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Hull Number: DD-709

Launch Date: 12/17/1944

Commissioned Date: 03/01/1945

Decommissioned Date: 06/15/1972

Call Sign: NTFS

Voice Call Sign: ULCER GEORGE, AVOCADO (68-69), AVOCADO (61-64)



Data for USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) as of 1945

Length Overall: 376’ 6"

Beam: 40’ 10"

Draft: 14’ 5"

Standard Displacement: 2,200 tons

Full Load Displacement: 3,315 tons

Fuel capacity: 3,293 barrels


Six 5″/38 caliber guns
Two 40mm twin anti-aircraft mounts
Two 40mm quadruple anti-aircraft mounts
Two 21″ quintuple torpedo tubes


20 Officers
325 Enlisted


4 Boilers
2 General Electric Turbines: 60,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 34.2 knots



Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, April 2016

Hugh Purvis was born in Philadelphia in 1843 and enlisted in the Marine Corps 27 October 1869. He reported immediately to the Marine detachment on board Alaska soon departing for the Far East. During the punitive expedition to Korea in 1871, he took part in the assault on an enemy fort on the Han River. In desperate hand-to-hand fighting, the Sailors and Marines stormed the walls of the citadel. Private Purvis ran immediately to the flagstaff which bore the enemy’s colors and loosed the halyards. He was joined by Cpl. Charles Brown, and the two tore down the flag. For his inspiring and heroic act Private Purvis was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was discharged in 1873 and served two later tours with the Marine Corps, 1874 to 1879 and 1879 to 1884, rising to Corporal.


To Turkey 7/1/1972 as Zafer, Stricken 2/1/1973

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History


The Tin Can Sailor, January 2000

Commissioned on 1 March 1945, DD-709 was named in honor of marine private, Hugh Purvis, whose outstanding heroism during the Korean Expedition in 1871 won him the Congressional Medal of Honor. With her shakedown cruise behind her, the PURVIS was assigned to the Norfolk naval base as a training ship. She then spent several months in the Pacific followed in the spring of 1947 by a stint in Northern Europe where she and the BEATTY (DD-756) represented the United States at the funeral of the King Christian of Denmark. She sailed for her first Mediterranean deployment in September 1948.

Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, between July 1949 and December 1950, the PURVIS trained reservists in Caribbean and Central American waters. She was then transferred to Newport, Rhode Island. Refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Mediterranean deployments, a midshipman cruise, and annual Springboard exercises in the Caribbean took her through the spring of 1955. In addition to routine operations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean in 1956, the PURVIS also patrolled the Red Sea and Persian Gulf and escorted vessels evacuating refugees from Israel and Gaza.

Operating on both sides of the Atlantic over the next two years, she became a unit of Destroyer Development Group Two in August 1958. The PURVIS began 1960 undergoing Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) and ended the year with refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. During fleet exercises in January 1961, heavy weather damaged her forward five-inch gun mount, which put her in the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard for repairs. She was ready for her sixth Mediterranean deployment in March, however.

In January 1962, the ship was one of the recovery ships for the orbital space flight of Colonel John Glenn who was finally recovered by the USS NOA (DD-841). That spring, she was fitted out with a remote control Destroyer Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH) and a variable depth sonar system. Following sonar tests off Key West, she hurried back to serve as the navy’s host ship during the America’s Cup Races off Newport. Late in October, the PURVIS patrolled Guantanamo Harbor during the Cuban Missile Crisis and then steamed north for eight months of operations off the Virginia Capes to test the newly installed DASH system.

DASH system tests, small craft rescue, ship surveillance, antisubmarine warfare exercises, type and refresher training, and project operations took her up to January 1965 and Operation Springboard. Later that spring in Key West, she served as a Fleet Sonar School ship. In July, the destroyer was involved in evaluating gunfire practices to be used against North Vietnam’s small, high-speed vessels. Culminating this effort was the first successful “kill” in the Atlantic Fleet of a remotely-controlled Ryan Firefish.

Over the next six years, the PURVIS was a platform for experiments with antisubmarine radar and variable depth sonar equipment, perfecting techniques and weapons in use throughout the destroyer force. Engaged in such tests off the Bahamas early in 1966, she rescued a disabled fishing boat and towed it to safety. Divested of test equipment, she was back to normal operations by the fall and in November headed for a Mediterranean deployment. Routine exercises and operations upon her return to Newport brought her to the end of 1967.

In August 1968, she and the DAVIS (DD-937) headed for the Western Pacific and Vietnam. After her crew had done a commendable job in salvaging the SAFEGUARD (ARS-25), she joined the gun line on 12 October. Five days later, her crew drew further commendations when they succeeded in freeing and towing a navy ship beached in enemy-held territory to safety. At month’s end, she surveilled enemy vessels around Nui Lo, North Vietnam. Making radar contact with two waterborne logistics craft at 0200 on 31 October, her gunners sank one and drove the other onto the beach. Her gunners then directed their fire at targets ashore. Coastal guns began firing on the PURVIS at 0635 expending about ninety rounds before the destroyer steamed out of range, returning fire as she went.

She was again under fire on 1 November as she shelled gun emplacements on Hon Matt Island. After three months of search and rescue operations in the Tonkin Gulf, carrier plane guard duty, and gun fire support near Qui Non, she left Vietnam on 3 February 1969. During her Vietnam tour, the PURVIS had fired 4,972 rounds. On 11 April, she was home in Newport. That fall, she was awarded her third consecutive Battle Efficiency “E”, as well as operations, engineering, and gunnery departmental “E”s.

