USS Turner Joy

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Deaths of military personnel can cause spirits to want to continue to serve.




The USS Turner Joy DDD51 is a Forrest Sherman Destroyer, the last destroyer made in this series, which is now being used as a stationary, memorial museum. It is described as being an “active and Educational facility” that “honors not only the men and women of our modern US Navy, but also recognizes the accomplishments of those who help build and maintain the Navy’s ships as well.”

It is 418.3 feet long, has a beam (width) of 45.3 feet, a draft of 22 feet, and a propulsion system of four 1200 lb. boilers, two steam turbines, and two shafts, allowing it to speed along at 32+ knots. For battle situations, it had three 5-inch/54 caliber guns and two Mark 32 torpedo launchers carrying six Mark 46 torpedoes each. Its displacement is 2,800 tons, approximately 4,000 tons fully loaded.

The living quarters and mess hall facilities took care of 17 officers, and 275 enlisted men. There was also a hospital/sick bay on board, a dentist, a store, and other services needed to meet the needs of all the people serving aboard.

The USS Turner Joy DDD51 looks very much like it did during its early years of active duty in Vietnam from 1960-1973.

Visitors can go on a guided tour with a volunteer docent, and experience a true step back in time. Also on display are items related to life on board, military tools and armament, and a history of many encounters of naval ships in the 20th century.

Besides being a memorial ship museum, it has served other, more educational and functional uses while being made available to the public at large. Groups like the Boy Scouts, and the Girl Scouts have spent nights here as well, under the museum’s Over-Nighter Program.

People can also rent the ship for events, memorials and meetings, which help support its upkeep.



Built by The Puget Sound Bridge & Dredging Company, in Seattle, The USS Turner Joy DDD51 was launched as a Naval destroyer on May 12,1958, and was commissioned in 1959. It was named for war hero Admiral Charles Turner Joy, who died in 1956.

The USS Turner Joy DDD51 gained notoriety as one of two naval ships that was targeted by the North Vietnamese. In 1964, in the Gulf of Tonkin, The USS Turner Joy and The USS Madison had a brief battle with a North Vietnam torpedo boat. The incident inspired our deeper involvement in the Vietnam conflict.

The sub was on active duty from 1960-1982, spending much of its time off the coast of Vietnam, providing cover fire for American troops fighting on the ground, during The Vietnam War. It also patrolled along the coast of North Vietnam to “interdict enemy waterborne logistics traffic,” andreceived 9 battle stars for honorable service in Vietnam.

After the treaty ending the Vietnam War, The USS Turner Joy was assigned peacetime deployment. By 1976, this old war horse was a bit of a fixer-upper, having issues with its Operational Propulsion System, due to two delays in a scheduled overhaul. Its long years of active service had taken their toll on it. Because of this problem, she was unable to pass her Operational Propulsion Plant Examination. Uh oh! She spent the rest of 1976 in port being repaired.

In 1982, all Forrest Sherman class Destroyers were decommissioned from active Naval duty. While some were upgraded and transformed into more modern destroyers, it wasn’t to be for The USS Turner Joy. In 1990, it was discharged completely from Navy records as an official naval ship and converted to civilian use. It was given to Bremerton Historic Ships Association on April 10, 1991.

The Bremerton Historic Ships Association was formed in 1988, perhaps in anticipation of being given this grand old Forrest Sherman Destroyer. As a non-profit organization with the goals of acquiring vessels, presenting programs and activities for “educational, historic, and memorial purposes.” The USS Turner Joy has been restored to accurately portray what life aboard it was like during her most active years between 1960 and 1982.



Sudden deaths of military personnel from illness, accidents, tragedies, and crashes that whipped them out of their bodies can cause the soldiers’ spirits to want to continue to serve in their field position, or aboard their plane or ship in the afterlife.

While a few sailors were wounded from enemy fire on occasion, none were killed this way. Accidents and illnesses, however, did occur aboard The USS Turner Joy, resulting in sailors losing their lives while serving on this destroyer.

One known accident took place in 1965, during a battle support episode off the coast of South Vietnam. The number one Gun Mount 53 had a terrible incident while being used to provide gun shell support for troops on the mainland.

The gun barrel overheated, causing a 70-lb shell to jam and explode, blowing back and killing three sailors and injuring three others. The three bodies were kept in a refrigerator until they could be transported out.



