Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Turner III (DD-834)

Daniel Turner, probably born at Richmond on Staten Island in 1794, was appointed a midshipman in the Navy on 1 January 1808. Following brief duty at the New York Naval Station, he served in Constitution on the North Atlantic Station. On 8 June 1812, he received orders to Norwich, Conn., where he took command of the gunboats located there.

On 14 March 1813, two days after receiving his commission as a lieutenant, Turner was sent to Sackett's Harbor, N.Y., located on the shores of Lake Erie. There, he took command of Niagra, a brig in Oliver Hazard Perry's squadron. However, just before the Battle of Lake Erie, he relinquished command to Capt. Jesse D. Elliott and assumed command of Caledonia. The little brig played an important role in the Battle of Lake Erie on 10 September 1813 because, at one point in the action, her two 24-pounder long guns were the only ones in Perry's flotilla capable of returning the distant fire of the three heaviest British ships then in the process of pounding Perry's flagship Lawrence. For his part in the American victory at Lake Erie, Lt. Turner received the praise of Perry, a vote of thanks and a medal from Congress, and a sword from the state of New York.

In the summer of 1814, Turner succeeded to the command of schooner Scorpion, and he cruised Lakes Erie and Huron in her supporting army operations around Detroit and blockading British forces at the Nottawasaga River and Lake Simcoe. On 6 September 1814, Turner and his command were captured by the British when he brought Scorpion alongside the former American schooner Tigress which, unbeknownst to him, had been captured a few days earlier. After a period of imprisonment at Mackinac, Lt. Turner returned to the United States in exchange for a British prisoner of war.

Between 1815 and 1817, Turner cruised the Mediterranean in the frigate Java commanded by his old superior on the Great Lakes, Oliver Hazard Perry. During that deployment, Java visited Algiers and Tripoli in a show of American naval strength calculated to impress the Barbary pirates and intimidate them into honoring their treaties with the United States. In 1817, Java returned to Newport, R.I., to be laid up.

Between 1819 and 1824, Turner returned to sea in the schooner Nonsuch attached to a squadron commanded again by Oliver Hazard Perry. In addition to hunting West Indian pirates, his ship sailed up the Orinoco River to carry Perry on a diplomatic mission to the Venezuelan government under Simon Bolivar. During the return downriver, Perry and many of the crew contracted yellow fever. Turner was close at hand when his mentor died at Trinidad on 23 August 1819. During the remaining years of Turner's assignment to Nonsuch, his ship worked along the east coast of the United States, patrolled in the West Indies to suppress piracy, and made a brief cruise to the Mediterranean in 1824.

Following shore duty at Boston, Turner returned to sea in 1827 for a three-year assignment with the West India Squadron, as the commanding officer of Erie. In 1830, he came ashore again for three years at the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard.

Promoted to captain on 3 March 1835, Turner spent a long period waiting orders before returning to sea in 1839 in command of Constitution. He sailed the Pacific Station in "Old Ironsides," until he was relieved in 1841. From 1843 to 1846, he commanded the American squadron which operated along the Brazilian coast. From that duty, he reported ashore again as Commandant, Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard. Capt. Turner died suddenly on 4 February 1850 at Philadelphia, and he was buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, Md.


(DD-834: dp. 2,425; 1. 390'6"; b. 40'10"; dr. 18'6": s. 34.6 k. (tl.); cpl. 345; a. 6 5", 12 40mm., 10 21" tt.; cl. Gearing)

The third Turner (DD-834) was laid down on 13 November 1944 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works Corp.; launched on 8 April 1945; sponsored by Miss Louise Leahy, granddaughter of Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy; and commissioned on 12 June 1945 at the Boston Navy Yard, Comdr. Ellis B. Rittenhouse in command.

Immediately following her commissioning, Turner began undergoing conversion to destroyer picket ship at Boston while her crew attended intensive specialized schools in preparation for picket duty. In mid-July, she arrived at Guantanamo Bay and, while she was undergoing shakedown in Cuban waters, Japan capitulated, ending World War II.

