The ship supervisor and safety officer for the USS Kidd was injured Tuesday when a gun mount on the destroyer exploded while he was firing a three-shot volley, said Maury Drummond, director of the veterans memorial and museum.
Tim Nessmith suffered injuries to his hand and body when the 5-inch gun exploded during the third volley, Drummond said.
Nessmith, who has worked at the USS Kidd for the past 14 years, was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Drummond would not elaborate on Nessmith’s injuries other than to say they were not life-threatening. The director also would not speculate on why the 5-inch forward gun mount of the Fletcher class destroyer exploded.
He said his staff is looking into the incident and will release more information when they conclude their investigation.
The explosion occurred just after 10 a.m. during a military reunion attended by about 80 veterans from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars, Drummond said.
The veterans were not near the gun mount when it exploded.
“They were on the back of the ship,” he said.
The only two people near the gun mount when it exploded were Nessmith and another USS Kidd employee, Drummond said.
The other employee, who was not identified, was not injured, Drummond said.
Drummond said his staff has been firing the five 5-inch guns on the ship for the past 30 years and an explosion has never occurred.
“This is the first time anything like this has happened,” he said.
Drummond said the gun mount will be closed for tours while the cause of the explosion is investigated.
Other areas of the ship are open for visitors.