From November 1969 to June 1970, the PURVIS was in non-operational, modified cadre status, during which the remaining crew kept her in material readiness for her new crew and her return to sea after six and one-half months. They were ready for the ship’s eleventh Mediterranean cruise that fall, which was followed by news of her proposed decommissioning in July 1972.  She was struck from the U.S. Navy’s list on 1 February 1973 and transferred to the Turkish navy.

The HUGH PURVIS was recommissioned as TCG ZAFER (D-356) and served there until 1993.

USS HUGH PURVIS DD-709 Ship History

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, April 2016

Hugh Purvis (DD-709) was launched by Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J., 17 December 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Mary Alice Purvis, widow of Corporal Purvis; and commissioned 1 March 1945, Comdr. B. L. Gurnette in command.

Following shakedown training in the Caribbean, Hugh Purvis transited the Panama Canal to take part in training exercises in Hawaiian waters after the close of World War II, returning to Casco Bay, Maine, 16 April 1946. After a long overhaul at New York she trained in the Caribbean and arrived her new homeport, Newport, 14 December 1946. Hugh Purvis sailed for her first European cruise 2 February 1947 and after exercises with allied ships in the north Atlantic, formed a part of America’s official party at the burial of King Christian of Denmark in April. The ship returned to Newport 14 August and took part in antisubmarine exercises off the New England coast the balance of the year.

Hugh Purvis departed Newport for her first cruise with the 6th Fleet 13 September 1948. For the next 5 months she took part in the fleet’s vital work of peace-keeping. Returning to Newport 10 February 1949, she operated from that port until sailing 27 June for New Orleans. Hugh Purvis made reserve training cruises out of the gulf port until returning to Newport and regular fleet duties 10 December 1950.

As the demands on the Navy increased during the Korean conflict, Hugh Purvis continued intensive readiness training. She made another Mediterranean cruise March to October 1951, and took part in another giant NATO cruise in August 1952. Another 6th Fleet cruise was completed in July 1953 after which the veteran ship embarked midshipmen for a Caribbean training cruise. She participated in Operation Springboard in the Caribbean before returning to Newport 23 November 1953.

Hugh Purvis spent 1954 on training operations on this side of the Atlantic, but sailed 5 January 1955 for another important deployment with the 6th Fleet. She returned 26 May to join a hunter-killer group in antisubmarine exercises until July 1956. On 2 July she sailed again for duty in the troubled Mediterranean, joining other 6th Fleet units in that ancient center of civilization. During this period, American power afloat did much to dampen the Suez crises and to discourage foreign interference in this vital area. While in the Persian Gulf in October 1956, Hugh Purvis acted as an escort vessel during evacuation of refugees from Haifa, Israel, and the removal of United Nations Truce Team officials from Gaza, Egypt.

During the summer of 1957, the destroyer took part in another midshipman training cruise to Chile and the Canal Zone, and operated with NATO units in the north Atlantic. In early 1958 she trained in the Caribbean, sailing 12 June for visits to NATO countries in northern Europe. It was during this crucial period that the 6th Fleet was proving its peace-keeping power in the Lebanon crisis, and was successful in preventing a leftist revolt.

After her return from Europe in August 1958 she began 16 months of training and experimental work with the Destroyer Development Group designed to increase her fighting capacity for the modern Navy. In March 1960 she entered Boston Naval Shipyard to begin a FRAM (Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization) overhaul, which included extensive refitting and the installation of a helicopter landing deck and hangar aft. Emerging with a greatly increased life span, the ship took part in antisubmarine exercises in January 1961, including the use of the new DASH antisubmarine drone helicopter. Hugh Purvis then sailed 8 March for her sixth deployment to the Mediterranean. During this cruise the fleet stood by for any eventuality during a deepening of the Berlin crisis, materially strengthening America’s hand in this confrontation of power. The ship returned to Newport 4 October 1961.

In January 1962, as the dawning space age increased America’s need for control of the sea, Hugh Purvis operated in the Atlantic recovery area, aiding in the historic recovery of Col. John Glenn’s Mercury space capsule. Sonar exercises occupied her until late October, when the introduction of offensive missiles into Cuba precipitated another cold war crisis. Hugh Purvis joined the quarantine line off Cuba, helping to force the withdrawal of the missiles-another dramatic example of the power of the fleet when firmly used in checking communism and keeping the peace. She returned to Newport 20 December 1962 and throughout the next year took part in antisubmarine exercises with ASW carriers and helicopters in the Atlantic.

The year 1964 found her preparing for her annual operational readiness inspection and in February of that year she entered the Boston Naval Shipyard for a regular overhaul. After overhaul and a new radar radome mounted on a 30-foot mast she began evaluation of a new ASW sensor. On 18 January 1965 she sailed from Newport to become an important part of Operation “Springboard”. At the completion of competitive year 1965, Hugh Purvis was awarded two Cruiser Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, departmental excellence awards in operations and weaponry. During the latter part of 1965 Hugh Purvis was adapted for a new conformed planar array sonar at the Boston Naval Shipyard. This new equipment will increase the “vision” of the Fleet thereby providing a better tool to safeguard the peace and freedom of the world and the future of the American way of life.

Ready for action 21 January 1966 Hugh Purvis operated along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean through most of the year. On 6 March she rescued fishing boat Good Will II and her crew of five. The destroyer sailed for the Mediterranean 29 November, and transited the Straits of Gibraltar 7 December to join the 6th Fleet. She operated in the eastern Mediterranean into 1967, protecting the peace and security of the free world.