The Ship's History

The USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853) enjoyed a rich and proud history during her service to the US Navy. The Jolly Cholly was truly a remarkable ship! Please peruse her history to learn more of her remarkable journey!


Christen by Mrs. Lillabel Roan
The USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853) was launched March 15, 1946 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Shipbuilding Division, Quincy, Mass., sponsored by Mrs. Lillabel Roan, and was commissioned September 12, 1946. DD-853 was named in honor of  Pfc. Charles Howard Roan, USMCR, who was killed in action during WW II.

Roan Sliding Off
The Charles H. Roan was a Gearing class destroyer. DD-815 was originally slated to be designated as the USS Charles H. Roan. However, construction was cancelled August 12, 1945.

The Charles H. Roan served primarily along the Atlantic seaboard during her active duty, and was home-ported in Newport, Rhode Island. Her operating areas ranged from the frigid Arctic to the steaming Persian Gulf, and her assignments took her around the world. In her combined voyages, Charles H. Roan crossed every major latitudinal and longitudinal division, except for the Antarctic Circle. She transited both the Panama and Suez Canals, rounded many capes, though never Cape Horn, and navigated several famous straits: Bab el Mandeb, Bonifacio, Gibraltar, Hormuz, Malacca, and Messina. Charles H. Roan even circumnavigated the the globe, and sailed with all of the fleets of the United States Navy as "All Fleet Trouble Shooters" during one deployment in 1958.

Her crew could claim status as Shellbacks (Equator), Polar Bears (Arctic Circle), Golden Dragons (International Date Line), and they were entitled to spit into the wind and wear a single earring in their left ear (round-the-world) in the days before men wore earrings merely for decoration and had to earn the right. She was a high-seas sailor's ship, great for earning certificates and bragging rights.

The USS Charles H. Roan was decommissioned in 1973, after a rich and proud career, and was subsequently transferred to the Turkish government on September 21, 1973. She was recommissioned the M Fevzi akmak (D-351) in the Turkish navy.

The 1940's

From her home port of Newport, RI, Charles H. Roan operated through 1950 on training exercises along the east coast, and in the Caribbean, which prepared her for the many and varied overseas deployments with which she made her contribution to the key role of the United Sates Navy in the preservation of peace throughout the world. Typifying the manifold missions of the destroyer, she trained with carriers and submarines, and in convoy escort exercises and amphibious operations.
In addition, she gave service as part of the midshipman training squadron, as an engineering school ship for Destroyer Force, Atlantic, and in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercises.
On her first overseas deployment, Charles H. Roan sailed from Newport, RI on February 9, 1948 for a cruise that took her to the Mediterranean Sea, and service with the Sixth Fleet, then into the Persian Gulf to assist in representing American strength in this critical area with the Middle East Force. She returned to Newport on June 26, 1948 and took up a schedule to prepare her for a 1949 Mediterranean tour.

