SNS CHURRUCA (D61) - The Spanish Navy
The former USS Greene was commissioned in the Spanish Navy as SNS Churruca (D-61) and transferred on loan to the Spanish Navy at Norfolk Naval Base, Norfolk, Virginia on August 31, 1972. She was eventually purchased by the Spanish Navy on May 17, 1978. USS Greene was renamed SNS Churruca in honor of the Spanish Navy's Lieutenant General Cosme Damian Churruca and Elorza. He was a Spanish Naval Officer born in Motrico (Gulpuzcoa) on September 27, 1761. Lieutenant General Churruca was a learned navy officer who excelled in military matters as well as astronomy and mathematics. He died, in the line of duty, during the Naval Battle at Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. He was a Major General and had command of the ship San Juan Nepomuceno. To reward his heroism at the Battle of Trafalgar he was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant General.
SNS Churruca served for seventeen years as vital part of a Spanish Navy. She was part of Destroyer Squadron 11 along with four other destroyers of the same class: USS Noa (DD-841), USS Furse (DD-882), USS Leary (DD-879) and USS O'Hare (DD-889). In 1978 SNS Churruca participated in the U.S. Sixth Fleet's "National Week" exercise. This was the first time that the Spanish Navy had participated in a major Sixth Fleet exercise and SNS Churruca's performance was consistent with her heritage. In later years as the Spanish Navy modernized its units, the SNS Churruca was relegated to tasks of lesser importance such as high seas patrolling while attached to the Cantabric Maritime Zone. Finally, she was placed in inactive service and decommissioned on September 15, 1989.
On December 12, 1991, SNS Churruca had served her useful life and was used for target practice and sunk. The impact of a 500 pound MK 8 bomb ended her life at exactly 12:12 hours. After four hours of intense pounding by missiles, projectiles, bombs and rockets USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711) / SNS Churruca (D61) slowly sank to rest 4,500 meters deep 100 miles to the west of the Canary Islands. She had served, with distinction, a total of forty-six years.