The USS Buchanan was built at Kearny, New Jersey. Admiral Franklin Buchanan was the namesake for the USS Buchanan. He served in both the United States and the Confederate States Navies in his lifetime. The 1,630-ton Gleaves-class destroyer was commissioned on March 21, 1942, heading to the Panama Canal to operate in the Pacific.
Action in World War II
She spent two years in the south Pacific during the war and was instrumental to a successful campaign there. She aided in the landings at Guadalcanal and Tulagi. She also rescued survivors from the Battle of Savo Island in August of 1942. In October of the same year, she engaged in the Battle of Cape Esperance, participated the early stage of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November and the served in the invasion of Rendova and New Georgia in June and July of 1943.
In July, she fought in the Battle of Kolombangara and from November 1943 until January 1944, the Buchanan participated in the Bougainville campaign. She engaged in the Bismarcks operation from February to March of 1944. Twice she sustained damage, in November 1942 and July 1943. She was grounded once in April of 1943, but was repaired locally. She even sunk the Japanese submarine, RO-37, in January 1944.
After a short break for a west coast overhaul, Buchanan re-engaged in the invasion of Palaus in the fall of 1944. She also helped with carrier operations in the Phillipines, Formosa and the South China Sea areas in December of 1944 and January of 1945. She then engaged in the Iwo Jima operation in February and March and in the Okinawa campaign from March to May of the same year, helping with strikes by the Fifth Fleets against the Japanese home islands. After Japan finally surrendered, Buchanan was involved in the surrender ceremonies in Tokyo Bay and later served in occupation efforts.
After the war
In October of 1945, she steamed from Japan back to the US. She headed to Charleston, SC and was decommissioned in May, 1946. She was a reservist for two years, being transferred to the Turkish Navy in April of 1949 and serving under the name Gelibolu until 1976.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.