Lest We Forget: DM-357 TCG Muavenet

DM-357 TCG Muavenet in her better days. This photo from 1989 is special to me. This was my very first photo to be published in Jane’s Fighting Ships, in its 1991 edition.

27 years ago, during the NATO Display Determination ’92 naval exercise, two Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles fired accidentally from the aircraft carrier CV-60 USS Saratoga, hit the bridge of the Turkish destroyer DM-357 TCG Muavenet. 5 sailors including the commander of the ship were killed instantly and 15 badly hurt. A fire broke out on board. At the time of the incident, two ships were 3 miles apart and were streaming north in the Aegean.

Ships radar antenna, forward gun turrets, hedgehog launcher suffered from the shrapnel damage. The pieces of the second missile penetrated the forward gun turret, cabins of the supply officer and XO.

A fire started at the ammunition chamber of the Hedgehog system. The explosion of the Hedgehog rounds would have caused the loss of the ships.


These two photos -new scans- show the extensive damage caused by the missiles. Though the missiles were designed for shooting down enemy airplanes, they also succeeded in crippling an allied warship.

It was quite a skill to bring the fire under control before reached to the gun turret in the B position. If the fire has spread further to the turrets and ammunition chambers of the guns, she would not have survived.

All the fire fighting and damage control efforts were done in the absence of the commander of the ship. This fact speaks for the professionalism of the officers and the bravery of the whole crew. They simply did not give up the ship.

Commander Kudret Güngör
Ensign Alertunga Akan
Petty Officer 3th Class Serkan Aktepe
Sergant Mustafa Kılınç
Private Recep Akan,

Replenishment tanker TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör passing through Istanbul after sunset on a December day back in 2017. His name and legacy lives.

paid the ultimate price for the defense of their country.

For further reading:
US Navy Court of Inquiry

Turkish Navy Court of Inquiry

Wikipedia

An interesting but technical legal article about why the USA did not pay indemnities to the Turkish sailors

My previous wrtings about the incident.

And one video documentary about the incident:

http://vimeo.com/58526103

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