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U.S.S. Buchanan

  

 

LA MISION FINAL

El 13 de Junio del 2000 el USS Buchanan tomo parte en los ejercicios RIMPAC 2000 como buque blanco en  Pacific Missile Range Facility, al norte de las islas hawaianas de Kauia.  Fuerzas Canadienses, Americanas u Australianas trataron de hundirlo por mas de 24 horas. Sufrió tres impactos de misiles Hellfire diparados desde helicopteros SH-60 LAMPS, tres misiles Harpoon disparados por  F-111 de la RCAF y P-3 Orion de la US Navy  de varios buques aliados; y un GBU-24 (bomba guiada por laser de 24.000 lbs). El torpedo MK-48 del USS Buffalo que lo debia hundr funciono mal y el Buchanan quedo a flote toda la noche.

En la mañana del 14 de Junio, un grupo de demolicion lo abordó y le coloco 200 lbs de C-4 en lugares determinados. 16 minutos y 3 segundos luego de prender las cargas  el Buchanan con gracia se fué al fondo con la proa hacia abajo, bajo las aguas del Oceano Pacifico.

A las 21:26:30Z (11:26:30 AM HST) del 14 de Junio del 2000 Davy Jones le toco el silbato de bienvenida a bordo en su lugar final de descanso de 22:54.38N, 160:27.68W , 64 millas nauticas de tierra en 2540 fathoms de agua.

Un tripulante escribio este poema, que es muy dificil de traducir correctamente:

A Tough and Gallant Lady

The glory days were over, after a long and proud career,
One last time underway, without a course to steer.

On the wrong end of a tow line, trailing in NAVAJO's wake,
A final time at sea, with her very life at stake.

BUCHANAN was her name, a feisty DDG,
A battle-scarred veteran, a warrior of the sea.

Pulled behind a fleet tug, enroute a point offshore,
She could feel a sense of danger, throughout her very core.

Knowing what was coming, she declined a show of fright,
She vowed to make it interesting, and not go without a fight.

First she shook her shackles, to once again be free,
But without a crew to man her, she couldn't try to flee.

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.

No planes left to throw at her, the ships had also left,
Only one card left to play, the Silent Service at its best.

Sleek and silent, did the fast attack creep,
As she let loose a torpedo, from the dark and briny deep.

But BUCHANAN's luck held, and a hit was not achieved,
The fast attack soon departed, to join the others so aggrieved.

The weight of the fleet, they'd thrown at her today,
And when it was all over, she was the only one to stay.

She knew deep in her heart, that her time was coming near,
For tomorrow would bring a sunrise, EOD and scuttling gear.

But she had taken everything, they could throw at her today,
And she had lived as she was built, to go out in harm's way.

So when it is her time, to go down and sleep with Davy,
Her heart will still beat proud, this tough and gallant lady.