The Newsletter of the
June 26, 2000                 Vol. II., No. 2                 Editor: David B. Malone
Well, we finally got it off the ground. The USS Buchanan Association had it's first reunion, and it was as grand success. The reunion took place on June through June in Timonium, MD, just outside of Baltimore. It was attended by 15 members of the Buchanan Association, 9 wives, 1 son, and two guest members from the Charles F. Adams Class Association. Much was accomplished. Old friends got re-acquainted, new friends were made, and the Association was solidified in a membership meeting. Above all, we had a really good time together. A detailed report will be found in this newsletter. For those who weren't there, all I can say is that you missed a great time.
Just some quick information that you should take note of. It was decided that the next major reunion (a National Reunion) of the Buchanan Association will occur in San Diego in late February or early March of 2002. This time we may go with a contractor to organize this for us. Rob Browning is investigating this and information will be forth coming. There will also be a smaller, informal, local reunion to take place in Pensacola, FL in the fall of 2001. Jim Wallace is taking the point on that one, and is looking into it. So, if you wish to go to either reunion, circle those months on your calendar.
At the business meeting during the reunion, the membership voted to have a yearly dues. This will help pay for the cost of printing and mailing newsletters for those who do not have internet access, and will also help to cover any costs incurred in the operation of the Association. The dues has been set at $14.00 per year, with the year running June 1 to May 31. We all felt that the number 14 was symbolic for us, and that it would also be easy to remember. You will soon receive a form to be filled out and sent in with your dues to the Treasurer.
Also, it should be noted that Buchanan will be no more by the time this newsletter hits the streets. As I write this, Buchanan is anchored out off Hawaii and is awaiting a sinkex as part of Rimpac 2000. Her demise could have been worse. She could have been scrapped, or worse yet, she could have suffered the fate of becoming a power barge. I think my former CO, Roger Barnett expressed it best, "In some ways it's kind of noble that the ship should be devoted to helping others practice the art of fighting." I couldn't have put it better myself. This issue will include a more definitive article about her end.
Also, you will find the usual list of new members who have signed on since the last issue came out in early March, and you'll find the usual Sea Story of the Quarter. Lord knows, I heard enough of those at the reunion.
So, sit back, relax, and read about the first all hands reunion of USS
Report on the Baltimore Reunion
The first reunion of the USS Buchanan (DDG-14) Association was held Thursday, June 1 through Sunday, June 4 at the Holiday Inn Select in Timonium, MD. In attendance were 15 former Buchanan sailors at the reunion, 8 wives, and one son.
We were also joined by two representatives from the Charles. F. Adams Class Association; Bart Bartholomew (RDC, ret) of the USS Joseph Strauss Association and Len Gordon of the USS Conyngham Association. For those who are unfamiliar with them, Bart and Len have been right by our side as advisors from the very first day the Buchanan Association was being formed. They guided us around a lot of pot holes, pointed out resources, and supplied us with great advise in planning the reunion. They both had one more aiding role to fulfill during the business meeting, and were invited by Dino and myself to the reunion.
The fun began in the afternoon of June 1st when the hospitality room was opened. We had 11 Buchanan men show for Thursday afternoon. Shipmates were reunited and new friends were made. It soon became apparent that we had all been sailors. The sea stories got longer and longer as afternoon wore into evening.
The entire crew went out to eat at a local restaurant, and then returned to the hospitality room where a surprise was being kept under wraps. Rob Browning had purchased a copy of a 1964 Navy training film, Who needs you, Buchanan? We were able to view it, courtesy of the Northrop Grumman Corporation which provided the loan of a TV and VCR. Many thanks to member George Perkins who arraigned for the loan. The film, which had been shot aboard Buchanan, was enjoyed by all. A few of the crew members in the film were even recognized by some of those in attendance.
The next morning, a number of people set off on Baltimore's light rail system for a tour of the Baltimore waterfront. We had a nice look at the former USS Constellation, the last all-sail ship built by the US Navy in 1854. We also enjoyed an air conditioned bus tour (it was extremely hot) of the city of Baltimore. And then it was back to the hotel for the Association banquet.
