USS Vella Gulf Conducts Exercise with Turkish Navy

140808-N-ZE250 118  BLACK SEA, (Aug. 8, 2014) Turkish Navy vessel TCG Tuzla (P1200) steams past Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) after completing maneuvering exercises in the Black Sea. Vella Gulf, homeported in Norfolk, Va., is conducting naval operations with allies in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in order to advance security and stability in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston Jones/Released)

Turkish Navy vessel P-1200 TCG Tuzla steams past Ticonderoga class cruiser CG-72 USS Vella Gulf , after completing maneuvering exercises in the Black Sea. Photo: U.S. Navy by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston Jones

According to the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet web site, the Ticonderoga class cruiser USS Vella Gulf conducted a division tactics exercise with the Turkish navy fast attack craft TCG Tuzla in the Black Sea on 8 August 2014.

Vella Gulf and Tuzla conducted tactical maneuvering during the exercise. U.S. Navy ships regularly hold similar events with allies and partners to foster relationships and strengthen interoperability.

“Once again, Vella Gulf was pleased to participate in an at-sea training exercise with our NATO ally Turkey,” said Capt. Robert Katz, Vella Gulf’s Commanding Officer. “Our continuing interactions with the Turkish Navy during this deployment have increased cooperation and strengthened interoperability through regular combined training events.”

Well I must make a correction to the above statement.

TCG Tuzla is not classified as an fast attack craft by Turkish Navy. She is a patrol craft, a gun boat with a sonar and ASW mortar. Turkish Navy classifies vessels with anti-ship missiles as fast attack craft such as Doğan, Yıldız, Kılıç or Kartal class boats.

I have found the matching of the ships a little peculiar. USS Vella Gulf is one of the largest combatants in US Navy inventory with the exception of the carriers while TCG Tuzla is one of the smallest combatants in Turkish Navy inventory. Was this by design or by coincidence?

Update On Breeze 2014 Naval Exercise

With the exception of Bulgarian participants I have more or less the complete list of the participants to this exercise:

Number Name Type Country
P-266 HS Machitis Patrol Craft Greece
F-582 ITS Aviere Frigate Italy
M-5561 ITS Rimini Mine Hunter Italy
F-222 ROS Regina Maria Frigate Romania
M-30 Alexandru Axente Mine Sweeper Romania
M-270 TCG Akçay Mine Hunter Turkey
P-1200 TCG Tuzla Patrol Craft Turkey
P-332 TCG Mızrak Fast Attack Craft Turkey
S-352 TCG Dolunay Submarine Turkey
M-37 HSM Chiddingfold Mine Hunter UK
CG-72 USS Vella Gulf Cruiser USA

In addition to the above mentioned naval units one P-3 Orion from US Navy and one CN-235 from Turkish Navy are also taking part in the exercise.

USS Vella Gulf In Kuşadası

CG-72 USS Vella Gulf in Kuşadası. Dwarfed by the cruise liner Queen Elisabeth . Photo: aydinpost.com

On 3 July 2014 the US cruiser USS Vella Gulf arrived in Kuşadası for a port visit.

According to news reports the ship will stay till Sunday

From The Archive (1)

My captured picture

This is the first post of a new feature I would like to share.

Now I have the opportunity to digitize my archive of film negatives. Thus I can easily upload and share the photos of warships I have taken before the digital age of photography.

Every week I will post a warship from my archive, long decommissioned from service and probably ended in a break yard or used as a target.

So the first post of the new feature I have selected a photo of CG-26 USS Belknap as the flagship of US 6th Fleet. This photo was taken in October 1991.

USS Carney In Bodrum

US destroyer USS Carney in Bodrum. Photo: Bodum'da Bugün

US destroyer DDG-64 USS Carney in Bodrum. Photo: Bodum’da Bugün

The Arleigh Burke class US destroyer DDG-64 USS Carney arrived in Bodrum, Turkey for a 3 day port visit.

According to wikipedia, on 12 November 2009, the Missile Defense Agency announced that Carney would be upgraded during fiscal 2012 to RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) capability in order to function as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.

USS Donald Cook Returned To The Mediterranean

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USS Donald Cook passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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USS Donald Cook passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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USS Donald Cook passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

On 24 April 2014 in the early morning hours, the US destroyer USS Donald Cook made a southbound passage through the Bosphorus and left the Black Sea.

With the departure of USS Donald Cook, US frigate USS Taylor and the French intelligence gathering ship FS Dupuy de Lôme have remained in the region.

USS Taylor Passed Through The Bosphorus

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USS Taylor passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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USS Taylor passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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USS Taylor passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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USS Taylor passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

44 days later US Navy frigate FFG-50 USS Taylor returned to the Black Sea. On her own power.
The Perry class frigate was deployed to the Black Sea before the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games started. USS Taylor and the flag-ship of the US 6th Fleet USS Mount Whitney were send to the Black Sea to help with the evacuation of US athletes and spectators in case of a terror attack to the Games.
USS Taylor had a grounding in Samsun harbour on 12 February 2014 as she arrived here for refueling. Her only propeller was damaged during the accident and all the work done to repair the ship turned out to be not effective. US Navy contracted the company DonJon specialized in marine salvage and towing, to tow USS Taylor to Souda Crete where her propeller hub and blades were replaced.

