By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Justin A. Johndro, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. – Chief Petty Officers (CPO) and CPO selects stationed in the Pacific Northwest paid homage to a piece of naval history while giving back to their local area during a community relations project aboard the museum ship USS Turner Joy, Aug. 25-30.
Chief selects spent the days providing upkeep and maintenance to the Vietnam War-era ship to preserve the ship’s condition.
“Any time we get a chance to volunteer and help out in the community [it] really makes a difference, and it helps build a positive relationship with our community,” said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist (SS) Kingsley Van Duzer, Legacy Academy Director.
Turner Joy was decommissioned in November 1982, but was selected as a U.S. Navy memorial in November 1988. The last Forrest Sherman-class destroyer, now moored in Bremerton, has kept the same look and feel since her launching May 5, 1958, through the work of the ship’s staff and volunteers.
The CPO selects, Sailors undergoing Phase II of CPO 365, boarded Turner Joy Aug. 25 to participate in the Pacific Northwest 2nd Annual CPO Legacy Academy to spend a week living, working, and training aboard the ship with a group of CPO mentors who will provide leadership and lessons on naval history as well as the heritage of the CPO community.
Aug. 25 also marked the first time since 1982 the on board galley equipment was used to feed the CPOs and CPO selects aboard the ship.
“We try to use this ship as a training tool for Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and the public, especially the Navy,” said Steve Boerner, Director of Museum Ship Turner Joy. “We’ve got heads operational; the galley is operational to the thanks of all the volunteers from the Navy.”
During the stay on the ship, selects have six days to accomplish tasks designed to establish team building, physical fitness and give back to the community.
“Right now the new chief selects are going through a process, and we are working side-by-side to develop a relationship with our peers while doing something good for the community,” said Van Duzer. “We are all here to show our support to the local museum and show the community the Navy cares.”
Sailors put their military skills to work as they helped with minor repairs to help continue to preserve this piece of Navy history.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be a part of this historic vessel and all the history it brings,” said Chief (select) Aviation Electronics Technician (AW/SW) Dennis Fain, CPO select class leader. “History and tradition is very important to every Sailor; but as a Chief, heritage is very important and part of the heritage is history and USS Turner Joy brings a lot to our Navy.”
Sailors stationed in the region spend more than 1,000 volunteer hours a year helping maintain Turner Joy’s preservation.
“I love the help from the military,” said Boerner. “It’s labor, no funding, no money, but labor is money and that really helps us out.”