The 1950's

In 1950 her armament was extensively altered. In 1952-53 she sailed with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and participated in "Mainbrace," a NATO-combined Fleet operation, during which the Roan sailed north of the Arctic Circle.
During the summer of 1953 she carried midshipmen to South American ports. On this cruise the Charles H. Roan crossed the Equator and Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
On August 2, 1954, Charles H. Roan stood down Narragansett Bay with her division (DesDiv 101) on the first leg of a round-the-world voyage. She passed through the Panama Canal, sailed on to the Western Pacific for five months of operations with the mighty Seventh Fleet, on patrol in the Taiwan Straits, and off Korea, and in carrier and amphibious exercises off Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines. The division departed from Subic Bay, P.I., on January 20, 1955, and continued westward to call at Singapore, Persian Gulf ports, transit the Suez Canal, and visit in the Mediterranean before returning home to Newport, RI on March 14, 1955. During this cruise, the Charles H. Roan crossed the Tropic of Cancer, International Date Line, the Equator, Longitude Zero, as well as circumnavigating the globe.
She resumed her training until July 7, 1955 when she was ordered north to take station as a picket off Iceland and Greenland during the flight of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Geneva Summit Conference.
Charles H. Roan's next Mediterranean cruise began with her sailing from Newport, RI on September 14, 1956 to join the Sixth Fleet. With the eruption of the Suez crisis that fall, she patrolled in the eastern Mediterranean, aiding in the prevention of further violence. Since the Suez Canal was now blocked, December found Charles H. Roan bound for the Cape of Good Hope, rounding the African continent for two months of duty with the Middle East Force. Between January 20 and 27, 1957, she served as flagship for the Force Commander in a passage up the Shatt-al-Arab to visit Basra, Iraq. Her return passage to Newport, RI found her rounding the the Cape of Good Hope once more, and she reached home on April 3, 1957, in good time to take part in the International Naval Review in Hampton Roads, VA in June, 1957. Late summer saw her crossing the Atlantic once more for visits to Plymouth, England, and Copenhagen, Denmark, while participating in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operation "Strikeback."
Charles H. Roan's 1958 midshipmen cruise is a striking illustration of naval reaction to an international emergency. Arriving at Annapolis, MD on July 12, 1958 to take midshipmen on board, Charles H. Roan got underway on what was to be a brief cruise. But plans swiftly changed with the outbreak of trouble in the Middle East which lead to the landing of United States Marines by the fleet in Lebanon. First, Charles H. Roan proceeded to Norfolk, VA to take on board additional stores and ammunition necessary for a lengthy deployment, then sailed south to escort an amphibious group to training operations designed as preparation for any extension of the Middle Eastern trouble. She proceeded on across the Atlantic, arriving at Naples, Italy on August 14, 1958 to transfer the midshipmen to other ships. Thus released, she sailed on to the coast of Lebanon, where she and Forrest Royal (DD872) patrolled in support of the forces ashore. New trouble flared up in the Far East, as the Chinese Communists menaced peace by resuming the bombardment of the Nationalist-held offshore islands. Charles H. Roan and Forrest Royal joined the Essex (CVA9) group, augmenting the screen of two destroyers already accompanying the Essex. The group passed through the Suez Canal on August 29, and until September 27, patrolled off Taiwan. Charles H. Roan's passage home to Newport, RI took her around the Cape of Good Hope. Charles H. Roan arrived home on November 18, 1958 to a colorful welcome in Narragansett Bay.
Adding to her list of historic operations, Charles H. Roan in the Summer of 1959, participated in Operation "Inland Sea," the first passage of a naval force through the Saint Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes. She visited many ports, and took part in the ceremonies dedicating the Seaway. She stopped at many ports, including Superior, Wisconsin, where Senator Wiley visited her.

The 1960's

March 31, 1960 once again found her arriving in the Mediterranean for a cruise which included duty with the key Middle East Force, cruising in the Red Sea, and visits to many Persian Gulf ports.
On returning home, Charles H. Roan took on duties as DesLant Engineering School Ship until July 1961 when she entered the New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York, for her FRAM (Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization) conversion.
Upon completing FRAM in June 1962, the ship sailed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for refresher training. She was back in Newport, Rhode Island, for two weeks before hastily departing for the Cuban Quarantine Operations.
In 1963, after a midshipmen cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Charles H. Roan was the third ship in the Atlantic Fleet to qualify with DASH (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopters), and the first ship to use these helicopters operationally.
Now a first-line ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) ship, Charles H. Roan again participated in a Mediterranean deployment with other units of the Sixth Fleet from April through August 1964. In November 1964, after her deployment to the Mediterranean and following a brief operating period with units of the Second Fleet, she entered Boston Naval Shipyard for a three month scheduled overhaul.
Leaving the yard in February 1965, she underwent refresher training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This training was interrupted when she deployed to the Dominican Republic during that crisis, bringing with her one of the first US Marine units to land in the Santo Domingo area. After her duties were completed in the Dominican Republic, Charles H. Roan departed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to complete her refresher training.
During the Middle East deployment in March and April of 1966, Charles H. Roan once again crossed the Equator. She returned to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal and completed operations with the Sixth Fleet for two months, then returned home to Newport, Rhode Island.
On September 12, 1966, Commander Raymond E. Ward USN, Commanding Officer, USS Charles H. Roan, hosted Mrs. Lillabel Roan, sponsor of the Roan, and mother of Charles Howard Roan, the ship's namesake to observe the 20th anniversary of the commissioning of the Roan. Later in September Charles H. Roan participated in joint Canadian/U.S. exercises, and paid another visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In January 1967, Charles H. Roan was underway again for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to undergo an Operational Readiness Inspection along with other ships of DesRon10 (Destroyer Squadron 10). She spent a week of heavy exercising in the area of anti-submarine warfare and Gun Fire Support prior to the scheduled ORI. She completed the ORI and proceeded to San Juan, Puerto Rico. From San Juan, she headed for Culebra where she did a Gun Fire Support exercise and later on ASW exercises in the operation area. The Bahamas and Virgin Islands where visited on this cruise before she headed home to Newport, RI. 
In March 1967, Charles H. Roan deployed to the Mediterranean again where she operated with the Sixth Fleet until the end of July. During this cruise she visited Tripoli, Libya, Valletta, Malta, Naples, Italy, Athens (Piraeus), Greece, Bodrum, Turkey, Cannes, France, Naples, Italy, Gibraltar, among others. Charles H. Roan also provided support to other US Navy ships during the Six Day War, and assisted in escorting the USS Liberty (AGTR-5) to Malta for repairs after her attack by Israeli forces.
Charles H. Roan returned to Newport, RI, in August, and remained there except for brief service for the America's Cup Races, held off Newport, RI. During the months of October and November she participated in ASW exercises in the North Atlantic. She returned to Newport, RI, in November and remained there for TAV and holiday leave while preparing for another Mediterranean deployment in January 1968.
From January 10, 1968 until May 20, 1968 Charles H. Roan once again visited the Mediterranean to serve with the Sixth Fleet. During this cruise she visited Rota, Spain, Valletta, Malta, Barcelona, Spain, Naples, Italy, Ibiza, Spain, and Rhodes, Greece. While at Rhodes, Roan assisted with the cleanup effort after the grounding of the USS Bache (DD470).
Charles H. Roan began a four month regular overhaul at Boston Naval Shipyard on July 15, 1968.