There are no information about her current deployment to the Black Sea.

For further reading:
USS Taylor Passed Through Bosphorus Being Towed
USS Taylor Departs Samsun
USS Taylor Commanding Officer Relieved of Duty
Update On USS Taylor
USS Taylor Damaged In Samsun
USS Taylor In Samsun

USS Donald Cook Passed Through Turkish Straits

Today the long-awaited US warship, Arleigh Burke class destroyer DDG-75 USS Donald Cook passed through Turkish Straits.

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Arleigh Burke class (Flight II) class destroyer DDG-75 USS Donald Cook passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Kerim Bozkurt. Used with permission.

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Arleigh Burke class (Flight II) class destroyer DDG-75 USS Donald Cook passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Kerim Bozkurt. Used with permission.

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Arleigh Burke class (Flight II) class destroyer DDG-75 USS Donald Cook passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Kerim Bozkurt. Used with permission.

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Arleigh Burke class (Flight II) class destroyer DDG-75 USS Donald Cook passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Kerim Bozkurt. Used with permission.

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Arleigh Burke class (Flight II) class destroyer DDG-75 USS Donald Cook passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

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Arleigh Burke class (Flight II) class destroyer DDG-75 USS Donald Cook passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük Işık. Used with permission.

She has entered to the Dardanelles at 07.00 in the morning and passed through Bosphorus at 16.00.

She is the second warship USA has send to the Black Sea since the start of the Crimean crisis. The other ship was DDG-103 USS Truxtun.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is fuming against Turkey over the practice of the Montreux Convention. But I remember very well back in 2008 they were praising Turkey over the practice of Montreux Convention when due to technical limitations US Navy hospital ships were not allowed to pass through Turkish Straits.

The arrival of a new US Navy warship to the Black Sea will not make things easier and she is not only non-Black Sea Navy ship in the region. The French warship FS Alizé is  believed still to be in the Black Sea and today the French ELINT/SIGINT ship FS Dupuy de Lôme also passed through the Bosphorus.

And there are still 7 frigates, 1 corvette, 2 submarines, 8 fast attack craft, 1 mine hunter, 3 auxiliaries of Turkish Navy in the Black Sea. These units have not returned from the Deniz Yıldızı 2014 exercise yet.

USS Taylor Passed Through Bosphorus Being Towed

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USS Taylor being towed by the tug Coastal Voyager. The tug Kurtaran 1 from Turkish Coastal Safety Agency is preventing the ship from drifting at the back. Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCSG-90 is providing security.

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This photo show the third tug, again from Turkish Coastal Safety Agency. She was on the starboard side of USS Taylor during her passage through Bosphorus, preventing the ship from drifting by the currents

The Arleigh Burke class destroyer DDG-103 USS Truxtun is the only US warship in the Black Sea as today with the southbound passage of FF(G)-50 USS Taylor through the Bosphorus.

The Perry class frigate was deployed to the Black Sea before the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games started. USS Taylor and the flag ship of the US 6th Fleet USS Mount Whitney were send to the Black Sea to help with the evacuation of US athletes and spectators in case of an terror attack to the Games.

USS Taylor had a grounding in Samsun harbour on 12 February 2014 as she arrived here for refueling. Her only propeller was damaged during the accident and all the work done to repair the ship turned out to be not effective.

US Navy contracted the company DonJon specialized in marine salvage and towing, to tow USS Taylor to Souda Crete where her propeller hub and blades will be replaced. 

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USS Taylor Departs Samsun

While USS Truxtun sailed towards the Black Sea another US Navy warship is trying to leave it.

The Perry class frigate FF(G)-50 USS Taylor is being towed towards Souda, Creta. USS Taylor was with USS Mount Whitney, the flag-ship of US 6th Fleet port of the US Navy’s Olympic Deployment. Both ships arrived just before the 2014 Olympic games and were supposed to stay during the games on position outside of Russian waters.

On 12 January 2014, the frigate run aground as she was about to be docked at Samsun harbour for refueling. The frigates sole propeller was damaged rendering the ship unable to move.  Since then, USS Taylor remained  docked at Samsun port.

USS Taylor (FFG 50) departed the Turkish port of Samsun, March 7, for Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Greece, for repairs following the Feb. 12 grounding incident. The ship was moved with the assistance of a tug from Donjon Towing Company. 

NSA Souda Bay was chosen as the closest location with the most robust U.S. Navy support and logistics infrastructure. 

Repairs to Taylor will include replacement of the propeller blades and propeller hub. Repairs are expected to take several weeks. Following completion of repairs, Taylor will continue its scheduled deployment in the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operations. 

While the brilliantly worded text of the U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs keeps the reader in suspense whether the frigate is towed by the tug or not, the photos taken in Samsun clearly provide us the answer:

USS Taylor being puılled away from Samsun. Photo: Anadolu Ajansı, via gettyimages.

USS Taylor being pulled away from Samsun. Photo: Anadolu Ajansı, via gettyimages.

I would appreciate any information regarding the tug.

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