Category Archives: Turner Joy

‘Z Nation’ Finale featuring Bremerton airs tonight

Keith Allan, who plays Murphy on the show "Z Nation," gets his makeup done aboard the Turner Joy in September. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN
Keith Allan, who plays Murphy on the show “Z Nation,” gets his makeup done aboard the Turner Joy in September. LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN

Remember when zombies invaded the Turner Joy a few months backTonight, we’ll finally get to see the episode of “Z Nation” featuring the vessel and Bremerton as its backdrop.

The show, in its second season, will air its finale tonight at 10 p.m. on the SyFy Channel. The Horse & Cow Bar and Grill, 536 Fourth Street, will host a viewing party tonight as it airs for the first time.

I’ve been working my way through all the episodes, and can tell you that this bloody and campy zombie apocalypse romp is quite entertaining. The show is based around a character named Murphy, played by actor Keith Allan. He’s the first known half-man, half-zombie, and his colleagues will stop at nothing to get him to a lab to see if he can help find a cure for the zombie virus.

The show was filmed entirely in Spokane, until they came west on a suggestion from a Bremerton City Council member. With season 2’s ending revolving around sets used in Bremerton, who knows — maybe they’ll need a similar set up to start season 3. I’ll keep you posted.


This TV show needed a Navy ship to film on. They got one in Bremerton


While on a tour of businesses in eastern Washington in early August, Dino Davis spotted an opportunity. The Bremerton City Councilman was listening to an executive producer of the SyFy show “Z Nation,” who mentioned that the show was in need of a Navy ship for filming.

“I raised my hand and I said I know a guy,” Davis said.

Not even two months later and the show is here in Bremerton. On Wednesday, members of the production company The Asylum, which makes the show, will set up on the USS Turner Joy Museum; filming will commence Thursday, according to John Hanson, president of the Bremerton Historic Ships Association.

A sign went up at the Bremerton Marina to alert boaters and onlookers that “strange noises including gun fire, screaming and shouting,” will be part of production.

“In addition, the characters will be in full make-up and dressed as Zombies,” it reads, adding that a Zodiac boat will be in the water Friday as part of filming.

Davis said he’s pleased that the film crew has chosen Bremerton as its backdrop. He was on a tour of Eastern Washington businesses put on by the Puget Sound Regional Council and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, one that included stops in Spokane, where The Asylum is based and is taking advantage of the state’s film incentive.


3 inspirational summer stories in Bremerton

You can feel fall coming. The weather’s cooling, the colors are starting to change and summer will soon end. But before it does, I wanted to reflect on three stories that just flat made me feel good this summer in Bremerton. They’re the kinds of stories that give you hope for humanity.

They found Tiffany 


I remember physically cringing when I saw the sight of the crumpled Motel 6 in West Bremerton, the victim of a massive gas explosion. We braced for the news of loss of life. But somehow, in what can only be described as a miracle, there was not. Larry Jennings, the Cascade Natural Gas technician who was closest to the explosion, continues to recover at Harborview Medical Center.

In the days after, the lone casualty appeared to be Tiffany, a black lab and chow mix that could be seen in surveillance video running from the Motel 6 as it exploded. But Tiffany’s owners, who’d recently moved here, never gave up hope. Dozens of people took on the task of posting flyers around town, creating a Facebook page, and combing the area looking for her. Nine days after the explosion, she was found drinking from the Port Washington Narrows.

What touched me the most about this story was after the fact, when complete strangers came together on a Sunday at Lions Park. Everyone got a chance to meet Tiffany (pictured). It was a wonderful story of community coming together, and then celebrating that cohesion.

The mailman of Manette 

I’d heard a lot about Norm the mailman before Monday, when I got to tag along with him as he delivered on his 11-mile route. But I was awestruck by just how beloved he is in the community he serves.

On each block, a few homes, if not more, were in on “Norm Day,” an impromptu celebration of his close to 30 years delivering mail in Manette. From simple cards to bottles of wine, he was showered in praise throughout the day. It was fascinating to watch a neighborhood band together for someone like that.

Only here’s the thing: after walking with him much of the way, I can say with confidence he completely deserved it. Norm is more than a mailman. He helps people on his route each and every day, as I wrote about him in Tuesday’s paper.

Putting joy in Turner Joy 

Photo by Mike Stitt.
Photos by Mike Stitt.

Since becoming the executive director of the USS Turner Joy Museum last year, Jack James has been a man on a mission. The retired Navy Seal, who’s led tasks like removing explosives from beaches in Iraq, is known for thinking outside the box.