We were joined by four more Buchanan sailors in the hospitality room during the cocktail hour. The banquet was probably the high point of the reunion, as it should be. Rob Browning led us in a prayer before the meal, which was a sumptuous fair of roast top sirloin of beef with burgundy mushroom sauce or grilled herbed breast of chicken with butter sauce. After the meal was finished, a toast was raised to USS Buchanan, to which all drank. There were two former Commanding Officers in attendance (Bill Parks and Jim Roche) and one former Executive Officer (Fran Holian) and they were asked to stand and be recognized. Bart Bartholomew then took the podium and gave a rather moving speech in welcoming the USS Buchanan Association into the fold of the other Charles F. Adams Class Ship Associations. He then called Dean Myers and Dave Malone to the podium and presented each with a wooden ball point pen, highlighted with the words "USS Buchanan" and an Adams Class DDG silhouette laser burned into it. The presentation was made for their work in forming the association.
After the banquet was over, all retreated to the hospitality room for a second viewing of Who Needs You, Buchanan, and the viewing of other home made films taken aboard Buchanan off the coast of Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Association's business meeting was held the next morning. This was important as it formalized the Association's existence. Bart Bartholomew was kind enough to chair the beginning portion to establish the Association and to hold elections, and Len Gordon was good enough to keep the minutes of the meeting. We were established, officers were elected, and the future of the organization was decided, all done in 90 minutes time. The minutes of the meeting are printed separately in this newsletter.
The afternoon was left to the wishes of the individual. I, myself, visited Fort McHenry with Rob Browning and his wife Marian, and Mark Falade. Rob, Mark, and I had served aboard Buchanan together in the late 1970s, so our private outing had some significance to us. Once again, the crew gathered for dinner, this time at a local Mexican restaurant, and spent the remainder of the evening in the hospitality room, which by this point had become the hotel's "sea story central."
The next morning brought the departure breakfast. Our last chance to gather together, share old memories, and say our good byes until next time.
All in all, I would have to say that the reunion was a huge success. It was
enjoyed thoroughly by all, and our Association became a reality.
Minutes of the Business Meeting;
USS Buchanan (DDG-14) Association
June 3, 2000
Meeting called to order at 09:10 for USS Buchanan (DDG-14) by Dave Malone.
Called Bart Bartholomew from the USS Joseph Strauss Association to the chair to form the Association and handle elections.
A motion was made by Rob Browning to form the USS Buchanan (DDG-14) Association, and was seconded by Bruce Baile. The motion passed by voice vote. Buchanan now a formal association.
The chair entertained nominations for the post of President. A motion was made by Jim Wallace to nominate Dave Malone for President, and was seconded by Odis Chancellor. There being no other nominations, the motion passed by voice vote, with no nay votes. Dave Malone elected President.
The Chair entertained nominations for the post of Vice President. A motion was made by Mark Falade to nominate Dean Myers for Vice-President, and was seconded by Dave Malone. There being no other nominations, the motion passed by voice vote, with no nay votes. Dean Myers elected Vice-President.
The Chair entertained nominations for the post of Secretary. A motion was made by Dean Myers to nominate Rob Browning for Secretary, and was seconded by Dave Malone. There being no other nominations, the motion passed by voice vote, with no nay votes. Rob Browning elected Secretary.
The Chair entertained nominations for the post of Treasurer. A motion was made by Dave Malone to nominate Dick Zimmermann for Treasurer, and was seconded by Dave Casmier. There being no other nominations, the motion passed by voice vote, with no nay votes. Dick Zimmermann elected Treasurer.
The Chair was turned over by Bart Bartholomew to the newly elected President.
A motion was made by Dave Casmier, and seconded by Tim Nightingale to establish dues, to be set at $14.00 per year and to be paid to the treasury by check to USS Buchanan Association. Dues will run from June 1 to May 31. The motion passed by voice vote, with no nay votes.
A motion by Jim Wallace, and seconded by Mark Falade to have a regional mini-reunion in Sept 2001 at Pensacola, FL. The motion passed by voice vote, with one nay vote. Jim Wallace will look into the reunion set up in Pensacola.
