USS Maddox (DD-731)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

USS Maddox (DD-731)
Career (United States)
Namesake:William A. T. Maddox
Builder:Bath Iron Works
Laid down:28 October 1943
Launched:19 March 1944
Commissioned:2 June 1944
Decommissioned:c.1969
Struck:2 July 1972
Fate:Sold to Taiwan Scrapped in 1985
Career (Republic of China)
Name:ROCS Po Yang (DD-10)
Acquired:July 6, 1973
Reclassified:DDG-910
Struck:1985
Fate:Transferred to Naval Weapons school and then scrapped.
General characteristics
Class & type:Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer
Displacement:2,200 tons
Length:376 ft 6 in (114.8 m)
Beam:40 ft (12.2 m)
Draft:15 ft 8 in (4.8 m)
Propulsion:60,000 shp (45 MW);
2 propellers
Speed:34 knots (63 km/h)
Range:6500 nmi. (12,000 km) @ 15 kt
Complement:336 officers and men
Armament:6 × 5 in./38 guns (12 cm),
12 × 40mm AA guns,
11 × 20mm AA guns,
10 × 21 in. torpedo tubes,
6 × depth charge projectors,
2 × depth charge tracks
 
Jump to: navigation, search
USS Maddox (DD-731)
Career (United States)
Namesake:William A. T. Maddox
Builder:Bath Iron Works
Laid down:28 October 1943
Launched:19 March 1944
Commissioned:2 June 1944
Decommissioned:c.1969
Struck:2 July 1972
Fate:Sold to Taiwan Scrapped in 1985
Career (Republic of China)
Name:ROCS Po Yang (DD-10)
Acquired:July 6, 1973
Reclassified:DDG-910
Struck:1985
Fate:Transferred to Naval Weapons school and then scrapped.
General characteristics
Class & type:Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer
Displacement:2,200 tons
Length:376 ft 6 in (114.8 m)
Beam:40 ft (12.2 m)
Draft:15 ft 8 in (4.8 m)
Propulsion:60,000 shp (45 MW);
2 propellers
Speed:34 knots (63 km/h)
Range:6500 nmi. (12,000 km) @ 15 kt
Complement:336 officers and men
Armament:6 × 5 in./38 guns (12 cm),
12 × 40mm AA guns,
11 × 20mm AA guns,
10 × 21 in. torpedo tubes,
6 × depth charge projectors,
2 × depth charge tracks

USS Maddox (DD-731), an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer was named for Captain William A. T. Maddox, USMC. She was laid down by the Bath Iron Works Corporation at Bath in Maine on 28 October 1943, launched on 19 March 1944 by Mrs. Harry H. Wilhoit, granddaughter of Captain Maddox and commissioned on 2 June 1944.

Contents

Operations

Maddox screened the ships of the Fast Carrier Task Force during strikes against enemy targets in the western Pacific where she was struck by an enemy Japanese kamikaze aircraft off Formosa on 21 January 1945. She also covered the Marine landings at Okinawa, operated with the 7th Fleet in support of United Nations Forces during the Korean War, and alternated operations along the west coast and in Hawaiian waters with regular deployments to the western Pacific with the Seventh Fleet. At first steaming with fast carrier groups in the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea, she headed south 18 May and established patrol off the coast of South Vietnam. During the Korean War, the Maddox participated in the Blockade of Wonsan, a 861 day siege bombardment of the city.

Gulf of Tonkin Incident

On 31 July 1964 she commenced her first leg of a DESOTO patrol in the Tonkin Gulf. Initially a routine patrol, it would later develop into a naval action with global repercussions. On 2 August 1964, Maddox, cruising in international waters 28 miles off the coast of North Vietnam, engaged three North Vietnamese Navy P4 Motor Torpedo Boats, from Torpedo Squadron 135.[1] The P4's, sixty-six-foot-long aluminum-hulled torpedo boats each armed with two torpedoes which mounted a 550 lb TNT warhead[2] and capable of exceeding 40 knots, approached at high speeds from several miles away. The commander of the 7th Fleet's Destroyer Division 192, Captain John J. Herrick,[3] who was aboard the Maddox in charge of the mission, ordered the ship's captain (Commander Herbert Ogier) to have gun crews fire upon the torpedo boats if they came within 10,000 yards. When they did, the American sailors fired three rounds to warn off the North Vietnamese boats.[4] The NVN torpedo boats were commanded by three brothers: Van Bot commanded boat T-333, Van Tu commanded T-336, and T-339 was commanded by Van Gian.[5] The torpedo boats initially conducted their attack in numerical order, with T-333 spearheading the assault. Maximum effective range for their torpedoes was 1,000 yards,[6] but the USS Maddox's 5-inch gun's range was 18,000 yards.[7] As the boats pressed home their attack and came within 5,000 yards, T-333 attempted to run abeam of the Maddox for a side shot, while the remaining two boats continued their stern chase. The two chasers, T-336 and T-339, fired first, but due to the Maddox's heavy fire of 5-inch shells, the torpedo boats had discharged their torpedoes at excessive range, all four underwater missiles missing their mark. T-333 fired its torpedoes, without effect, but duelled the Maddox's 5-inch and 3-inch guns with its twin 14.5 mm machinegun, achieving one hit on the destroyer.[6] The ship altered her course to avoid the torpedoes, which were observed passing on the starboard side. Soon, four F-8 Crusaders from an aircraft carrier in the region, the USS Ticonderoga, arrived on the scene and attacked the three torpedo boats. The combination of fire from the Maddox and the F-8s severely damaged all three boats, and forced them to retreat to the bases from which they came. Several NVN sailors were wounded, and four were killed. No US sailors were killed or wounded, and the Maddox did not sustain serious damage;[citation needed] one of the four Crusaders sustained some 14.5 mm machinegun fire hits, as a large portion of his left wing was "missing",[8] but managed to limp back to his carrier.

On 4 August, another DESOTO patrol off the North Vietnamese coast was launched by Maddox and the USS Turner Joy, in order to "show the flag" after the first incident. This time their orders indicated that the ships were to close to no more than 11 miles (18 km) from the coast of North Vietnam.[9] During an evening and early morning of rough weather and heavy seas, the destroyers received radar, sonar, and radio signals that they believed signaled another attack by the North Vietnamese navy. For some two hours the ships fired on radar targets and maneuvered vigorously amid electronic and visual reports of enemies. At 0127 Washington time, Herrick sent a cable in which he admitted that the attack may never have happened and that there may actually have been no North Vietnamese craft in the area: "Review of action makes many reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonarmen may have accounted for many reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken." Since then, numerous accounts have supported the theory that there was no attack on 4 August at all, including North Vietnamese military commander Vo Nguyen Giap, who in 1995 admitted the 2 August attack but asserted that the 4 August attack had never occurred.

Vietnam War

After arrival at Long Beach, Maddox remained in a leave and upkeep status until mid‑January 1965, then conducted training exercises and repairs in preparation for her next WestPac deployment. She departed Long Beach on 10 July and commenced operating with the fast carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin in early August. For the next 4 months, Maddox alternated duty with the carriers with gunfire support missions off the coast of South Vietnam. At the end of November she sailed for home, arriving at Long Beach 16 December.

After conducting upkeep and local exercises off the California coast, summer 1966 saw her engaged in a training cruise for midshipmen which included a trip to Pearl Harbor. Maddox departed California 20 November for another deployment with the 7th Fleet, sailing by way of Pearl Harbor, Midway, Guam, and Taiwan.

After a successful tour consisting primarily of providing gunfire support, interrupted by a visit to Singapore and a crossing of the Equator on 8 February 1967, Maddox departed Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, for home by way of Australia, New Zealand, and Pearl Harbor. She arrived at Long Beach 7 June 1967 and conducted local exercises until entering Long Beach Naval Shipyard 13 October for overhaul. She remained in overhaul until February 1968; then, after refresher training off the west coast, departed for WestPac 5 July. After completion of overhaul and type training, Maddox once again deployed to the Far East in July 1968, returning in December, 1968 to her home port, Long Beach, for overhaul and upkeep. Maddox was decommissioned in 1969 and assigned to the Naval Reserve Force. She was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 2 July 1972. On 6 July 1972 she was transferred to Taiwan and renamed Po Yang. The ship was scrapped in 1985.

Maddox received four battle stars for World War II service, and six for Korean service.

See also

References

  1. ^ Moise, p. 70, 78
  2. ^ Moise, p. 71
  3. ^ Moise, p. 51
  4. ^ McLaughlin, Mike. "Anatomy of a Crisis" American Heritage, March 2004.
  5. ^ Moise, p. 78
  6. ^ a b Moise, p. 79
  7. ^ Moise, p. 70
  8. ^ Moise, p. 82
  9. ^ Pentagon Papers

External links