The year 1989 was extraordinarily busy for USS BUCHANAN (DDG 14). The Guided Missile Destroyer celebrated her twenty-seventh birthday and completed a Western Pacific/North Arabian Sea deployment with the USS RANGER battle group (Battle Group Echo).
The month of January began with an intense exercise (Readiex 89-2A) in preparation for the upcoming deployment. After the successful completion of Readiex 89-2A BUCHANAN was in port making final touches on preparations for deployment.
On 24 February, BUCHANAN deployed to the Western Pacific/North Arabian Sea. Other ships in company with BUCHANAN were the USS RANGER, USS CAMDEN, USS WILLIAM H. STANLEY, USS PAUL F. FOSTER, USS COOK, USS HAROLD E. HOLT and USS HOEL. Enroute to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the members of Battle Group Echo participated in Readiex 89-28. This final preparation for deployment climaxed on 07 March when BUCHANAN had two confirmed S-1-4-l (MR) missile kills (with one missile confirmed skin to skin) in a coordinated AAW missile exercise.
After a brief stay in Pearl Harbor, BUCHANAN sailed in company with the RANGER Battle Group to Subic Bay, RP. From 27 March to 02 April the ship was in port Subic Bay for a brief upkeep. Enroute to the North Arabian Sea BUCHANAN enjoyed a four-day visit to Singapore. After Singapore the ship transited the Malaccan Straits, completed a freedom of navigation mission of the northeast coast of the Maldives and arrived on station in the North Arabian Sea on 21 April.
BUCHANAN was assigned duties as AAW Picket Station and on 30 April the ship was enroute to Diego Garcia. After a five-day rest/ upkeep in Diego Garcia, BUCHANAN sailed to the Diego Garcia OPAREA for Battle Group Echo Weapons Week. On 18 May BUCHANAN successfully completed an attack on a surface target with an SM-1 (MR) AAW missile.
On 20 May, BUCHANAN was back on station in the North Arabian Sea and on 27 May the ship was enroute to the Persian Gulf for a port visit in the state of Bahrain. After her stay in Bahrain, BUCHANAN alternated assignments between northern AAW Picket Station and Earnest Will Missions (Merchant Escort Operations) in the Straits of Hormuz.
On 15 June the RANGER Battle Group was relieved by the USS AMERICA Battle Group. The RANGER Battle Group departed the North Arabian Sea; enroute to Australia.
BUCHANAN paid port visits to Bunbury, Australia (29 June to 05 July) , Subic Bay, RP (17 - 21 July and 30 July to 02 August) , Hong Kong (24 - 27 July) and Pearl Harbor (15 - 16 August). A spectacular and much awaited for homecoming greeted BUCHANAN on 23 August at Pier 1 Naval Station San Diego.
The 1989 deployment was extremely successful for BUCHANAN. This twenty-seven year old destroyer received numerous awards and was one of the shining stars of the battle group. For her Persian Gulf/ Earnest will operations BUCHANAN was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. The ship's supply department surpassed all others including USS CAMDEN in supporting Urgent Materials Screened (UMS) requests. The engineers consistently led all other ships in fuel conservation throughout the deployment. For excellent AAW performance and readiness BUCHANAN was runner up for COMNAVSURFPAC's AAW award. The ASW division placed third among nine in an ASW competition that lasted throughout the deployment and included other ships and squadrons whose primary mission in ASW. BUCHANAN also was COMDESRON TWO THREE's nomination for the Golden Anchor Award - an award given to those ships expelling in retention of naval personnel,
After deployment BUCHANAN spent the next month in port for a much needed leave and upkeep period.
BUCHANAN was underway again from 25 - 29 September for four days of local operations and on 7 - 11 October the ship was in San Francisco Bay for San Francisco's Fleet Week.
From 30 - 31 October BUCHANAN's supply department was once again evaluated outstanding by COMNAVSURFPAC's SMA team earning eligibility for the ship's first Supply Blue "E" during the Supply Management Assessment. Not only were improved grades received in three of the four functional areas, but inventory validity was the highest recorded in the Navy for the past two years.
Other divisions were also successful as Disbursing successfully passed the FAADCPAC Disbursing Audit on 13 - 15 November and the Radiomen completed COMNAVSUREPAC Tempest inspection with no discrepancies noted on 18 November.
Also on 18 November Commander Fred G. Cole relieved Commander Lee S. Gurke of command. Three days later BUCHANAN was at NAS North Island to offload her ASW weapons and then off the coast of California for search and rescue and Law Enforcement operations.
From 1 - 3 December, BUCHANAN conducted a weapons offload at sea with the USS MAUNA KEA. Over-1200 rounds of 5-inch ammunition, 1200 powders, 33 SM-1 (MR) missiles and 4 Harpoon missiles were offloaded from BUCHANAN without the assistance of aircraft.
After the extremely successful weapons offload BUCHANAN was assigned plane guard duties for the USS INDEPENDENCE before finally arriving in port San Diego for the Christmas/Holiday season.
During the year 1989, the 23 officers and 327 crewmembers of BUCHANAN traveled 50,807 nautical miles in 2000+ hours -of underway steaming in which the ship burned 3,412,774 gallons of DFM. The ship completed 32 unreps and the crew consumed 74,099 meals at a cost of $298,543.00. The ship expended 554 rounds of 5" ammunition and fired 3 SIM-1 (MR) missiles.