The USS Thomas C. Hart was a member of the Knox class of escort destroyers (and later, frigates). She was named in honor of Admiral Thomas C. Hart, who served in the Spanish-American War as a midshipman and rose through the ranks to command the Far East naval forces of the United Nations in World War II.
The Thomas C. Hart was ordered on Aug. 25, 1966. The contract to build her was awarded to the Avondale Shipyards of Westwego, La. Her keel was laid on Oct. 8, 1970; she was launched on Aug. 12, 1972. She was commissioned on July 28, 1973, with Lt. Comdr. Ronald J. Forst in command.
After more than a year of shakedowns and training, the Thomas C. Hart made her first deployment to the Mediterranean Sea in 1975. In 1976, she made a four-and-a-half month cruise, circumnavigating South America as part of UNITAS XVII. During the cruise, she transited both the Straits of Magellan and the Panama Canal and made a total of 18 ports of call in Venezuela, Argentina, Columbia, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and the West Indies.
In 1980, the Thomas C. Hart was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of a U.S. task force operating off the coast of Iran after the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran and the holding of U.S. hostages in that country. She remained in the gulf from June to October and won her first of two Battle Efficiency “E”s for outstanding combat preparedness during this time period.
The Thomas C. Hart would deploy to Southwest Asia again a decade later, taking part in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The Thomas C. Hart helped enforce the embargo against Iraq while operating in the Red Sea, boarding ships suspecting of carrying prohibited cargo into Jordanian ports which could then be shipped by land into Iraq. The Thomas C. Hart would receive her only Naval Unit Citation for this deployment.
The Thomas C. Hart spent much of 1992 in the Caribbean and South Atlantic serving in an anti-drug role.
Though the Thomas C. Hart started her career as a destroyer escort, she would retire as a frigate. The Thomas C. Hart, along with the rest of the Knox class, was re-classified as a frigate on June 30, 1975. She was re-designated as FF-1092.
The Thomas C. Hart was decommissioned on Aug. 3 01993 and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on Jan. 11, 1995. She was leased and later sold to Turkey, where she served into the 21st Century.
Characteristics of the USS Thomas C. Hart (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Class and type: Knox-class frigate
Displacement: 3,305 tons (4,295 full load)
Length: 438 ft (134 m)
Beam: 46 ft 9 in (14.2 m)
Draught: 24 ft 9 in (7.5 m)
Propulsion: 2 × CE 1200psi boilers
1 Westinghouse geared turbine
1 shaft, 35,000 SHP (26 MW)
Speed: over 27 knots
Range: 4,500 nautical miles @ 20 knots
Complement: 18 officers, 267 enlisted
Sensors and processing systems: AN/SPS-40 Air Search Radar
AN/SPS-67 Surface Search Radar
AN/SQR-18 Towed array sonar system
Mk68 Gun Fire Control System
Electronic warfare and decoys: AN/SLQ-32 Electronics Warfare System
Armament: one Mk-16 8 cell missile launcher for ASROC and Harpoon missiles
one Mk-42 5-inch/54 caliber gun
Mark 46 torpedoes from four single tube launchers)
one Mk-25 BPDMS launcher for Sea Sparrow missiles, later replaced by Phalanx CIWS Aircraft carried: one SH-2 Seasprite (LAMPS I) helicopter
Ordered: Aug. 25, 1966
Builder: Avondale Shipyard, Westwego, Louisiana
Laid down: Oct.8, 1971
Launched: Aug. 12, 1972
Acquired: June 8, 1973
Commissioned: July 28, 1973
Decommissioned: Aug. 30, 1993
Struck: Jan. 11, 1995
Fate: Disposed of through the Security Assistance Program (SAP), transferred to Turkey
August 1966: USS Thomas C. Hart ordered
Crewmembers of the USS Thomas C. Hart:
An unofficial list of crew members that served on the USS Thomas C. Hart can be found on the unofficial navy website at: http://navysite.de. This list is compiled by former crewmembers that voluntarily register. Some quoted comments from former crewmembers are listed below; many more are available on the source website at the following Web address:
Kenneth Williams (served July 1987—January 1990): “Loved it. Miss it. Learned a lot. MY LPO, George Kreisher, introduced me to his step-daughter and I married her.”
Russell Wicker (served December 1987—August 1988): “Med cruise ’88 was my first deployment. My most treasured Navy memories are from that cruise. Thanks shipmates.”
Corey Lipscomb (served October 1987—September 1991): “Loved my time aboard the Hart. Would love to catch up with old friends. Desert Storm was fun (mostly).”