First Line period 63 days
March 16, 1972 –COMDESRON 31 aboard - Arrived Da Nang, South Vietnam Commanding General 196th Infantry Brigade can aboard for briefing. Proceeded to station.
March 16-17 ,1972 Provided NGFS returned to Da Nang at daybreak – COMDESRON #31 Departs ship for 1 week briefing.
March 17-19, 1972 returned to NGFS station providing Harassment and Interdiction Fire at night/fuel and ammunition during daylight.
March 19, 1972 entered/left Da Nang Harbor
March 19-24, 1972 returned to NGFS station providing Harassment and Interdiction Fire at night/fuel and ammunition during daylight.
March 24, 1972 Entered Da Nang Harbor to Pick up COMDESRON 31
March 24 -27 1972 returned to NGFS station providing Harassment and Interdiction Fire at night/fuel and ammunition during daylight. Daylight March 24, 1972 anchored 5900 yards off shore at DMZ because of poor visablity.
March 27, 1972 Entered Da Nang Harbor
March 27 -29, 1972 returned to NGFS station providing Harassment and Interdiction Fire at night/fuel and ammunition during daylight.
March 29, 1972 Entered Da Nang Harbor
March 29 -31, 1972 returned to NGFS station providing Harassment and Interdiction Fire at night/fuel and ammunition during daylight
Buchanan was only ship on station at the mouth of the Cua Viet River just south of the DMZ at the start of what was to be called the Easter Offensive. With in hours she was joined by USS Waddell DDG 24 and USS J. Strauss DDG 14. For week these three ships fired on enemy tanks and troops crossing the DMZ. Providing cover for U.S Marine spotter team at A2, cover fire while Captain John Ripley set charges to destroy the bridge crossing the Cua Viet River at Dong Ha the evening of April 2, 1972. Severely slowing the enemy advance. On April 1,1972 Buchanan was credited with destroying four tanks, Other unconfirmed reports add from 3 – 5 more tanks destroyed to Buchanan. On night of April 3-4 the three DDG’s provide cover for evacuation of South Vietnamese Naval Base at the mouth of the Cua Viet River.
On the Afternoon of April 5, 1972 "Freedom Train" with Buchanan firing the first rounds into North Vietnam since Operation Sea Dragon" in 1968. This consisted of teams of three to four destroyers to bombard military targets as transshipment points, bridges, barracks, petroleum pumping stations, radar and SAM sites, and providing suppressing fire on coastal gun sites.
April 10-14, 1972 Replaced shot out gun barrels with new from USS Samuel Gompers AD 31 in Da Nang Harbor This was first time in Vietnam war that US war ship had undergone repair in a forward combat zone. Work was done during day light only as precaution against sapper/underwater swimmer attacks. Work was done night of April 11-12 and attempted the next night but was ordered out shortly after dark because of intelligence reports.
April 15-16 1972 FREEDOM TRAIN operation in North Vietnam waters
April 17, 1972 While in operation with USS Oklahoma City (CLG 5) and USS Hamner (DD718) conducting NGFS Mission 1322 in vicinity of Tho Vinh North Vietnam Buchanan received incoming fire from what is believed to be 120MM or 130 MM shore guns. The ship was at 19 degrees 13 North 105 Degrees 505 East on course 198 when struck on 01 deck Starboard side at frame 160. Resultinng is following casualties SN Leonard D. Davis KIA, SA Gary D Shropshire foot wound, Other receiving cuts and bruises Robert S. Nemmers, CSSN Thomas C Belgard, SA Vincent G. Guerro, SD3 Primictis J. Beltran, EMC Frederick J. Shortreed Jr., GMG3 Danny K. Hammond, and CS3 Frank S. Musiol. SN Davis and SA Shrophire Medivac to USS Chicago (CLG 11).
April 17 -18, 1972 Contunued to conduct NGFS missions in North Vietnamese water Steaming with USS Hamner (DD 718), USS McKenzie (DDG 7) and USS Stoddert (DDG 22)
April 19-24, 1972 Under went repairs for USS Hector (AR 7) in Da Nang Harbor
April 24- 29 , 1972 Plane Guard Duties for USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) On Yankee Station
April 30-May 8 , 1972 Returned to FREEDOM TRAIN operation off North Vietnamese coast
May 9, 1972 - Buchanan lead a five destroyer daylight attack on Do Song Peninsula (Southern shore at entrance to harbor) with destroyers USS Berekely (DDG 15), USS Hanson ( DD 832 ), USS M.C. Fox (DD 829), and USS Edwards (DD 950) . This was to distract/disrupt SAM( Surface to Air Missiles), Artillery and anti aircraft guns. While Navy and Marine planes from USS Coral Sea dropped/placed the mine field in harbor entrance. A second diversionary attack on Nam Dinh about 60 miles south was done by aircraft from the USS Kitty Hawk ( CVA 63).
May 10, 1972 – USS Buchanan (DDG 14) and USS M.C. Fox (DD 829) was joined by USS New Port News (CA 148), USS Providence, USS Oklahoma City CLG 5), and returned to Do Song Peninsula. Under cover of darkness in the early morning hours of May 10, 1972, utilizing the larger guns of the Cruisers to reach military sites and airfields at Cat Bi.
May 9-16, 1972 Remained in operation off North Vietnamese coast with the mining of harbor Operation name change from FREEDOM TRAIN to LINE BACKER.
May 17, 1972 Departed for line for Subic Bay. Philippines