On Jun. 13, 2000 USS Buchanan proved to be a tough ship.
USS Buchanan (DDG-14) was a Charles F. Adams-class guided missile destroyer in service with the United States Navy from 1962 to 1991.
She was sunk as a target on Jun. 13, 2000.
On that day USS Buchanan proved to be a tough ship.
From USS Buchanan website;
‘On Jun. 13, 2000 the USS Buchanan took part in the RIMPAC 2000 as a target ship [Sinkex 2000] 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 Jun. 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.’
Rick Dillard OSCM(SW), USN Coordinator SINKEX events within Third fleet waters on Jun. 13, 2000, wrote;
‘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.’
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.
Senior Chief Randy Carpenter who was working on the missile range on that day, recalls;
‘The comments throughout range control were “we should build them like that now” “they don’t build them like that anymore” “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 God Almighty.’
Photo credit: U.S. Navy