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Naval Warfare

USS Buchanan (DDG-14)

Guided-Missile Destroyer [ 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.

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.©MilitaryFactory.com
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.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States

Destroyed, Scrapped.

Todd-Pacific Shipbuilding - USA
(View other Ship-Related Manufacturers)
Charles F. Adams-class

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)

National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore Bombardment
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

Main armament is housed in primary turret(s) arrangement offering enhanced protection.
Additional second-line firepower is managed through secondary turret emplacements about the ship's design.
Onboard systems alert and protect the vessel from airborne, low-flying airborne threats through ballistic and / or missile weaponry.
An Over-the-Horizon operational capability is granted to the vessel, typically through launched fixed-wing / rotary-wing aircraft.
The vessel supports the launching of missiles against airborne, waterborne, or land-based targets at range; typical of modern designs.
Ability to launch torpedoes against ocean-going targets.
Ability to launch salvo of rockets against submarine threats.

437.0 ft
133.20 m
47.0 ft
14.33 m
15.0 ft
4.57 m

Installed Power: 4 x Foster-Wheeler boiler units feeding 2 x Westinghouse steam turbines developing 70,000 horsepower each driving 2 x Shafts astern.
Surface Speed
33.0 kts
(38.0 mph)
4,501 nm
(5,180 mi | 8,336 km)

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
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.

Supported Types

Graphical image of a modern warship turreted deck gun armament
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)

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Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
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Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
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Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
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Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
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Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.

Images Gallery

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

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