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Section Patrol Craft Photo Archive

Frank H. Buck (ID 1613)

Civilian call sign (1919):
Love - Dog - King - Have


  • Built in 1914 by the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, CA
  • Commissioned 23 August 1917
  • Delivered to the Navy 25 January 1918
  • Decommissioned 29 January 1919 at New York
  • Transferred 31 January 1919 to the United States Shipping Board for return to her owner, the Associated Oil Co. of San Francisco
  • Ran aground 3 May 1924 while en route from San Francisco to Monterey, CA under ballast. The master set a safe course and left the third mate on watch. The third mate made a course change and went to
    seek out the captain, to get verification of his change. While the third mate was seeking out the captain, the vessel grounded on the rocks. Traveling at full speed, the vessel slid over two reefs before she came to a shuddering stop, cradled precariously by the jagged rocks of Point Pinos, Pacific Grove, CA. The Buck was freed from reef on 17 May 1924, with the assistance of wrecking ships Peacock and Homer. Following the touch-and-go salvage operations at Point Pinos, the Buck served the Associated Oil Co. faithfully until a dreadful day in March 1937. On that fateful day the ship was slowly making its way through the fog near the Golden Gate. Suddenly, out of the fog, loomed the massive President Coolidge of the American President Lines. A collision was unavoidable and within seconds the Coolidge dealt the Buck a crippling blow. Frantic efforts were made to tow the stricken vessel to port, but the Buck appeared to have a mind of its own as the strong currents of the Golden Gate channel took charge. The Buck drifted toward Point Lobos and soon broke apart on the jagged rocks.


  • Displacement 6,077 t.
  • Length 425'
  • Beam 55' 6"
  • Draft 27'
  • Speed 11 kts.
  • Complement 90
  • Armament: One 6"/50 and one 4"/40 mount
  • Propulsion: Three single ended boilers, one 2,600ihp verticle triple expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Frank H. Buck 79k Probably photographed upon completion of construction in 1914
    U.S. Navy photo NH 101722
    Naval Historical Center
    Frank H. Buck 63k Photographed circa 1914-1917
    U.S. Navy photo NH 64590
    Frank H. Buck 50k George Harper
    Frank H. Buck 61k
    Ohioan 68k Shipwrecks off Parallel Point in 1937. The Ohioan, ex-USS Ohioan (ID 3280) is in the left foreground and the Frank H. Buck is in the right background Joe Radigan

    Commanding Officers
    01LCDR G. E. McDonald, USNRF25 January 1918
    02LCDR Thomas H. McKellum, USNRF1918
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: Frank H. Buck (No. 1613), a tanker, was built in 1914 by Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Calif.; acquired by the Navy 25 January 1918, and commissioned the same day, Lieutenant Commander G. E. McDonald, USNRF, in command.

    After loading a full cargo of oil products at Port Arthur, Tex., Frank H. Buck cleared Hampton Roads, 19 February 1918 for Devonport and Scapa Flow, Britain, at both of which she discharged her oil into Navy storage tanks. She returned to New York 9 April 1918, and between that time and 2 December made an additional five voyages to carry oil to United Kingdom ports. On 1 September, when 5 days out of Berehaven [Ireland] homeward bound, Frank H. Buck was attacked by U-155 and in the resulting surface gunfire action of 30 minutes, scored at least two hits on the submarine, inflicting serious damage. Frank H. Buck was decommissioned at New York 29 January 1919, and 2 days later turned over to the Shipping Board for return to her owner.

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