The Pacific Northwest Chief Petty Officers Association, assisted by local Memorial Preservationist and Historian Mick Hersey, will honor him with a ceremony followed by the unveiling of a Memorial Marker in his Honor sponsored by the Chief’s Association.
John Henry (Dick) Turpin passed away at his home on 4th street here in Bremerton 56 years ago and was buried at sea. There was no service for him and no Memorial Marker.
Chief Turpin served in the Navy from 1896 and was on the USS Maine during the explosion that started the Spanish American War. He survived the explosion and in 1905 he was on the USS Bennington that exploded next to the pier. He again survived and assisted in the rescue of many shipmates. Staying in the Navy, he was the first African American Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, achieving that Rating in 1917.
He served in the Navy for over 20 years and then served as a Ship Rigger and Diver at the Shipyard here in Bremerton. He achieved the position of Master Rigger and Master Diver.