The USS Buck (DD-761) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly three decades during the middle of the 20th century. She was named for James Buck, a U.S. Navy officer during the Civil War. Buck was built as an Allen M. Sumner-class ship.
Buck was laid down in San Francisco, California by Bethlehem Steel in February 1944. She was launched in March 1945 and commissioned in June 1946, with Commander H.H. Nielsen at the helm. Buck carried a crew of 336 and had a cruising speed of 36.5 knots. She was armed with six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Buck began her service in the Pacific near the end of 1946, when she steamed from Mexico to Alaska. In December 1948, she departed Alaskan waters for the Far East, but she soon returned to San Francisco. She then spent several months operating along the west coast and in the Hawaiian Islands. In January 1950, Buck took her second tour of the Western Pacific. She was back in California by April for an overhaul.
Shortly after Buck’s return to the U.S., tensions mounted in Korea, and the ship was deployed as part of a United Nations force. It was during this outing that she collided with another American ship. Buck sustained significant damage in the incident, and was sent back to the U.S.
Following extensive repairs in Bremerton, Washington, Buck returned to Korea in April 1951, where she rejoined the UN patrols until July, when she returned to the U.S. Six months later, in January 1952, Buck was again deployed to the Western Pacific. During this deployment, she supported shore bombardments. In July, Buck once again returned to the U.S., only to be sent back to Korea for yet another tour of duty in February 1953. It was during this final tour that the armistice was finally declared.
Buck completed her fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) upgrade in 1962 and continued to operate along the west coast and in the Far East. She was eventually decommissioned in July 1973. She was then transferred to Brazil, where she was re-christened Alagoas. The ship was stricken from the Brazilian Navy list in 1995 and broken up for scrap.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Buck (DD-761)
The destroyers built during and immediately after World War II were outfitted with asbestos insulation and fireproofing. The highest concentration of asbestos products was below decks in engineering spaces, but pipes wrapped in asbestos ran through many corridors and compartments. Even crew spaces often contained asbestos insulation. No place aboard Buck was completely free of asbestos contamination.
Many veteran sailors have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses. Service in the U.S. Navy is a risk factor for mesothelioma. The known link between time at sea and asbestos disease enables most Navy veterans to seek legal remedy for their illness. Because each ship in the fleet had its own unique exposure risks, it’s important to hire an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to advise you.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-761.
NavSource Naval History, USS Buck (DD-761).