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USS Buchanan (DDG-14)

Guided-Missile Destroyer

United States | 1962

"USS Buchanan DDG-14 saw considerable service during the Vietnam War and survived only to become a USN target after being decommissioned in 1991."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 11/19/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Named after Confederate Navy Admiral Franklin Buchanan, USS Buchanan (DDG-14) was part of the Charles F. Adams-class guided-missile destroyers fielded by the United States Navy (USN) during the tumultuous Cold War period (1947-1991). The class numbered 23 ships in all and all survived their service lives to be retired. The group was used to succeed an aging class of Farragut-class destroyers and was itself succeeded by the Spruance-class in same ocean-going role.

USS Buchanan (DDG-14) was ordered on January 17th, 1958 and laid down by Todd-Pacific Shipbuilding on April 23rd, 1959. She was launched to sea on May 11th, 1960 and formally commissioned into USN service on February 7th, 1962 - serving until the drawn-down of the post-Cold War period, the warship being decommissioned on October 1st, 1991.

During the Cold War, the guided-missile destroyer took on a primary role in the surface fleet, capable of engaging airborne and land-based targets at-range through missiles. For the USN, the DDG hull designation covered such ships in the role and the type was a critical component for the branch throughout the remaining decades of its "hot/cold" conflict with the East.

The warship featured a displacement of 3,277 tons under standard load and up to 4,525 tons under full load. She measured 437 feet from bow-to-stern, 47 at the beam, and held a draught down to 15 feet. Power was from 4 x Foster-Wheeler boiler units feeding 2 x Westinghouse steam turbines outputting 70,000 horsepower to drive twin shafts under stern. Maximum speed in ideal conditions reached 33 knots and the warship could range out to 4,500 nautical miles.

Armament eventually included 2 x 5" /54 caliber Mark 42 series turreted deck guns with 1 x RUR-5 ASROC launcher, and 2 x 3 triple torpedo tubes. There was also an Mk 11 or Mk 13 missile launcher supporting surface-to-air or land-attack missile solutions.

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Aboard was a crew of 354 including 24 officers. The vessel carried the AN/SPS-39 3D air-search radar, the AN/SPS-10 surface-search radar, and the AN/SPG-531 missile fire control radar alongside its AN/SPG-53 series gunfire control radar unit. Sonar was fitted to the hull and in a towed array.

Buchanan was completed at Long Beach Naval Shipyard in California in March of 1962 and homeported from San Diego. Her early life kept her in Pacific Waters and she was briefly stationed off the coast of South Vietnam during a military coup attempt. From Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the warship once again returned to the theater to take part in the Vietnam War (1955-1975), providing patrol, escort, and general defense across the South China Sea. 1965 saw her receive a needed overhaul at Long Beach. She returned on station in June of 1966 and another overhaul followed in 1967. In September of that year, the warship collided with Holiday, a fishing craft.

In January of 1968, she returned to Vietnam Waters to take part in Operation Sea Dragon, the initiative looking to apply a stranglehold on war-making supplies from North Vietnam attempting to reach forces fighting in the South. Her guns were brought to bear during the Tet Offensive and at the Battle of Hue. By 1971, she was repositioned outside of the warzone, operating in the Eastern Pacific before seeing another overhaul at San Francisco later that year. In 1972, she returned to action in Vietnam and took action to support retreating Allied forces. Her days of war officially came to an end by 1974.

She was modified in 1975, losing her original 127mm cannons and ASROC launchers along with other dated equipment. The remainder of her sailing days were relatively quiet aside from a row with New Zealand due to sensitivities regarding nuclear weaponry. Decommissioning then followed in October of 1991 and her name was struck from the Naval Register on November20th, 1992 bringing about her formal career. Her inherent fighting spirit proved hard to kill for, as a target, she survived multiple missile and bomb strikes before going down off the coast of Hawaii to become a reef. It took 200lb of explosives to finally do her in, this unceremonious "death by scuttling" occurring on June 14th, 2000.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for USS Buchanan (DDG-14).
4 x Foster-Wheeler boiler units feeding 2 x Westinghouse steam turbines developing 70,000 horsepower each driving 2 x Shafts astern.
33.0 kts
38.0 mph
Surface Speed
4,501 nm
5,180 miles | 8,336 km
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of USS Buchanan (DDG-14).
437.0 ft
133.20 meters
O/A Length
47.0 ft
14.33 meters
15.0 ft
4.57 meters
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of USS Buchanan (DDG-14).
2 x 5" /54 caliber (127mm) Mark 42 turreted deck guns.
1 x Mk 11 / Mk 13 Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher (for RIM-24 "Tartar" medium-ranged missile and/or Harpoon anti-ship missile).
1 x RUR-5 ASROC (Anti-Submarine ROCket) launcher.
2 x 12.8" (324mm) triple-tubed torpedo launchers.
Ships-in-Class (23)
Notable series variants as part of the USS Buchanan (DDG-14) family line as relating to the Charles F. Adams-class group.
USS Charles F. Adams (DDG-2); USS John King (DDG-3); USS Lawrence (DDG-4); USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5); USS Barney (DDG-6); USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7); USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8); USS Towers (DDG-9); USS Sampson (DDG-10); USS Sellers (DDG-11); USS Robison (DDG-12); USS Hoel (DDG-13); USS Buchanan (DDG-14); USS Berkeley (DDG-15); USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16); USS Conyngham (DDG-17); USS Semmes (DDG-18); USS Tattnall (DDG-19); USS Goldsborough (DDG-20); USS Cochrane (DDG-21); USS Benjamin Stoddert (DDG-22); USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23); USS Waddell (DDG-24)
Global operator(s) of the USS Buchanan (DDG-14). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.

Shipbuilder(s): Todd-Pacific Shipbuilding - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States ]
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Image of the USS Buchanan (DDG-14)
Image from the U.S. DoD imagery database; Public Release.

Going Further...
USS Buchanan (DDG-14) Guided-Missile Destroyer appears in the following collections:
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