A motion by Jim Wallace, and seconded by Mark Falade to have a National reunion in late February or early March, 2002 in San Diego. The motion passed by voice vote, with no nay votes. Rob Browning will contact ML&RS (Military Locator & Reunion Services) for setting up the San Diego reunion and approximate costs.
A motion was made by Dave Casmier to purchase a USN plaque from Jim Wallace for annual recognition of Association officers, and was seconded by Robin Browning. The cost will be $30.00 plus the cost of engraving name plates. Half of the $30.00 to be paid to Jim Wallace who manufactured the plaque. He would donate the other half to the treasury. The motion passed by voice vote, with no nay votes.
A motion by Mark Falade to adjourn at 10:40, and was seconded by all. The motion passed, with no nay votes.
A Report from our Treasurer, A Report from our Treasurer,
This is a report from retired FTMC Burnz who was working at Barking Sands Missile Range at Kauai, Hawaii. Near by is where Buchanan met her fate and where she will rest forever. He gives a good eye witness account of what happened to Buchanan. With his permission, I am printing it for the membership.-The Editor
After retiring I returned home to the island of Kauai, Hawaii and went to work as an electronics technician for the operations & maintenance contractor at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands. I have been here nearly 17 years now.
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you of
the passing of a Great Gray Lady. On 13 June 2000, as part of RIMPAC 2000
exercises, USS Buchanan (DDG- 14) was used as a target hulk. She took hits from
Hellfire missiles fired from SH-60 LAMPS helos; Harpoon Missiles fired from RAAF
F-111 & US P-3 aircraft and several allied ships; and a GBU-24 bomb. The USS
Buffalo's MK-48 torpedo that was to have delivered the coup de grace
malfunctioned. Buchanan stayed afloat all night. At 2130Z (11:30 AM HST) 14 June
2000 she was sunk by EOD placed charges and Davy Jones piped her aboard at her
final resting place of 22? 53? N 160? 22?W. She is in good company as Somers
(DDG-34) and Badger (FF-1071), who met similar fates on 22 July 1998, rest
nearby. They are scheduled to be joined by Ramsey (FFG-2) and USNS General Hugh
J. Gaffey (TAP-121) on 15 June 2000, and by Worden (CG-18) on 17 June 2000.
Please keep your association going even though your fine ship is no longer with
us. Best regards to you and all the members.
The Buchanan is now at rest in perpetual honor. Of the four
ships used for targets in RIMPAC 2000 the Buchanan was the only ship that
resolutely stayed afloat and required EOD to scuttle her. The comments through
out range control were "we should build them like that now" "they don't build
them like that any more" "the Buchanan is tough". These comments were made with
great admiration for the survivability of the Buchanan. My team was on board for
:39 minutes placing 200 pounds of C-4 in predetermined locations. Sixteen
minutes and three seconds after igniting the time fuse the Buchanan gracefully
in a bow down attitude slid below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. From the helicopter as the Buchanan was in her decent I spoke a prayer of gratefulness to
Here is another report of the Buchanan sinkex, taken from the Rimpac 2000 web site.
During the tests on June
13, the ex-Buchanan proved the most resilient. survived an initial barrage of
three Hellfire missile hits, three harpoon hits and a 2,400-pound laser-guided
bomb. When the ship wouldn't sink that night, the next morning 200 pounds of
explosives were added to send the ex-Buchanan to her final resting-place. The
assaults against the ex-Ramsey and the ex-Gen. Hugh J. Gaffey were launched on
June 15. Both vessels sank after taking multiple hits for more than an hour.
The loss of the ship provoked some strong memories in the crew. After all, she was our home. Some of us lived aboard her for as long as five years, and became men within her haze gray hull. Dave Casmier wrote down some of the memories that he has about Buchanan, and they are printed here with his permission. -The Editor
You know as men who have served aboard Buchanan we've always wanted the best for the ol 'Gal. Ya', she was a pain some times, but she also took care of us. These are some of my Memories. Please feel free to add your own.
Keeping me warm in cold climates.
