Welcome to the USS Buck (DD-761) Association. Since 1993, we have been a non-profit group formed by veterans that served in the US Navy aboard the USS BUCK (DD-761). We were recently incorporated in 2010 and became registered as a 501(c)(19) organization. The articles of incorporation were filed on August 2, 2010 as certified by the Montana Secretary of State which can be viewed. click here
Our primarily focus is as a social club, however, our charter, as established in our By-Laws provides:
"The USS Buck (DD-761) Association has been formed and exists to further comradeship among shipmates, to promote Americanism, honor the memory of deceased veterans and comfort their survivors, aid disabled or needy war veterans and their dependents, sponsor, conduct and/or participate in patriotic activities and functions and to provide social, educational and recreational activities for its members."
The organization was started after John Connolly and a group of Korean War shipmates convened in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The association then held reunions in Philadelphia, San Diego, Corpus Cristi, Norfolk, Las Vegas, Tuscon, San Francisco, Charlston, Colorado Springs, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, New Orleans, Glouster, San Antonio and Rapid City.
Our reunions have been well attended, however, primarily by Korean War veterans. We would like to see more Vietnam War veterans attend, which may be possible as more are reaching retirement age and should be able to find more time.
The “Buckaneers”, as the crew was known, are always looking to help out a fellow shipmate. Those in need, sometimes have to turn to someone for support and assistance. We are not offering handouts, so you do not need to feel ashamed to come ask us for help. If you or a loved one was a member of the USS Buck (DD-761) and would like to learn more about our organization, please feel free to call
us or send us an email.
THE HISTORY OF THE BUCK
Most references indicate that there were two Navy vessels to bear the name Buck, technically however, there were actually three vessels bearing the name. The following historical accounts are drawn from documents provided by the Department of the Navy Historical Center, excerpts from cruise books, and personal recollections.
James Buck was born circa 1808 at Baltimore, Maryland and enlisted in the Navy on 16 December 1852, at Norfolk, Virginia. Buck was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic service during the Civil War on board the steamer Brooklyn. During the engagement with Forts Jackson and St. Philip and the batteries below New Orleans on 24 April 1861, Buck stood his post at the helm for seven hours despite a severe and painful wound. The following morning, he again went to his station and steered the ship for eight hours. Captain Craven of the Brooklyn reported Buck’s noteworthy conduct and recommended that he be decorated. Buck was promoted to Acting Master’s Mate on 30 July 1862. He died in Baltimore on 1 November 1865.
USS BUCK (SP-1355)
The first vessel to bear the Buck name was the USS BUCK (SP-1355), a 33 foot motor boat which was fee leased by the Navy from the Conservation Commission of Maryland and delivered on 24 August 1917 at Norfolk, Virginia. She served in the Norfolk area as a tender until returned to her owner on 4 September 1918.
USS BUCK (DD-420)
A SIMS class destroyer named USS BUCK (DD-420) was launched 22 May 1939 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and commissioned 15 May 1040. She was 348 feet long, 36 feet at the beam and carried a crew of about 240. She displaced 2400 tons and rated a speed of 37 knots. Her main battery consisted of four 5 inch 38 caliber guns and two 21 inch quad torpedo tubes.
After shakedown training, the BUCK joined the Atlantic Fleet for several months before augmenting the Pacific Fleet from February to June 1941. She subsequently rejoined the Atlantic Fleet where on 1 July as part of Task Force 19, the BUCK got underway from Argentia, Newfoundland, bound for Iceland in the first U.S. Naval task force to be assembled for foreign service in World War II. The task force delivered Marines to relieve the British garrison defending Iceland.
With the entry of the United States into the War, the BUCK continued to serve as a convoy escort, steaming from the seaports on the eastern United States to ports in Newfoundland, Iceland, Northern Ireland, North Africa and the Caribbean. On August 22, 1942, the BUCK was hit starboard side aft by the S.S. ATWETEA while trying to escort another vessel of the convoy to her correct station during an intense fog. The impact cut about two-thirds through the BUCK’s fantail and broke her keel. Seven crew members were lost. The starboard propeller was inoperative and within a few hours the port propeller dropped off rendering the ship helpless. The fantail, which the crew had secured by lines and wires, had to be allowed to fall away and sink when the continual chafing and movement of the damaged section threatened more severe damage to the hull. BUCK was towed to the Boston Navy Yard where she underwent repairs until November. Upon completion of repairs she returned to the Atlantic convoy escort duty until June of 1943 when she reported to the Mediterranean for patrol duty in the Tunisian-Algerian area of North Africa. From 8 July to 2 August the BUCK performed shore bombardment, screening and patrol duties as part of the American Western Naval Task Force for Operation “Husky”, the invasion of Sicily.
