Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIPS --

USS Maddox (DD-731), 1944-1972
Actions in the Gulf of Tonkin, August 1964

Amid steadily rising tensions over North Vietnam's activities in Laos and South Vietnam, at the end of July 1964 USS Maddox entered the Gulf of Tonkin for a cruise along the North Vietnamese coast. As part of a general U.S. effort to collect intelligence in potential Far Eastern hot spots, this "Desoto Patrol" was particularly focused on obtaining information that would support South Vietnamese coastal raids against North Vietnam. One of these had just taken place as Maddox began her mission.

On the afternoon of 2 August 1964, while steaming well offshore in international waters, Maddox was attacked by three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats. The destroyer maneuvered to avoid torpedoes and used her guns against her fast-moving opponents, hitting them all. In turn, she was struck in the after gun director by a single 14.5-millimeter machine gun bullet. Maddox called for air support from the carrier Ticonderoga, whose planes strafed the three boats, leaving one dead in the water and burning. Both sides then separated.

Maddox was soon ordered to resume her patrol, this time accompanied by the larger and newer destroyer Turner Joy. On 3 August, the South Vietnamese conducted another coastal raid. Intelligence indicated that the North Vietnamese were planning to again attack the U.S. ships operating off their shores, although this intrepretation was incorrect. During the night of 4 August, while they were underway in the middle of the Tonkin Gulf, Maddox and Turner Joy detected speedy craft closing in. For some two hours the ships fired on radar targets and maneuvered vigorously amid electronic and visual reports of torpedoes.

Though information obtained well after the fact indicates that there was actually no North Vietnamese attack that night, U.S. authorities were convinced at the time that one had taken place, and reacted by sending planes from the carriers Ticonderoga and Constellation to hit North Vietnamese torpedo boat bases and fuel facilites. A few days later, the U.S. Congess passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which gave the Government authorization for what eventually became a full-scale war in Southeast Asia.

This page features all the views we have relating to USS Maddox (DD-731) during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

For other information related to this incident, see Frequently Asked Questions: Tonkin Gulf Crisis, August 1964.

For other images related to USS Maddox, see USS Maddox (DD-731), 1944-1972.


Click on photograph to prompt a larger view.

Photo #: NH 96348

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964


Track of USS Maddox (DD-731), 31 July - 2 August 1964, during the first part of the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
Chart prepared for "The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict", Volume II, page 412.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 52KB; 685 x 675 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 96349

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964


Track chart of USS Maddox (DD-731) and three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats, during their action on 2 August 1964. Attacks by aircraft from USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) are also shown.
Chart prepared for "The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict", Volume II, page 416.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 77KB; 630 x 675 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 95611

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964


Photograph taken from USS Maddox (DD-731) during her engagement with three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964.
The view shows all three of the boats speeding towards the Maddox.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, Naval History & Heritage Command

Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 460 pixels

 
Photo #: USN 711526

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964


Photograph taken from USS Maddox (DD-731) during her engagement with three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964.
The view shows one of the boats speeding towards the Maddox.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph

Online Image: 158KB; 740 x 605 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives as Photo # 428-N-711526.

 
Photo #: USN 711523

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964


Photograph taken from USS Maddox (DD-731) during her engagement with three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964. The view shows shells fired by Maddox splashing astern of one of the boats. Smoke at the left is perhaps from other shells and/or from another boat.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph

Online Image: 88KB; 740 x 605 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives as Photo # 428-N-711523.

 
Photo #: USN 711524

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964


Photograph taken from USS Maddox (DD-731) during her engagement with three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964.
The view shows one of the boats racing by, with what appears to be smoke from Maddox' shells in its wake.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph

Online Image: 144KB; 740 x 610 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives as Photo # 428-N-711524.

 
Photo #: USN 711525

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964


Photograph taken from USS Maddox (DD-731) during her engagement with three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964.
The view shows one of the boats speeding past the Maddox.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph

Online Image: 120KB; 740 x 610 pixels

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives as Photo # 428-N-711525.

 
Photo #: KN-11060 (Color)

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964

Oil on canvas by Commander E.J. Fitzgerald, January 1965. It depicts the engagement between USS Maddox (DD-731) and three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats on 2 August 1964.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph

Online Image: 62KB; 740 x 565 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system as Photo # 428-KN-11060

 
Photo #: NH 97897

Gulf of Tonkin Incident, August 1964


Lieutenant Commander Dempster M. Jackson, USN, Executive officer of USS Maddox (DD-731), kneels next to the hole made by the machine gun bullet that hit his ship's Mk.56 director pedestal during the engagement between Maddox and three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats on 2 August 1964. The bullet is lodged in the hole.
Taken by a USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) photographer on 10 August 1964.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, Naval History & Heritage Command collection

Online Image: 86KB; 590 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 97898

Gulf of Tonkin Incident, August 1964


Captain John J. