BUCHANAN DDG 14
THE FINAL MISSION
On June 13, 2000 the USS Buchanan took part in the RIMPAC 2000 as a target
ship at Pacific Missile Range Facility, North of the Hawaiian Island of Kauia.
American, Canadian and Australian forces tried to sink her for more than
24 hours. She took Three hits from Hellfire missiles fired from SH-60 LAMPS helos; Three Harpoon Missiles fired from RAAF F-111 & US P-3 aircraft
and several allied ships; and a GBU-24 (2400 lb laser guided) bomb. The
USS Buffalo's MK-48 torpedo that was to have delivered the coup de grace
malfunctioned. Buchanan stayed afloat all night.
On the morning of June 14, 2000 EOD Team boarded her and placed 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.
At 21:26:30Z (11:26:30 AM HST) 14 June 2000 Davy Jones piped her aboard
at her final resting place of 22:54.38N, 160:27.68W , 64 Nautical Miles
from land in 2540 Fathoms of water.
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
Some of my Memories:
Keeping me warm in cold climates
Warmer then I wanted in others.
Ports of call that I still can see
Passageways in the dark
Sitting on the fantail having a smoke after a meal
Sunsets I wanted to shared with those I love
Quarters in the morning
Eggs to order
Shellbacks and pollywogs
Coffee so strong you could chew it
Work parties ?
What do you mean "we don't have a spare"
Air conditioned ? compartments
Sun bathing on the 01 level by mt 52
Going to P.I. baby (Subic)
Ship's store is now open
Well, the "The smoking lamp is out" for those that walked her
her brass and who gave her a clean sweep down fore and aft. As I look at
shattered hull I must say "Dam, she's still a great looking ship"
The Buchanan is now at rest in perpetual honor. Of the four ships used
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
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
surface of the Pacific Ocean. From the helicopter as the Buchanan was in
decent I spoke a prayer of gratefulness to God Almighty.
"Father in Heaven,
We are eternally grateful for the vigilant watch stood by the Buchanan
her men for liberty. America enjoys freedom today by the commitment of
yesterday's mighty. We thank you for Buchanan's men who were broken, for
those who were torn and for those who gave their own precious lives for
ours. By your divine will through the willful sacrifice of their time and
lives we have the privilege to speak this prayer. Father, admonish us of
those that have gone before us, grant us the attention to see and the
courage to act as the men of the Buchanan.
Buchannan slipped away late June14, 2000 exactly and precisely one year
from the day her first commanding officer Cdr. David Webster (RADM David
Webster) did. Some think that, wherever he is, he arranged the act and
the timing. Like the Pharohs, he now has his ship to carry him across the
A Tough and Gallant Lady
The glory days were over, after a long and proud career,
One last time underway, without a course to steer.
On the wrong end of a tow line, trailing in NAVAJO's wake,
A final time at sea, with her very life at stake.
BUCHANAN was her name, a feisty DDG,
A battle-scarred veteran, a warrior of the sea.
Pulled behind a fleet tug, enroute a point offshore,
She could feel a sense of danger, throughout her very core.
Knowing what was coming, she declined a show of fright,
She vowed to make it interesting, and not go without a fight.
First she shook her shackles, to once again be free,
But without a crew to man her, she couldn't try to flee.
Beneath the morning sun, another beautiful Hawaiian day,
Two helo's moved to close her, and let their HELLFIREs fly,
One dart hit to starboard, another burst up high,
But if they couldn't do any better, they shouldn't even try!
Next came a fast Aussie, a F-111 from the " down under,"
Firing a HARPOON with only TM, is like lightning without the thunder.
Now hit three times, she stood to take some more,
As inbound came the Orions, to put her on the ocean floor.
Two warheads hit to port, forward of the gun,
Still without a mortal injury, still too proud to run.
A repeat of the HELLFIREs, again they numbered two,
Again she shook them off, as only she could do.
"Death from above," failed to get the job done,
So next came an Aussie frigate, and they thought the war was won.
But again it was a TM round, with little bang for the buck,
Bring up the Canadian frigate, and let them try their luck.
A third warhead 'POON, up on the bow to port,
Flew through the hole of the others, as if a missile sport!
Next came that F-111, from down ol' King's Cross way,
Armed with a few two tonners, she hadn't come to play.
Two bombs left her wings, to even up the score,
And when the smoke had cleared, BUCHANAN's bridge was no more.
Forward of the ASROC, where her mast had once stood,
She had taken severe damage, and sink they thought she should.
Ten times they'd made her shudder, and injured did she feel,
But she still stood in dignity, upon an even keel.
No planes left to throw at her, the ships had also left,
Only one card left to play, the Silent Service at its best.
Sleek and silent, did the fast attack creep,
As she let loose a torpedo, from the dark and briny deep.
But BUCHANAN's luck held, and a hit was not achieved,
The fast attack soon departed, to join the others so aggrieved.
The weight of the fleet, they'd thrown at her today,
And when it was all over, she was the only one to stay.
She knew deep in her heart, that her time was coming near,
For tomorrow would bring a sunrise, EOD and scuttling gear.
But she had taken everything, they could throw at her today,
And she had lived as she was built, to go out in harm's way.
So when it is her time, to go down and sleep with Davy,
Her heart will still beat proud, this tough and gallant lady.
Rick Dillard OSCM(SW), USN
Coordinator SINKEX events within Third fleet waters
June 13, 2000