Well, the "The smoking lamp is out" for those that walked her decks, polished her brass and who gave her a clean sweep down fore and aft. As I look at her shattered hull I must say "Dam, she's still a great looking ship." Your Shipmate, Dave Casmier
The following are new members of the USS Buchanan (DDG-14) Association who have joined us since our last newsletter was published. I'm sure that you will join me in welcoming them all aboard.
Odis Chancellor, ETC, 1961-63
Dave Cote, HTFN, 1982
Joseph Giardina, EM2, 1961-3
Eddie Hart, IC2, 1970-73
Leon Hubner, SK3, 1969-72
Bill Johnson, OS2, 1977-79
Herb Kohnke, BT3, 1988-91
Jeffrey T. Koon, EN3, 1984-87
David Lyon, FTGSN, 1975-77
Frank Meade, BT2, 1986-87
Rob Nargi, FTG2, 1983-86
Randy Nolan, MM3, 1977-80
Stephen B. Smeltzer, ETN2, 1969-72
Michael (Tony) Smith, FTM1, 1982-86
Ed Vasquesz, OS3, 1984-86
Randy Vopel, OS1, 1971-74
The Ship's Store is now open
During the reunion, it was decided that the Association would have a Ship's Store. It will serve two purposes. A. It will provide the membership with a means of obtaining certain items, such as ball caps, patches, mugs, tea-shirts, pens, etc. which we could at one time purchase in Buchanan's Ship's Store. B. It would provide a means of building up the Buchanan Association's treasury. To that end, we have established a Ship's Store. It will be managed by Rob Browning. Very soon, if not already, you will be able to see photos of the items carried by the Ship's Store on our web site. At present date, we are able to carry the following items.
Video: Who Need You, Buchanan?; 28 minutes, in color, VHS format; This the video format of a 1964 Navy training film about the role of the destroyer, shot aboard Buchanan. It was shown at the Baltimore reunion and was enjoyed by all. Price: $20.00.
Buchanan bumper stickers; (we have only 45 of these) Liberated from the Buchanan Ship's store by the Decomm crew. Price: $3.00 ea. shipping included.
Wind Breaker; Lined, Blue. Includes your name on the right breast; Bart brought one of these to the Baltimore reunion. Specify size, S,M,L,XL,XXL Price: $40.00
Ball Point; Pen Wooden body, laser engraved with ship's silhouette and USS Buchanan (DDG-14). Price: $12.50
Glass square "sun catcher"; Price: $12.50
Glass beer mug; Price: $12.50
Glass coffee mug; Price: $12.50
Shipping and Handling fees:These are the items that we are now able to offer. Soon, we hope to offer the same coffee cups that you used to be able to purchase aboard Buchanan. We hope to also carry Buchanan ball caps, patches, and many other items in the near future. Place your orders with:
Make your check payable to USS Buchanan Association, and please include the appropriate shipping charge. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.
A message from the Treaurer.
The following shipmates will be sent copies of both the Who Needs You, Buchanan? and the reunion banquet tapes, per orders placed at the reunion:
-Dick Zimmermann; Treasurer
Rob Browning will send the Who Needs You, Buchanan tape; Odis
Chancellor will send the banquet tape. Since Odis still prefers semaphore over
new-fangled contraptions like e-mail, I'll get this message to him in another
Dino has kindly agreed to continue the duties of keeping track of the association membership. Sort of a one man membership committee. He has asked me to remind you that if you change your address, telephone number, or your ISP, to please notify him immediately. Our records are only as good as their accuracy.
Sea Story of the Quarter
This is one of my fondest memories of WestPac 79. It occurred during the very first few days of the cruise. I hadn't thought a whole lot about it until my former CO, Roger Barnett, reminded me of the incident about a month ago. He wasn't supposed to know about it, but I guess he found out anyway.
The Buchanan apparently had come a long way in the years previous to 1979. In 1974 she won
the Arleigh Burke Award, which was for the most improved unit in the Pacific
fleet. We had been trying to continue that tradition ever since. Buchanan was in
excellent fighting trim, thanks to a skipper who kept after us night and day,
making sure that if the ship had to fight that she and her crew would be more
than up to the task. So, imagine our surprise (and perhaps a bit of resentment)
when the squadron E when to the USS Brooke (FFG-1). As far as we were concerned,
that E painted proudly on her stack was rightly the property of USS Buchanan
(DDG-14) and her crew.
