A Greek hero during the Trojan War, second only to Achilles' prowess and valor. The son of Telemon of Salamis and Periboea, Ajax vied with Ulysses for the arms which had belonged to the fallen Achilles. Maddened by disappointment and anger when they were awarded to the latter, Ajax slew the Greek army's flock of sheep, mistaking them for enemies. When he regained his senses and realized what he had done, he killed himself from shame and despair.
During World War I, Ajax—a scientific research vessel purchased by the Navy on 2 October 1917 and commissioned on 16 February 1918—was renamed Rockport (q.v.) on 20 February 1918.