|December 20th, 2006|
USS Saratoga shot Turkish Muavenet in Naval Exercise info
During the fall of 1992, the United States, Turkey, and several other NATO members participated in "Exercise Display Determination 1992," a combined forces naval exercise under the overall command of Admiral Jeremy Michael Boorda of the United States Navy. The forces of participating nations were assigned to either of two multinational teams. Vice Admiral T. Joseph Lopez of the United States Navy led the "Brown Forces," which included Saratoga. The opposing "Green Forces," including Muavenet were under the direct control of Admiral Kroon of the Netherlands.
During the "enhanced tactical" phase of the training exercises, the Brown Forces were to attempt an amphibious landing at Saros Bay in the Aegean Sea against the resistance offered by the Green Forces. Admiral Boorda ordered the units comprising each force to actively seek and "destroy" each other. Both task force commanders had full authority to engage the enemy when and where they deemed appropriate and to use all warfare assets at their disposal to achieve victory. Needless to say, all confrontations were intended to be simulated attacks.
On 1 October 1992 the Combat Direction Center Officer aboard Saratoga decided to launch a simulated attack on nearby opposition forces utilizing the Sea Sparrow missile system. After securing the approval of Saratoga's Commanding Officer and the Battle Group Commander, Rear Admiral Philip Dur, the Combat Direction Center Officer implemented the simulated assault plan. Without providing prior notice, officers on Saratoga woke the enlisted Sea Sparrow missile team and directed them to conduct the simulated attack. Certain members of the missile firing team were not told that the exercise was a drill, rather than an actual event.
As the drill progressed, the missile system operator used language to indicate he was preparing to fire a live missile, but due to the absence of standard terminology, the responsible officers failed to appreciate the significance of the terms used and the requests made. Specifically, the Target Acquisition System operator issued the command "arm and tune," terminology the console operators understood to require arming of the missiles in preparation for actual firing. The officers supervising the drill did not realize that "arm and tune" signified a live firing. As a result, shortly after midnight on the morning of 2 October, Saratoga fired two live Sea Sparrow missiles at Muavenet. The missiles struck Muavenet in the bridge, destroying it and the Combat Information Center, killing 5 of the ship's officers and injuring twenty-two.