On the evening of 2 August, while escorting merchantmen from Sicily to Algeria, an Italian submarine making a reconnaissance of the southern Sicilian coast was sighted and challenged. BUCK conducted three depth charge attacks which forced the submarine, later identified as the ARGENTO, to the surface. After a brief surface engagement, BUCK sunk the ARGENTO and took 46 of the 49 members of the Italian crew as prisoners.
In late September 1943, BUCK was assigned to support Operation “Avalanche”, the plan for the invasion and occupation of Italy. Salerno and Naples had been secured by the Allies when BUCK tracked a surface radar contact off the coast. Approaching the contact, BUCK was hit forward by at least one and possibly two torpedoes. She sank in three minutes. Most of the crew, and the Captain, were lost. Those surviving remained in the water for almost 24 hours before being rescued. Eleven officers and 150 men were either killed or presumed dead. Seven officers and 68 men survived.
USS BUCK (DD-761)
The second destroyer bearing the Buck name, a SUMNER class destroyer, was launched 11 March 1945, by the Bethlehem Steel Co., San Francisco, California; sponsored by Ms. Mary Nimitz, daughter of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. She was commissioned 28 June 1946. With a standard displacement of 2,200 tons, she was 376 feet 6 inches long with a forty foot 10 inch beam. She was rated at 35 plus knots and was armed with six 5 inch 38 caliber dual purpose guns, 3 quad and 2 twin 40 MM guns, 2 hedge hog mounts, 6 depth charge “K” guns and 2 depth charge stern racks.
Following completion of her shakedown cruise in September 1946, BUCK operated along the west coast from Acapulco, Mexico to Ketchikan, Alaska. From the time of her launching until January of 1947, BUCK had insufficient crew and served in a reduced status, serving as a training ship for varied west coast Naval schools.
In December 1948, BUCK operated in the Orient visiting Pearl Harbor, Midway, Yokosuka, Tsingtao, Shanghai, Amoy, and Hong Kong. BUCK returned to San Diego in the middle of 1949 and again served as a training vessel. During the later part of that year, she “starred” in the motion picture “The Skipper Surprised His Wife.”
In January 1950, the BUCK along with the JOHN W. THOMASON and the carrier BOXER toured the Far East for the second time. Come September, North Korea invaded South Korea. As part of Destroyer Division 71, BUCK deployed to Korea for service with Task Force 77 where she engaged in screening, plane guarding, air sea rescue, shore bombardment, and countless other duties of destroyers. During this action BUCK and JOHN W THOMASON collided causing considerable damage to the two ships. BUCK had to have a temporary bow installed in Sasebo, Japan, after which she was ordered back to the west coast for repairs.
Following repairs made at Bremerton, Washington, BUCK rejoined TF-77 on 30 April 1951. Late in May, she conducted shore bombardment in company with JOHN W. THOMASON and the battleship NEW JERSEY. She returned to San Diego in July.
In January 1952, BUCK returned to the Korean theater engaging in shore bombardment with TF-95. Her motor launch was damaged by a shore battery at Kojo, North Korea on 13 June 1952 resulting in 2 casualties. She returned to San Diego arriving 22 July, 1952, after which she underwent a 3 month overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California.
BUCK departed for another WestPac tour on 21 February 1953. While with TF-95, she was credited with silencing several enemy guns on the west coast of Korea. She visited Taiwan, Hong Kong, Okinawa, Yokosuka, and Sasebo. The truce in Korea was signed 27 July 1953 after which BUCK escorted the carrier PRINCETON back to San Diego, arriving 22 September 1953.
On 20 April 1954, BUCK once again departed for WestPac making the usual stops at Pearl Harbor, Midway and Yokosuka en route. She stopped in Kaohsiung prior to undertaking the Formosa Patrol. Ports of call included Manila, Hong Kong and Sasebo. BUCK’s fifth WestPac cruise ended when she returned to San Diego 17 October 1954.
