The destroyer USS Turner Joy was one of the ships involved in the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 that led to the escalation of the Vietnam War. During the shelling of Chu Lai later that year, one of its guns jammed and an ensuing explosion killed three men. The destroyer was decommissioned in 1982 and opened to the public in 1988 for self-guided tours.
If you haven't been aboard a Navy ship before, a tour of the USS Turner Joy (300 Washington Beach Ave., 360/792-2457, www.ussturnerjoy.org, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily mid-May–Sept., 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Fri.–Sun. Oct.–mid-May, $10 adults, $8 seniors, $6 ages 5–12) will be an education, with its tight sleeping quarters and an impressive array of weaponry.
A number of other mothballed Navy ships—including the USS New Jersey and the USS Oriskany—sit at anchor in varying states of disrepair. They aren't open to the public, but Kitsap Harbor Tours (360/876-1260, $9 adults, $8 seniors, $6 ages 5–12) offers 45-minute boat tours around the ships several times a day mid-May through September, and on weekends in October. Get tickets on the boardwalk at the Turner Joy.
Naval history buffs will also enjoy the excellent Bremerton Naval Museum (130 Washington Ave., 360/479-7447, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 1–5 p.m. Sun., donations accepted), which displays American and Japanese naval artifacts, highly detailed models of the USS Nimitz and other Navy ships, and naval memorabilia of all types.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition