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Home Town Brookville, IN
Last Address Annapolis, MD
Date of Passing Apr 03, 2001
Location of Interment Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates 9 5847 EH
Last Known Activity
Charles Allen Buchanan, 96, a retired rear admiral who commanded a destroyer division and squadron during the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns of World War II and retired in 1964 as commander of the naval district in Hawaii, died of respiratory failure April 3, 2001, at Ginger Cove Health Center in Annapolis, Maryland.
He was operations officer and assistant chief of staff for an amphibious task force that landed in Sicily and Salerno, Southern Italy, and in the Marshall Islands and Guam during WWII. After the war, he became an aide to James Forrestal, the Navy secretary who was the first secretary of defense.
Admiral Buchanan was an operations officer in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, commanded the USS Worcester and was commandant at the U.S. Naval Academy in the early 1950s. He commanded a destroyer squadron in the Far East and was commander of the naval base at Newport, R.I. In Hawaii, he coordinated completion of the USS Arizona-Pearl Harbor Memorial.
Admiral Buchanan was a native of Brookville, Indiana, and a graduate of the Naval Academy.
His honors included the Navy Cross, two awards of the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Gold Star and Combat "V" and the Silver Lifesaving Medal.
Awarded for actions during World War II The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Captain Charles Allen Buchanan, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism as Officer in Tactical Command of a Radar Picket Station Unit during action against enemy Japanese forces at Okinawa in the Ryukyu Chain, on 12 April 1945. When an overwhelming force of Japanese aircraft flew in over his Task Force and launched a vicious suicide attack, Captain Buchanan fought his ships gallantly throughout the fierce engagement and, despite the tremendous odds, contributed to the success of his unit and cooperating combat air patrol squadron in accounting for more than thirty enemy aircraft shot down with minimum loss in personnel or damage to his own Task Force. An inspiring and forceful leader, highly skilled in the strategies of naval warfare, Captain Buchanan, by his superb direction of his ships' gunfire, his valiant conduct and courageous devotion to duty throughout this intensive action, contributed materially to the success of the bitterly fought Okinawa campaign and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. Action Date: April 12, 1945 Service:Navy Rank: Captain Company: Officer in Tactical Command Division: Radar Picket Station Unit, Okinawa
On Dec 7th she was docked at Pearl Harbor: Battleship Row; forward of the Maryland and Oklahoma
Fate: The California was struck by two torpedoes and one bomb. The first torpedo hit at 8:05 a.m.; the second came moments later. With a gaping hole in the ship, it started capsizing. Despite efforts to bail water from the ship, it sank to the harbor bottom after three days of progressive flooding.
The ship was raised via cofferdams, moved to the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard on April, 1942, with repairs to her cage mainmast and all six 14" forward guns were removed to facilitate her refloating. It took until January, 1944 for the ship's total reconstruction but it was a match for most of the newer US battleships in all but it's main guns (still 14").
An after view of the USS California.
January, 1945, the USS California was hit by a Japanese kamikaze where 44 of her crew died and 155 injured. Battle repairs were made to keep her battle-worthy and on station. She stayed on station until the end of the month and returned to Puget Sound for repairs. She was back on station for the landings at Okinawa and from there until the Japanese surrender in mid-August.
Of historical interest is that after the official end of WWII, the USS California was still on duty and after different assignments in Philippines and other areas in SE Asia, she returned to the US on Dec 7, 1945 - exactly 4 years to the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.