USS T C Hart (as TCG ZAFER F-253) – Gone but never forgotten
4 June 2013:
Farewell ex-USS THOMAS C HART (FF-1092) – if you go to the USS Thomas C. Hart FF-1092 Facebook page, you can view a number of photos of the sinking of the TCH as the now ex-TCG Zafer (F-253) of the Turkish Navy during a major naval exercise. Sample photos are included below. Fair Winds and Following Seas to a great ship and lots of great memories!
ex-TCH Before Sinkex
ex-TCH – Hit Alfa
ex-TCH – Hit and going down
The section below documents the life of USS Thomas C. Hart (DE/FF-1092) in her service to the Turkish Navy. TCH was leased/transferred to the Turkish government 30 August 1993. The KNOX class frigates in the custody of Turkey were reclassified as TEPE class. As of September 2012, these ships were decommissioned. The fate of ex-TCH, now ex-TGC Zafer, is shown above.
Sea Stories from TCH Shipmates:
As a side note, TCH shipmate Mark Lamboni, as Commanding Officer of the Navy oiler USS Platte (AO-186) conducted an underway replenishment (UNREP) of the TGC Zafer F-253 as part of a multi-national exercise in the Black Sea in the summer of 1995! Small world….
We all know the Navy is a small world, right? Former HART skipper Capt. Dick Whalen, USN (Ret) reports he received email last spring from his son, Todd, a Navy Commander who was then XO of DDG GONZALES on deployment in the Med. Todd relayed that, as his ship was pulling into Aksaz, Turkey, he spotted 3 Turkish frigates with familiar hull forms, one of which was TCG ZAFER. Quick check of Janes confirmed it was in fact USS THOMAS C. HART! He later met the then-CO (CDR Salik Kula) at a NATO reception, who advised that he was a member of the HART Assn. Both ships proceeded to duke it out in a NATO exercise the following week…. No reports of who won…. “She sails ON!”
Click to view Facebook page about ZAFER – nice photos.
Photo taken during NATO exercise 2000 – credit unknown
Hart CO’s attend decommissioning and transfer to Turkey.
TCH CO’s attend ship’s decommissioning 30 August 1993
(L-R) Captain John F. Bennett, Jr., USN (ret) (1977-79); Captain John D. Rohrbough, USN (ret) (1975-77); Captain F. Richard Whalen, USN (ret) (1981-83); Captain Ronald J. Forst, USN (ret) (1973-75); Captain Louis A. Nick Jr., USN (1985-87); Captain James D. Stevens, USN (1987-89).
Here she is under Turkish Flag. TCH is now known as TCG Zafer F-253! To visit the Unofficial Turkish Navy Website operated by C. Devrim Yaylali, please Click Here!
TCG Zafer F-253 (inboard) andTCG Muavenet F-250 – October 2006 – Photo from Militaryphotos.net
Zafer – 2001 Toulon, France – Photo by Guy Schaeffer, from the collection of Paolo Marsan)