Well, things have a way of evening out some. Buchanan,
along with the rest of DesRon31, got underway for WestPac on February 21, 1979.
We were bound for Pearl Harbor for a bit of well deserved R&R, on our way to
the front lines of the Cold War with the Soviet Union...the Western Pacific.
We had been at sea for just one day when the ship decreased her speed and went DIW,
dead-in-water. When things like that occur, a sailor will sit and wait, and
stare patiently at the 1MC for the message that he knows is coming. And come it
did, along with the shrill sound of the Bosun's pipe. It was the "All Hands"
call...the long, long version. That meant one thing. The old man had a message
for us, and with the ship at DIW, things didn't look too good. "This is the
Captain speaking. Apparently the USS Brooke has had an engineering malfunction,
and is unable to get underway again. Since we have two engines rather than one,
we have been ordered to send her a tow line and we will proceed to tow her until
we meet the tug being sent to us from Pearl Harbor." And with the departing
voice of the bosun of the watch "That is all", we were left in silence.
Resignation of the situation changed to anger, and changed again to frustration.
"Hey, that one screw ship is going to kill our liberty in Pearl." "Not fair,
man!" And so the crew did what it did best. It grumbled and groused about the
situation. But a good sailor knows how to take a bowl of lemons and make the
most splendid lemonade.
About an hour later a group of sailors began making
their way from the ASROC deck down along the port side O1 level and down the
port side ladder to the main deck. This is where I caught sight of the crowd.
What's going on here? I wondered. Why is this big group of sailors making their
way to the fantail, and why those smiling faces? And then I saw why. Like a
group of players in a Chinese New Year parade carrying a long paper dragon,
raising it and dipping it as they went, the sailors had the longest cotton sheet
I had ever seen. On closer inspection I saw that it was actually several bed
sheets sewn together, end on end. Realizing what they were up to, I quickly
joined the crowd and laid a hold of the sheets has we headed for the fantail
where the tow line could be seen stretching back to Brooke, some 200 yards
Using the lifelines as a support, the sheet was stretched from one side
of the fantail to the other, securely fastened to the lifeline. Painted on the
sheets, facing outward for every man jack on the Brooke to see was
We wondered what kind of reaction we were going to
get out of the Brooke. It didn't take too long to find out. Like prairie dogs
popping up out of their holes, one after another pair of binoculars began
popping up on the bridge wings of the Brooke and on the signal bridge. We were
getting our desired effect. They may have had the squadron E, but the squadron E
was being towed to Pearl Harbor by Buchanan.
Soon, we noticed a flurry of activity on the fantail of the Brooke. What was going on there? What was that,
flashing in the sun? "Hey", exclaimed one of our crew, "The rotten SOB's are
putting a rat guard on the tow line!" And so they were, and we watched
dumbfounded as a deck hand on Brooke lashed the tin funnel tightly onto the
Well, that certainly stole some thunder from our act of defiance.
Jubilation turned to glee, however, when a bosun observed that the deck hand had
inadvertently lashed rat guard on backwards. We had been there a few minutes,
and we'd had our fun. It hadn't occurred to us what the bridge might think about
it, until the fun was had. So, we did what came natural. We all dispersed in
different directions before the brass found out. And apparently, it had been a
pretty well kept secret. Maybe someone paid off the after lookout to not report
it? We never heard another word about it. We'd had our fun, all the while
showing the Brooke which ship in the squadron was truly the most outstanding.
Got a good sea story to share? Send them in to me at 32 Tudor Village, Seneca Falls, NY 13148, or to Malonedave@aol.com. I'll see that it gets published and that you get the credit for the story.
This poem is from my old LPO in OI division, Bill Johnson. He found it on a web site. Apparently, it is anonymous and was left at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It's quite moving, and I wanted to share it with you all. -The Editor
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