After a 3 month overhaul at Mare Island, she returned to San Diego for training. She deployed on her sixth WestPac cruise with Destroyer Squadron 7 and the USS HORNET (CVA-12) arriving 13 June 1955. Operating with Task Forces 70, 72 and 77, BUCK participated in two search and rescue missions. She returned to San Diego 14 November 1955.
During a subsequent WestPac cruise, on 27 September 1956, BUCK suffered an explosion in Mount 51 when a faulty projectile premature exploded in the left barrel. One crew member was killed and 7 suffered shrapnel wounds and second degree burns. She returned to San Diego in early December after which she traveled to Hunters Point for a yard overhaul. Returning to San Diego for training, she deployed again on July 29, 1957, crossed the equator on September 9 and arrived in Yokuska a month later. She operated with the Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) during which she rescued one of their pilots that was forced to ditch. She operated in the Formosa Straits during December, departing from Yokuska for San Diego on December 24.
n early May 1958 Buck was scheduled to depart for a South American cruise, but backed into a sand bar in San Deigo harbor. A damaged propeller shaft precluded the cruise and required repairs in dry dock until August.
In late 1957 BUCK operated with the BON HOMME RICHARD during a WestPac cruise, visiting Pearl Harbor, Pago Pago, Auckland, New Zealand, Subic Bay, Yokosuka, Sasebo and Fukuoka, Japan. She returned to San Diego 10 January 1958.
10 September saw BUCK depart for WestPac as part of DesDiv 71. She arrived in Yokosuka by way of Pearl Harbor and Midway to spend the last few months of 1958 plane guarding and patrolling the Formosan Straits. She visited Hong Kong, Manila, Kaohsiung and Japan.
1959 found BUCK fresh from a well deserved yard overhaul and a concentrated period of training. In November, she was once again operating in WestPac visiting such ports as Hong Kong, Beppu and Yokosuka, Japan, and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She returned to San Diego 13 May 1960.
The beginning of 1961 found BUCK once more on her way to WestPac where her initial stop was Yokosuka. Her tender period at Yokosuka was cut short by the “Laotian Crisis,” which prompted her departure with Amphibs to Subic Bay. She operated continuously in the South China Sea, for a time during Operation “Pony Express” as the only US ship operating with RN and Australian forces. Returning to the Seventh Fleet, she operated with the BON HOMME RICHARD. Ports of call included Hong Kong, Olongapo and Kaohsiung.
On 14 September 1961, BUCK returned to San Diego for a short period of local operations prior to entering the Long Beach Shipyard for a FRAM II conversion. She entered the shipyard December 15 for the six month overhaul and modernization. In addition to having her sonar and other technical equipment replaced, BUCK had her 40MM guns and depth charge equipment removed. Added was a hanger deck and DASH (Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter), Mark 32 Torpedo tubes firing MK 46 homing torpedoes, and MK 25 Torpedo tubes firing wire guided MK 37 torpedoes.
In January 1963, the BUCK became the first destroyer in the fleet to qualify operationally in the DASH program. After participating in local operations in the Southern California area, BUCK deployed to WestPac in May with Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla Seven. She participated in ASW and AAW Exercises and was assigned to the Taiwan Patrol Force, returning to San Diego in December. The ship visited Hawaii, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
January of 1964 found the BUCK engaged in shore bombardment for the training of U.S. Marine Corps Shore Fire Control parties at Pyramid Cove, San Clemente Island. During March BUCK requalified in the DASH program and in August operated with the USS HANCOCK (CVA-19). During this operation, BUCK conducted a DASH demonstration for Assistant Secretary of the Navy Morse was embarked on HANCOCK, prompting a “Bravo Zulu” for a “Very Impressive Demonstration.”
September and October was spent in Anti-Air and Anti-Submarine exercises along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. During November the ship was at Long Beach Naval Shipyard for extensive maintenance. The final month of the year was spent in preparations required for deployment to WestPac.
On 5 January 1965 BUCK once again deployed. Stopping in Hawaii, Midway and Guam, BUCK arrived in Subic Bay 3 February. Early in the cruise, BUCK and CANBERRA collided during refueling, resulting in a sticky, gooey mess over the better part of its bridge and forward superstructure.
