USS Turner (DD-259 )/ Moosehead (IX-98)

USS Turner (DD-259)/ Moosehead (IX-98) was a Clemson class destroyer that had a very varied later career. After a very brief time as a destroyer in the early 1920s she was turned into a water barge in 1936, but was then turned back into an active warship at the Moosehead, serving as a ferry in the San Diego, and then as an advancing training ship for the staff of the advanced Combat Information Centers being installed on more modern warships.

The Turner was named after Daniel Turner, who served in the US Navy during the War of 1812, fighting on the Great Lakes and remaining in the navy until his death in 1850.

The Turner was laid down by Bethlehem and Quincy, Mass, on 19 December 1918, launched on 15 May 1919 and commissioned at Boston on 24 September 1919. She briefly served with the active fleet on the east coast, before being placed in the rotating reserve as part of Destroyer Division 29, Squadron 4, Flotilla 2 of the Destroyer Force of the Pacific Fleet. She was decommissioned on 7 June 1922, and actually struck off the Navy List on 5 August 1936.

USS Turner (DD-259) as the Water Barge YW-56
USS Turner (DD-259)
as the Water Barge YW-56

On 28 September 1936 the Turner was chosen for conversion into a non-self propelled water barge. Most of her superstructure was removed, as were all but one of her funnels. She had a water capacity of 80,000 gallons. The conversion work was carried out at San Diego, and was completed on 23 October. She was the reclassified as an un-named district craft, YW-56. On 17 October 1940 she had been allocated to the 11th Naval District.

However this wasn’t the end of her active carrier. In May 1942 her mobility was restored, and she was used as a ferry, moving between San Diego and San Clemente Island.

Another, more dramatic change of use came in 1943. She was chosen for conversion into an advanced training ship. Early in 1943 sonar and radar equipment was installed in No.1 Fire Room. She was also given a Combat Information Centre class room, and accommodation for the students. On 13 February 1943 she was renamed as the USS Moosehead (IX-98) – the name Turner had been allocated to the new Gleaves class destroyer USS Turner (DD-648). On 5 April 1943 she was recommissioned at San Diego, and on 11 April she joined the Operational Training Command of the Pacific Fleet. On 23 April she became the flagship of Rear Admiral Frank A. Briasted, the commander of that unit. She would spend the rest of the war operating along the coast of southern California.

The Moosehead now began a period of overlapping duties. Between May 1943 and December 1944 she continued to be used as a ferry, carrying out an average of 11 trips per months to San Clemente Island.

USS Moosehead (IX-98) in 1943 USS Moosehead (IX-98) in 1943

In July 1943 she began to train the crews of the CICs for the Casablanca and Commencement Bay class escort carriers. This role lasted for the next two and a half years, well into the second half of 1945.

In January 1944 the Moosehead was temporarily assigned to the Pacific Fleet. Early in 1944 she started to train the CIC crews of a wider range of ships, including attack transports (APA), attack cargo ships (AKA), destroyer escorts (DE), destroyer tenders (AD), large (AV) and small (AVP) seaplane tenders, and escort vessels (PCE). She wa also used as a test and evaluation ship for a wide range of equipment.

From August 1944 until early in 1945 she was used to tow targets for battleships, cruisers and destroyers, and also served as a torpedo target for destroyers and torpedo planes, a seemingly rather odd use for a highly advanced training ship! She was also used to screen battleships and carriers undergoing shakedown cruisers.

During her time as the Moosehead the old destroyer trained 1,466 officers and 2,813 men, carried 16,360 passengers and steamed over 100,000 miles, a remarkably active third act to her career!

After the end of the war the Moosehead was in need of urgent repairs, but the Navy decided that she was too old for it to be worth the effort, despite a request by the Commander of the Training Command West Coast for her to be repaired and continue her duties. In December 1945 she was chosen for disposal, and she was decommissioned on 19 March 1946. She was struck off for the second time on 17 April 1946 and sold for scrap on 20 February 1947.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

35.51kts at 24,890shp at 1,107t on trial (Preble)


2-shaft Westinghouse geared tubines
4 boilers
27,000shp (design)


2,500nm at 20kts (design)

Armour - belt


 - deck



314ft 4in


30ft 10.5in


Four 4in/ 50 guns
One 3in/23 AA gun
Twelve 21in torpedoes in four triple mountings
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement



15 May 1919


19 September 1919

Sold for scrap

20 February 1947

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (3 February 2020), USS Turner (DD-259 )/ Moosehead (IX-98) ,

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