It is thought that one to three male entities, or perhaps more, remain on board. Personal experiences have also been reported by staff, visitors and paranormal investigators.

Male Spirits Who Appear

Apparitions have been seen by visitors and staff, in various parts of this ship museum.

The Entity of a male seaman – Seems to like women.

Right by the lockers in the enlisted men’s sleeping quarters, a male face has been known to appear in a mirror, startling some female staff members, who run up the stairs in a fright.

Unseen Spirits

Unseen presences have been felt, and noticed by people all over the ship.

Ghost Hunter, author, and founder of Pacific Northwest Paranormal Research Center in Seattle, Ross Allison, experienced a male voice calling out to him in a darkened area of the USS Turner Joy.

During an AGHOST investigation, an investigator, Michelle, felt an unseen presence following her throughout the ship.

Unexplained cold spots have been felt in the aft Gun Turret and the engine room.

Cold spots, with accompanying chills and hair standing up on end have all been experienced by visitors in the berthing area, near the visitors’ entrance.

When looking into the refrigerator that held the three bodies of the sailors killed by the exploding shell, the investigators found that their fully charged camera batteries were suddenly completely drained, which could’ve been a sign of spirits looking for energy to manifest.


Yes Indeed! At least one to three or more male entities are still on board, perhaps being the casualties of accidents, illnesses, or tragedies. Personal experiences have been reported, and hard evidence has been captured by several groups of paranormal investigators.

In fact, the spirits who stay and visit The USS Turner Joy have been put to work, entertaining aspiring ghost hunters who sign up for the Seattle Ghost Tours. The spirits feel less alone and lonesome, and perhaps want to help the living make more money to support the museum, a place that they can’t quite leave behind.


Personal experiences have been reported, ever since The USS Turner Joy became a memorial ship museum.

A lot of hard evidence has been captured by experienced, paranormal investigators.

Ross Allison of the Pacific Northwest Paranormal Research Center and his team were able to capture some “amazing EVPs from the departed crew themselves.”

August 4th, 2012, AGHOST – Advanced Ghost Hunters Of Seattle Tacoma – investigated and captured some intelligent EVPs, combined with flashlight communications in a conversation from a male spirit they first encountered in the enlisted men’s bunk area.

Through an EVP conversation, this male spirit admitted to following the paranormal investigator, Michelle, around the destroyer.

The Washington State Paranormal Society, or W.A.P.S, conducted a 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. investigation, during which investigators believe they found evidence of paranormal activity in the museum.

As a way to raise funds for the ship’s upkeep, the Bremerton Historic Ships Association has authorized monthly ghost hunts that are led by real paranormal investigators: Spooked In Seattle Ghost Tours. This opportunity is offered on the first Saturday of the month, May through December. Space is limited to 25 guests per ghost hunt. Price is 30 dollars per-person.

People who sign up for the ghost hunt can see beforehand what hard evidence has already been captured on board.

This two hour event runs from 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm.



300 Washington Avenue
Bremerton, WA 98377

The USS Turner Joy DDD51 Memorial Ship Museum can be found in its home port of Bremerton, Washington, along the Bremerton boardwalk, at “Bremerton Harborside.” The ship museum is within an easy walk of the Seattle Ferry Terminal and the Harborside Convention Center. It is also near the new Naval Museum, hotels and restaurants, having been built to be part of the Bremerton Harborside complex.


  • “Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Seattle and Puget Sound”
    by Jeff Dwyer
  • The USS Turner Joy website
  • The USS Turner Joy website history page
  • “Turner Joy is One Spooky Ship, Paranormal Investigators Say” [Bad Link]
    by Mandy Simpson
    for Kitsap Sun
  • “Tour – U.S.S. Turner Joy (Bremerton, WA) – The Ship” – YouTube Video
  • Washington State Paranormal Society, or W.A.P.S
  • 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. examination, during which investigators believed they found evidence of paranormal activity on the museum, Anders said.
  • “Feeling Paranormal” (AGHOST) – YouTube Video
  • In this second installment of Feeling Paranormal we follow the members of AGHOST (Advanced Ghost Hunters Of Seattle Tacoma) as they investigate the USS Turner Joy in Bremerton, WA.

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Washington