th Fleet until departing for Hawaii March 24, 1946. She acted as flagship of Destroyer Squadron 5 for the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in June and July. Returning to San Diego on August 13 she participated in exercises until August 1947. Later that month she set sail for Tsingtao, China, arriving September 20. After visiting several Chinese ports, the Turner pulled into San Diego May 5, 1948. She operated out of California ports for most of the next year. In March 1949 the ship was reclassified a radar picket destroyer. Transferred to the Atlantic, she arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, in late April.
Service in the Caribbean and Mediterranean
The 1950's saw the ship conducting training cruises, participating in exercises and deploying frequently to the 6th Fleet. She was a picket ship during the Lebanon crisis in 1958. Turner changed homeports to Mayport, Florida, in 1959. During 1960 the ship underwent FRAM overhaul at New York. At Charleston the next year a new sonar system was installed. She joined Task Force 140 for the Project Mercury space shots and was on station in the Caribbean to support Gemini II.
From May 8 through 25 she supported the American presence in the Dominican Republic. Again, in 1966, she sailed in support of the space program, patrolling a backup landing site for Apollo in the Southern Atlantic. The Turner assisted a disabled motor boat while in the Caribbean in 1967. On her fourteenth Mediterranean cruise in 1968, she directed the failed attempt to find the missing Israeli submarine Dakar. In October of that year she rescued two survivors of a downed aircraft.
The Turner returned from her last Mediterranean deployment in early 1969. She was decommissioned at Mayport on September 26 and her name was stricken from the Naval Register the same day. In October 1970 she was sold for scrapping.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.