The BUCK (DD-761) was built by the Bethlehem
Steel Company in San Francisco, California, and launched on 11 March
1945. Following her commissioning on 28 June 1946, she operated along
the West Coast from Acapulco, Mexico, to Ketchikan, Alaska.
Over the next two years her operations were
limited to training cruises because of post-war personnel shortages, but
when needed in December 1948, she was ready. Two destroyers had collided
during night maneuvers off China and the BUCK and her sister ship the
JOHN W. THOMASON (DD-760) were sent to the Far East to replace them.
She returned to the Western Pacific a
second time with the THOMASON to participate in maneuvers with British
ships off the coasts of Indochina and Korea. She was in the states for
an overhaul in April 1950 and upon its completion, rushed to sea to
rescue the survivors of the hospital ship BENEVOLENCE (AH-13), which had
sunk after colliding with a freighter off San Francisco.
Two months later, North Korea’s invasion
of the south plunged the U.S. and other United Nations forces into war,
and by autumn the BUCK was en route to join the Seventh Fleet as a unit
of Destroyer Division 71 screening carrier task groups supporting U.N.
ground operations in Korea.
During her third deployment to the
Western Pacific in 1952, her gunners shelled enemy shore installations,
bridges, and railroads; screened the fast carrier task force; and made
two trips south to Okinawa. Following the war, which ended with an
uneasy truce on 27 July 1953, the BUCK continued alternating operations
on the West Coast with deployments to the Western Pacific.
The routine was broken in 1956 when her
crew and those of other ships of Destroyer Division 71 saved a burning
Norwegian freighter. To the rescue again during her 1957 tour, the BUCK
fought ten-foot waves to pick up a downed pilot from the carrier BON
HOMME RICHARD (C-31), and in 1958 while patrolling the Taiwan Straits,
she rescued thirteen shipwrecked Chinese Nationalists. During the
Laotian crisis in 1961, she operated with British and Australian forces.
In 1963 the BUCK increased her
antisubmarine capabilities when she became the first destroyer to test
and use the Drone Antisubmarine Helicopter (DASH) system. During 1965
she remained busy with operations and exercises along the West Coast and
deployments to the Western Pacific and the waters of Vietnam. Her cruise
in 1968 was her thirteenth career deployment and her ninth wartime
cruise with the Seventh Fleet. Operations with the fleet included
screening, plane guard, and picket duty in addition to search and rescue
In May 1969 the BUCK’s antisubmarine
warfare team detected an unidentified submarine and for several days
coordinated the activities of the ships and aircraft tracking the boat.
She continued her regular stints of rescue and plane guard duty in the
Tonkin Gulf and on the gun line, where her gunners accounted for
sixty-one bunkers destroyed or damaged, ten caves closed, and six
buildings destroyed. In October 1969 she headed for home with the BON
HOMME RICHARD, JOHN W. THOMASON, WILTSIE (DD-814), and PERKINS (DD-877).
July 1970 found the BUCK steaming for the
Western Pacific with the LYNDE MCCORMICK (DDG-8), PERKINS, and WILTSIE.
An engine problem sidetracked the BUCK to Pearl Harbor for repairs, but
by late August she was anchored just north of Vung Tau, South Vietnam.
Following fifteen days of almost non-stop firing on the gun line, the
BUCK was relieved by the BAUSELL (DD-845). Headed for the Tonkin Gulf in
early October, she took the place of the FOX (DLG-33) in search and
rescue operations with the CHICAGO (CG-11), but spent most of her time
avoiding typhoons before she was relieved by the CHEVALIER (DD-805).
Back on the gun line in November, she
earned the nickname "fastest gun in WESTPAC" for the second straight
year. After Christmas in Yokosuka, Japan, she set her course for Yankee
Station where she destroyed or damaged sixty-nine bunkers and numerous
structures and closed several fighting caves and trenches. After a New
Year’s break, the BUCK was back on search and rescue duty in the Tonkin
Gulf. Her fifteenth and final deployment to the Western Pacific ended on
24 January 1971 when she headed home with the WILTSIE and PERKINS.
Later that year she began a new career as
a naval reserve training ship operating between ports in Mexico and
Canada. Early in the summer of 1972 she made an extended reserve
training cruise to Hawaii accompanied by the BAUER (DE-1025), HOOPER
(DE-1026), and MCKEAN (DD-784) and ended the year preparing for her
decommissioning. The BUCK was decommissioned and stricken from the
navy’s list on 15 July 1973 and transferred the next day to the
government of Brazil as the ALAGOAS. She served in the Brazilian Navy