The USS Turner was a Gearing-class destroyer in the service of the U.S. Navy between June 1945 and September 1969. She was named in honor of Captain Daniel Turner, who served during the War of 1812, in actions against Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean and Caribbean and in the Pacific until his death at age 56 in 1850.
Turner was a product of the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. Her keel was laid in November 1944 and the completed vessel was commissioned in June 1945.
Based on the previous Fletcher and Sumner-class designs, Turner was over 390 feet from stem to stern and just under 41 feet in width amidships. Two Westinghouse geared steam turbines fed by four Babcock and Wilcox boilers propelled the vessel at speeds of up to 35 knots (about 40 miles per hour). Displacing over 3500 tons, Turner carried a crew compliment of 336 seamen and officers.
During Turner's shakedown trials in the Caribbean, World War II ended with the capitulation of the Japanese Empire. In December 1945, the vessel was ordered to Japan to support the postwar occupation.
During the summer of 1946, Turner's crew took part in Operaration Crossroads, the atomic bomb tests on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. Following this, the vessel returned to her home port in San Diego, carrying out anti-submarine warfare exercises for the next few years except for a deployment to the Far East between September 1947 and May 1948.
Turner was reclassified as a radar picket destroyer (DDR) in 1949 and reassigned to Newport, Rhode Island. Over the next ten years, the destroyer was deployed to the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet eight times.
In 1959, Turner was transferred to Mayport, Florida. During 1960, Turner underwent her Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization (FRAM I) overhaul at the New York Naval Shipyard, during which radar and sonar technology was upgraded. The following year, Turner's sonar was replaced at the Charleston Naval Shipyard. Throughout the decade, she alternated Mediterranean and Caribbean deployments with routine patrols and exercises in the Atlantic. Turner was also involved in the space program, supporting the Gemini II mission and the initial test flight for Project Apollo.
USS Turner was decommissioned in September 1969. The decommissioned vessel's hulk was sold to Southern Scrap Metal Ltd. of New Orleans, Louisiana in October 1970.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Turner (DD-834)
The Navy deployed asbestos extensively up until around 1979 as insulation and to fireproof compartments aboard all its ships, exposing crew and dockyard workers to a greater risk of developing mesothelioma. Essentially every compartment aboard Turner had at least some contamination from products containing asbestos.
The engine and boiler compartments aboard Turner used the most asbestos, as insulation for pipes and to fireproof steam boilers and components of the ship's power plant. Turner crew maintaining engines and turbines were exposed to higher levels of asbestos, as were crewmen serving in fire suppression crews.
When inhaled, asbestos dust can become stuck in the respiratory tract and eventually result in pleural mesothelioma. Exposure to asbestos fibers is believed to cause several dangerous or deadly syndromes in addition to mesothelioma, including lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening, and pleural plaques. Means of legal recourse exist for veterans who have been diagnosed with ailments caused by asbestos.Sources
Destroyer History Foundation. "Gearing Class"
Mooney, James. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. (Washington DC; Department of the Navy, 1991).