U.S. Navy

During RIMPAC 2000 USS Buchanan missile destroyer was hit by 3 Hellfire missiles, 3 Harpoon missiles and a GBU-24 LGB but still stayed afloat. She had to be scuttled with 200 lbs of C-4.

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;

The US Navy guided missile destroyer USS Buchanan (DDG-14) underway off the coast of Southern California (US) on Jan. 16, 1990.

‘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 decommissioned U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Buchanan (DDG-14) sinking in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii after use as a target. She remained afloat after being hit by three AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, three Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and a 2,400-pound (1,100 kg) laser-guided bomb in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii on 13 June 2000. She finally was scuttled on 14 June 2000 by the detonation of 200 pounds (91 kg) of explosives that had been placed aboard her.

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

USS Buchanan sinking on Jun. 14, 2000
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

View Comments

  • I bet She would have given as good if not better than She got if She was armed!!!!

  • Overall good story. Much respect for USS Buchanan and her crew throughout her service to our great Nation (despite the many problems still the greatest Nation on planet Earth). The poetic effort is appreciated, yet in my insignificant opinion doesn't do justice to the Buchanan. Though his heart is in it, his poem does not win it. Lactose intolerant it did not please me, mainly because it was much too cheesy. Some of the thoughts expressed sense did not make, like a first-time baker baking a cake. Too much effort to rhyme lines by the pair, induced cringing in me as I sat in my chair. But good effort on the poet's part, for in it he did put his patriotic heart.

  • There is a proud gal The Buchanan. They tried to sink her all day with their canon. Try as they may, they blasted all day. When the sun set she was still stand'n

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