Operating at “Yankee Station”, BUCK acted as plane guard, usually for the USS ORISKINY during which her whale boat crew assisted in rescuing a downed pilot. After a brief visit to Subic, BUCK began a 56 day stretch at sea, primarily engaged in search and seizure of Viet Cong contraband as part of the “MarketTime” operations and junk patrol off the coast of Vietnam.
BUCK participated in the screen when Marines were first landed in large numbers at Chu Lai. The landings were not contested and the ship returned to plane guarding at Yankee Station. An indication of the intensity of operations was the need to rearm, refuel and replenish. Normally, BUCK did 2 of the 3 each morning during her time in the South China Sea.
There was not much time for Rest and Recreation, there were 256 schedule changes during the cruise, and BUCK visited only Hong Kong and Japan before leaving for home 19 June 1965. She arrived 2 July, and after a short period traveled to Mare Island for a 3 month overhaul.
After returning to San Diego, BUCK conducting training exercises off the coast of Southern California. She went to Seattle for Sea Fair, where she hosted members of the public over the weekend. About a week after returning to San Diego, around the beginning of June, BUCK deployed once again to WestPac.
Operating again out of Subic Bay, BUCK was engaged once again in MarketTime operations and plane guarding. Indeed, the bulk, of the time she was operating as a plane guard at Yankee Station. This cruise, her 12th to WestPac, also involved extensive gunfire support operations in the Tonkin Gulf.
BUCK had a memorable visit to Zamboanga, Philippine Islands, and a memorable visit by Arthur Godfry. Mr. Godfry arrived by high line from another destroyer, prompting several wagers as to whether he would get his feet wet.
The ship was able to visit Hong Kong during this very busy cruise before returning to San Diego via Japan.
BUCK deployed for the 13th time in late September 1967. New Year’s day of 1968 found the BUCK at Yankee Station. Most of the cruise BUCK was engaged in plane guarding until 29 January when she was underway for the Korean Straits in response to the USS PUEBLO incident. She returned to Subic Bay 19 February en route to Australia. Crossing the Equator 24 February, she visited Darwin, Townsville and Brisbane before leaving mid-March for the United States. Stopping at Pago Pago on the way, BUCK arrived in San Diego 23 March. On 11 July, 1968 she entered Mare Island for a three month million dollar overhaul resulting in new equipment and improvements. Following a training period concluded on 20 December, the ship spent the remainder of 1968 in port for the holidays.
The first three months of 1969 were spent, for the most part, in local Southern California operating areas. This included a stint as First Fleet ASW school ship. She deployed with ORISKANY 16 April for WestPac. After a stop in Kaohsiung, she proceeded to Yankee Station where she assisted USS KING (DDG-10) a victim of an engineering casualty, to Subic Bay. She spent the bulk of her time plane guarding or on the gun line. She visited Bangkok, Sasebo, Okinawa, and Hong Kong. On 19 October, 1969 she returned to San Diego.
After a one month period January 1970, at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, BUCK operated in Southern California waters. She deployed once again for WestPac 27 July 1970. She spent time on the gun line, operated at Yankee Station and provided support for Operation “Massie Harris” north of Vung Tau. After serving as the South SAR, she visited Bangkok.
On 4 November, BUCK began a two week period off the coast of Vietnam supporting operations of the 1st Air Cavalry Division and the First Australian Task Force. Following a brief period in Subic Bay, BUCK escorted USS HANCOCK to Yankee Station. Leaving the HANCOCK, Buck visited Hong Kong on 31 December. The ship departed 6 January for the North SAR station in the Gulf of Tonkin. Departing 15 January, BUCK participated in ASW training before returning to Subic Bay on the 17th. On 24 January, BUCK left WestPac for San Diego, arriving 11 February.
The BUCK left Destroyer Division 7 on 1 July 1971 and became a member of reserve squadron DESRON 27. With a crew pared down to 270, the ship’s mission was to assist in the maintenance of highly trained Naval Reservists who could supplement the regular fleet in any national emergency. Conducting reserve training operations in 1971 and 1972, BUCK was scheduled to be decommissioned in 1973. This was accomplished 16 July 1973 when BUCK was transferred to the Government of Brazil which operated the ship as CT ALAGOAS (D-36). ALAGOAS was decommissioned by Brazil in 1995 and used as a target, according to Paulo Augusto Garcia Dumont, Commanding Officer of the First Naval District and former Commanding Officer of the ALAGOAS, “sinking proud and doing her duty to the end.
Revised June, 2011