The year 1991 was a busy year for USS BUCHANAN (DDG 14) marked by many inspections, audits, exercises, and decommissioning plans. BUCHAUAN celebrated her twenty-ninth birthday, but unfortunately, never got underway to prove her might as a worthy warship. However, her crew was very busy in preparing for her final day as a commissioned warship.
BUCHANAN spent her first month of the year in holiday standdown and in preparations for an underway deployment near South America. Unfortunately, the underway time never materialized because of a major casualty to the forward sonar dome, a casualty for which repair funding was not allocated. At the end of January, BUCHANAN began her preparation for the upcoming INSURV Inspection in may 1991.
On 11 February 1991, BUCHANAN saw her last underway period, although it was only a dead stick move from pier One to pier Thirteen. Nonetheless, the crew remained alert and positive as BUCHANAN was underway for the last time. Many exercise and training evolutions took place while the ship was in port. The crew's readiness levels grew as a direct result of the various training evolutions. The month ended with a safety standdown in which one hundred percent participation was achieved.
The month of March was filled with more exercise and training evolutions. On 15 ,March 1991, BUCHANAN had the honor of hosting HMCS MACKENZIE during her visit to San Diego.
On 23 April 1991, BUCHANAN's crew received their next set of Permanent Duty Station assignments. The Command sent three representatives to BUPERS to negotiate orders for the crew. Personal desires and the Navy's needs were taken into consideration. In the end, all crewmembers were satisfied with the results.
BUCHANAN underwent her INSURV Inspection from 13 May to 17 May 1991. The inspectors were impressed by the outstanding material condition of a twenty-nine year old ship. It was the last time the engineering spaces would ever see steam again as BUCHANAN completed the Inspection satisfactorily, and was certified fit for further service. Particularly commendatory was the flawless condition of the communications equipment.
4 June 1991, BUCHANAN's experienced one of her last official Changes of Command. CDR Fred' G. Cole was relieved by the Executive Officer, LCDR Calvin D. G. Willard, who assumed duties as Officer in Charge. BUCHANAN's last official Commanding Officer served her well and set the tone for her final days as a commissioned warship.
The Welfare and Recreation Fund successfully passed an audit on 8 July 1991. BUCHANAN also served her final time as a Midshipman Training Platform, and experienced her last Change of Command when LCDR Vincent A. Squitieri, formerly BUCHANAN's Chief Engineer, relieved LCDR Calvin D. G. Willard. At the end of July, the crew moved off the ship for berthing reassignments, and BUCHANAN served her last meal on 29 July 1991.
The final industrial availability, performed by Campbell Shipyards, commenced in BUCHANAN on 29 July 1991 in preparation for her decommissioning on 1 October 1991 and towing to Hawaii beginning on 15 October 1991.
The Disbursing officer successfully passed a surprise FAADCPAC Cash Account Audit conducted from 29 July to 2 August 1991. During the months of August and September the crew spent numerous hours preparing the ship for her decommissioning.
USS BUCHANAN (DDG 14) was decommissioned along with USS ROBISON
(DDG 12) and USS LYDE MCCORMICK (DDG 8) at Pier Thirteen, Naval
Station San Diego, California on 1 October 1991 after twenty-nine years
of outstanding service to the United States Navy. Her final days ended in
a historic ceremony commemorating her on a job well done.