The 1970's

On April 5 1972 Charles H. Roan deployed from Newport, R.I. under the command of Cdr. C.P. Poreda, USN. She circumnavigated the globe with port calls (chronologically) at Port of Spain, Trinidad; Racife, Brazil; Luanda, Angola; Lourenco Marques, Mozambique; Port Louis, Mauritius; Saint-Denis, Reunion; Colombo, Sri-Lanka; Manama, Bahrain; Mombassa, Kenya; Victoria, Seychelles; Tamatave, Malagasy Republic; Nossi-Be, Malagasy Republic; Karachi, Pakistan; Singapore; Hong Kong; Yokosuku, Japan; Midway Island; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; San Diego, Calif.; Panama Canal, to return back to homeport at Newport, R.I. on October 31, 1972. During this cruise she entered Vietnamese territorial waters, but because of earlier propeller damage, was not an active participant in action in the area.
After a deployment stand down and participating in a few local training exercises, the effort of the crew was directed toward decommissioning activities. On the morning of September 21, 1973, under the command of Lcdr. D.P. Micalchuck, USN, Charles H. Roan was decommissioned at Newport, R.I. and immediately re-commissioned into the Turkish Navy as Maresal Fevzi Cakmak (D-351) under the command of Cdr. Erkan.


According to the 1990-91 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships (Captain Richard Sharpe, R.N., editor) Turkey had eight (8) Gearing-class destroyers: the former Eversole (DD-789), Robert H. McCard (DD-822), Fiske (DD-842), Norris (DD-859) Orleck (DD-886), Meredith (DD-890), and two from ex-DesDiv.102, the Forrest Royal (DD-872), now Adatepe (D-353), and Charles H. Roan (DD-853), now M Fevzi Akmak (D-351). The Forrest Royal had been purchased by Turkey on 15 February 1973, the Charles H. Roan transferred on 21 September 1973. Two additional Gearing-class destroyers are listed but under the heading of Carpenter-class - the Carpenter (DD-825) itself, and Robert M. Owens (DD-827). These had been specially fitted and re-classified as hunter-killers. The situation remained the same in the 1991-92 edition of Jane's. According to the 1993-94 edition Turkey retained the eight Gearing-class and two Carpenter-class ships but had also acquired the former Purvis (DD-709), a Sumner-class destroyer.
By 1994-95 only six Gearings remained in the Turkish fleet - the Norris and Forrest Royal having disappeared to unknown fates. This situation remained through 1996-97. By the 1997-98 edition, the Charles H. Roan had also vanished from the lists, along with the Eversole and Meredith.
By the 1998-99 edition of Jane's, only the McCard (now D-349) and Fiske (D-350) remained, plus the two Carpenter-class hunter-killer destroyers. A 1997 photo of the McCard (now Kili Ali Pasa) appears on page 719 of the 1998-99 issue of Jane's. Although dressed with flags, she looks battered, perhaps understandably. This still-operational vessel was more than 50 years old, with about equal time in the U.S. and Turkish navies! The Gearings were tough ships.
Incidentally, of the heros after whom the ships in DesDiv 102 were named, only Samuel B. Roberts (ex-DD-823) lives on with the Frigate Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58).


The information contained in this history of the USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853) is from a variety of sources.
  1. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (vol II, 1963, pp 76-77, CNO, Naval History Division.
  2. Jane's Fighting Ships, Capt. Richard Sharpe R.N.
  3. Various cruise books of the USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853).
  4. Various issues of The Jolly Cholly, periodical published by the USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853) Association.

Special thanks to Gene Wilken (Lt. early-50's) for his research, and most of all, for his time and effort.

Any information you can provide to help us complete, fill in, or correct our history records would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Richard Souza:, Joe Lambert:, or Ron Lucchesi: if you can help. Thank you.