BREMERTON— After nearly a month in dry dock getting its hull scraped, sandblasted, repaired and repainted, the USS Turner Joy came home Feb. 28.
The Vietnam War-era destroyer and museum ship moored at her homeport of Bremerton shortly after noon. While eight-year-old Johnny Rhine and about 25 well-wishers and volunteers looked on, two Western Towboat tugs gracefully eased the Turner Joy back into her moorage at the north end of the Bremerton Marina.
Mooring the ship was a ballet of precision — and sometimes a matter of only inches — as the tug captains’ responded to requests from the crew of Sea Horse crane barge who were attempting to bolt the steel harness plate on the dock to the Turner Joy’s starboard side.
Starting March 4, the museum ship will be open for tours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The destroyer had been in Seattle at Lake Union Dry Dock since Feb. 3 undergoing preservation measures, according to John Hanson, president of the Bremerton Historic Ships Association, which owns the ship.
Once she is fully anchored, the Turner Joy will resume its second function: serving as the marina’s north breakwater.
In order for that to happen, it was first necessary to remove the Turner Joy’s stand-in for the past month, a 299-foot-long-by-90-foot-wide barge. Alaska Marine Lines donated the use of the barge, which was towed to Seattle Feb. 27.
“I’m glad it’s coming back to Bremerton,” one Turner Joy well-wisher said.
“Now, that’s what a destroyer ought to look like,” said one old tin can sailor who had served on a sister ship to the Turner Joy.
Even the sun seemed to admire the ship, coming out to shine on the old destroyer’s sparkling new paint job.
Cleaning and repainting the hull is done once every 15 years and the project was projected to cost $800,000. The final price was slightly more. (See “Turner Joy seeks public’s help with unanticipated repair cost” at www.kitsapdailynews.com).
A Go Fund Me account has been established to raise funds for the additional costs for underwater hull repairs. For more information or to donate to the fund, contact the Bremerton Historic Ships Association, 300 Washington Ave. #8, Bremerton, WA 98337, call 360-792-2457 or go to www.ussturnerjoy.org