Late in August, the ship returned to Boston for post-shakedown availability. In the second week of September, she resumed training exercises in the Caribbean and in Atlantic coastal waters. On 8 October, she departed Norfolk and steamed, via Pensacola, the Panama Canal, and San Diego, to Hawaii, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 28 November. There, she prepared for duty in the Tokyo area and, on 10 December, departed the Hawaiian Islands and proceeded to Japan.

She operated out of Japanese ports with Task Group 55.4, Task Force 54, and other elements of the 5th Fleet until 24 March 1946 when she departed Yokosuka and proceeded via Midway to Pearl Harbor. She remained at Oahu until 29 May when she got underway and proceeded to Roi Island. In June and July, she participated in Operation "Crossroads," the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, during which she was flagship of Destroyer Squadron 5 and supported airoperations for Section Baker of the tests. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 30 July, got underway again on 7 August, and steamed into San Diego harbor on the 13th. The ship operated along the west coast until August 1947, mainly participating in hunter-killer and fleet exercises.

After loading ammunition at San Pedro, the destroyer, in company with Destroyer Division 132, departed that port on 26 August 1947; steamed via the Hawaiian Islands and Japan; and arrived at Tsingtao on 20 September. She visited various China coast ports before her return to San Diego on 5 May 1948. For nearly a year, she operated out of California ports, conducting reserve training cruises and inter-type exercises.

Turner was reclassifted a radar picket destroyer on 18 March 1949. She departed San Diego on 4 April, steamed via the Panama Canal, and arrived at Newport, R.I., on 21 April 1949. There, she received additional electronic equipment enabling her to carry out her new duties. Throughout the 1950's, she conducted reserve training cruises, participated in fleet exercises, and frequently made 6th Fleet deployments. On her eighth Mediterranean cruise in 1958, she acted as a picket ship for Task Force 61 during the Lebanon crisis.

In 1959, she shifted homeport to Mayport, Fla., and continued to pursue the same duties. At the New York Naval Shipyard in 1960, she underwent a Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) overhaul which improved her radar and sonar capabilities in antiaircraft and antisubmarine warfare. In 1961, the Charleston Naval Shipyard installed a new variable depth sonar, adding to Turner's submarine detection equipment. Into the 1960's, she alternated frequent Mediterranean cruises with routine Atlantic training exercises, Atlantic picket duty, and special assignments. In 1962, she joined Task Force 140, the Project Mercury Recovery Force; and, in 1964, she added a Red Sea and Persian Gulf deployment to a Mediterranean voyage. In November and December of that year, she remained on station in the Caribbean in support of the Gemini II space shot.

Armed conflict flared in the Caribbean in April 1965; and, from 8 through 25 May, Turner operated with Task Force 128 in support of the American presence in the Dominican Republic. She again provided assistance to the American space program in February 1966 when she patrolled an alternate recovery station, at a point midway between South America and Africa, not far from the equator, as a backup site for a project Apollo landing.

While in the Caribbean on routine training in August 1967, Turner conducted a search for a disabled motor boat which had been adrift in the Windward Passage with 11 passengers on board. After a four-hour hunt, she located and assisted the boat and its occupants. During her 14th Mediterranean deployment late in January 1968, she directed the fruitless search for the missing Israeli submarine Dakar; and, while operating with Independence (CVA-62) in the Mediterranean in October of that year, Turner rescued two survivors of a downed plane.

Early in 1969, she completed her 15th Mediterranean deployment and returned to the United States. In April, she arrived at Mayport and was decommissioned there on 26 September. Her name was struck from the Navy list that same day, and, on 13 October 1970, she was sold to Southern Scrap Material, Ltd., New Orleans, for scrapping.

Published: Tue Nov 17 07:28:19 EST 2015