Earlier in the year, he came up with a crazy idea to swim from the Turner Joy to the Boat Shed, crossing the Port Washington Narrows — one of the swiftest currents in Puget Sound. It sounded just crazy enough that I thought I’d like to join him. When else do you get a chance to swim from west to East Bremerton?

We all know Jack’s a hard worker. But what was so inspirational to me was his determination. Right before plunging into the water Sept. 12, I complained about the currents and the possibility of getting stung by a jelly fish.

“Look,” he told me. “All that other stuff, it’s just noise. See the Boat Shed over there? That’s the goal — do not think about anything else.

“Focus on the mission.”

And I did.

I’m excited for Bremerton to see what James comes up with next.

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Wedding on a destroyer: a Turner Joyous occasion


Nearly four years ago, Bill “Travis” Poplin and Jeri Schueler went on their first date aboard the USS Turner Joy‘s haunted ship at Halloween.  

Last weekend, they returned there to exchange vows.

About 135 of their friends and family crowded the stern of the ship last Saturday in a Jimmy Buffet-themed wedding, complete with Hawaiian leis. It was entirely appropriate for the Port Orchard couple — Poplin, a retired tin can sailor and Schueler the office manager at Hillside Elementary on Joint Base Lewis McCord. They both love the museum ship and encouraged their guests to tour it as part of the festivities.

“It was excellent,” Poplin said of the wedding, adding that the couple encouraged guests to donate to its foundation in lieu of gifts.

Schueler called it “perfect,” with hot temperatures .

The bride and groom.
The bride and groom.

“It looks like we were in Hawaii, maybe even on the Missouri,” she said.

Some friends helped ferry people across Sinclair Inlet for a reception at Port Orchard Yacht Club following the ceremony.

Their first date aboard the ship’s haunted environs nearly four years ago was followed by dinner at Anthony’s.

“I figured I’d scare her to death and so she wouldn’t eat as much,” Poplin joked of his plan.

He proposed to his bride-to-be at Christmas this past year, getting down on one knee in front of her family. After she said yes, it was time to start planning for the big day.

His first thought was Vegas. She liked the idea of doing something more family inclusive. Then, it hit her: Poplin, having retired from the Navy, was a big fan of ships, so why not reach out to the place where they had their first date? She recalled seeing a military retirement ceremony on the Turner Joy and so she called and asked: “Do you guys do weddings?”


The ship was happy to oblige.

Both felt the ship was a beautiful setting, though some of the attendees gave the couple some gentle ribbing on one aspect.

“It wasn’t the first marriage for either one of us,” Poplin said. “And people would say to us ‘you got married on a destroyer.’”

Special thanks to Poplin and Schueler for providing the photos.


Controversial Turner Joy photo: ‘Appropriateness’ versus ‘preserving history’

This photo set off a small firestorm when it was removed from the USS Turner Joy earlier this year.
This photo set off a small firestorm when it was removed from the USS Turner Joy earlier this year.

Officials from Bremerton tourist attraction Turner Joy are back on the same page after a photo removed from a wall display earlier this year threatened to split them apart.

The photo was with others about sailors relaxing in The Philippines during the Vietnam War, in which the destroyer took part. Four sailors were pictured drinking in a bar in street clothes with young Filipino women. The gals, showing lots of leg and one in a bikini top, sit beside the men or on their laps. The photo had hung in the destroyer for years.

In March, a visitor complained that it was offensive. The Bremerton Historical Ships Association leadership ordered it taken down.

A museum volunteer took a picture of the picture and posted it with an explanation of what had happened on an Internet site. That set off up a debate between appropriateness and preserving history. Museum director Steve Boerner said he received 160 emails the first morning, and that a lot of Vietnam veterans were upset. He was afraid the backlash could cost business at one of the regions top tourist stops. John Gerten, museum curator for 12 years, was also concerned.

John Hanson, president of the Bremerton Historic Ships Association, said removing the picture wasn’t a big deal. The museum was just updating its displays.

“Our executive board looked at the picture and decided it didn’t fit anymore in 2014,” he said. “Pictures of prostitutes don’t belong in a museum for young families. Today it’s young families that want just see a Navy ship. That picture didn’t fit with our image.”

Hanson said the museum received just six emails expressing dissatisfaction with taking the picture down.

As quickly as the rift developed, it healed, with everybody agreeing the picture wasn’t appropriate and that nobody wanted to do anything that would disparage the museum.

The USS Turner Joy, left, on a recent sunny day. The ship is one of Bremerton's top tourist attractions.
The USS Turner Joy, left, on a recent sunny day. The ship is one of Bremerton’s top tourist attractions.