During the calendar year 1974 the Guided Missile Destroyer USS BUCHANAN (DDG-14), under the command of Lieutenant Commander james G. ROCHE, fulfilled the many tasks which were assigned to her as part of the Cruiser Destroyer Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
BUCHANAN welcomed the new year as she transited the Indian Ocean enroute to Singapore. After enjoying a brief stay, BUCHANAN continued her trip east to Subic Bay wehre she spent the next two weeks in an upkeep status. While in Subic Bay, BUCHANAN was visited by RADM WOODS, COMCRUDESPAC, RADM MEYERS, COMCRUDESFOR SEVENTH FLEET and VADM STEELE, COMSEVENTHFLT. All three senior officers were impressed by BUCHANAN's performance while in the Indian Ocean and in particular by the improvement noted in all areas of material and combat readiness. During this same time frame BUCHANAN had the pleasure of being the flagship for Commodore T.I. Kolstad and his Destroyer Squadron THIRTY ONE Staff. Although embarked for only a short while, Commodore Kolstad had the opportunity to observe several operations aboard BUCHANAN prior to her departure for San Diego.
BUCHANAN's crew members enjoyed several port visits during her return voyage where they were able to observe various cultural points of interest such as Hong Kong, Kaohsiun, Taiwan, and Yokosuka, Japan. On 22 February BUCHANAN departed Yokosuka and began the final leg of her transit home. Extremely heavy weather was experienced throughout most of the transit, which made navigation and underway operations very difficult. However, as BUCHANAN drew closer to the California coast, the weather finally broke allowing her to complete a successful full power run and arrive in San Diego on the afternoon of 8 March. Because BUCHANAN was scheduled to enter into her regular overhaul (ROH) soon, several civilians from the Boston Naval Shipyard were aboard during the return transit conducting preoverhaul tests and inspections (POT and I).
After her arrival in San Diego, BUCHANAN's sailors enjoyed a well deserved thirty day post deployment leave and upkeep period. Following this period, BUCHANAN continued the POT and I. These tests included a comprehensive equipment checkout of all major systems in order to better prepare for the ensuring regular overhaul. Completion of these tests in late May meant BUCHANAN was once again available for operational commitments and also coincided with a trip to the Naval Weapons Station at Seal Beach.
After stopping for a weapons loadout, BUCHANAN was assigned as Engineering School Ship for the month of June. Later that same month, BUCHANAN was underway for Santa Barbara and represented the Navy in the Santa Barbara Sports Festival. During the four days in Santa Barbara the crew enjoyed numerous sporting events and hosted several thousand visitors. Upon her return to San Diego, BUCHANAN continued in her role as host ship for the fourth of July holidays. Once again, many civilians visited the ship, receiving and orientation tour explaining the various systems and operations of a naval vessel. These tours were conducted by volunteers from the crew.
Following her visit ship duties, BUCHANAN entered an extensive upkeep period which lasted through the first week of September. During the this period, the ship received the word that BUCHANAN had won the annual competition for the Commander Cruiser Destropyer Force, Pacific, awards for excellence in the fields of Anti-Submarine Warfare, Missiles, Gunnery, Operations, and Engineering. It was also during this time frame that BUCHANAN was announced as the winner of the Pacific Fleet's Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy for being the most improved unit in the area of combat readiness. Thus, after a two year struggle, the men of the "New BUCHANAN" had emerged as a publically acknowledged winning team.
During the extended upkeep period in August, BUCHANAN was chosen as the platform for two CNO projects, HIP POCKET III and the operational test and evaluation of the AN/SPS-55 radar. With installation of the AN/SPS-55 radar project complete, BUCHANAN got underway for her first week of project operations on 9 September. After running a series of underway tests, BUCHANAN participated in COMTUEX 10-74. Completion of this exercise led to port visits in San Francisco and Monterey. While in Monterey, the ship's officers were afforded the opportunity to take a first hand look at the Naval Postgraduate School. For others these visits represented the first chance to enjoy major U.S. liberty ports.
After weighing anchor in Monterey, BUCHANAN stopped at the Pacific Missile Range where the TARTAR Missile Fire Control Team once again displayed their proficiency by scoring a direct hit on a drone target. Successfully completing this assignment, BUCHANAN stopped at Long Beach to affect minor repairs, after which she returned to San Deigo to commence a three week upkeep period for final installation of the HIP PCKET III project equipments.
Following this upkeep, BUCHANAN was involved with several underway periods while conducting special operations associated with the CNO projects. Upon completion of all the required special operations, BUCHANAN entered an upkeep period in early December for the deinstallation of the CNO projects and a pre-ROH maintenance availability. Once again it was BUCHANAN's pleasure to serve as DESRON 31 flagship. However, this time BUCHANAN hosted her new squadron commander, Commodore Paul Lautermilch, who had assumed his duties during the spring months.
The year 1974 came to a close with BUCHANAN in a long deserved holiday leave and upkeep period. For BUCHANAN and her crew, 1974 will be highlighted by memories of accomplishments and rewards. Most importantly, 1974 ends with hopes for an equally successful upcoming year.