The second ship so named, the USS Buchanan (DD-484) honored Captain Franklin Buchanan (1800-1874), who served as the first superintendent of the United States Naval Academy. Captain Buchanan also served in the Confederate Navy.
Buchanan was launched in November of 1941 by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in New Jersey. She received her commission in March of 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Commander R. E. Wilson.
Buchanan served the United States during World War II, eventually earning the Presidential Unit Citation and 16 battle stars for her service. She began her career in the Pacific theater, serving at the landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi. In the aftermath of the Battle of Savo Island, she rescued survivors from four vessels which were sunk during the fighting. In November of 1942, during opening stages of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, she was accidentally hit by friendly fire, suffering the loss of five crewmembers and withdrawing in order to undergo repairs.
She was back to work by February, although she ran aground off the coast of Guadalcanal in April, necessitating further repairs. In June, she participated in the New George Group operations, bombarding the enemy’s shore positions at Rendova, Munda, and the Battle of Kolombangara. She subsequently undertook convoy duties and various bombardment engagements. On January 22, 1944, while assisting torpedoed vessel Cache (AO-67), Buchanan sank the Japanese submarine RO-37.
After a few more engagements that spring, Buchanan headed to California’s Mare Island Naval shipyard for an overhaul. She then returned to the Pacific theater and participated in the capture of the southern Palaus and in the operation against Luzon. In addition to supporting operations against Okinawa and other Japanese targets, Buchanan also played a role in the invasion of Iwo Jima.
In September 1945 Buchanan carried Fleet Admirals Nimitz and Halsey from their respective flagships to meet with General MacArthur. Then she carried General MacArthur to the Missouri (BB-63), where, on September 2, 1945, he accepted the surrender of Japan.
After the war, Buchanan was decommissioned in May of 1946 and recommissioned two years later for service in the Turkish Navy. In 1949, she began service as Gelibolu (D-346), and there she remained until her retirement in 1976.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Buchanan (DD-484)
Many members of the crew on the USS Buchanan were likely exposed to asbestos while working or sailing on her. Exposure to this toxic substance has been linked to the development of mesothelioma, a form of asbestos cancer. There are a number of ways that crewmen could be exposed. One was exposure to asbestos-containing material that was damaged by enemy action against the ship. Dock and shipyard crew were also at risk of being exposed to asbestos as many of the buildings in shipyard were insulated with asbestos or constructed with materials that contained asbestos such as floor and ceiling tiles.
Some crewmen suffered from a larger risk of asbestos exposure including sailors working in the engine room, on heavy machinery, dealing with fire suppression, or conducting repairs. The engine and power plant rooms of Buchanan contained large quantities of asbestos-containing materials in them for a variety of reasons such as insulating conduits, covering steam boilers, and fireproofing components of the ship's motors and power plant. Steam conduits wrapped with asbestos insulation ran into essentially every compartment of the ship.
If you served on the USS Buchanan and have developed mesothelioma you may be able to received financial compensation for your injury. Please fill out the form on this page to learn more.Sources
“Buchanan.” Dictionary of American Fighting Ships.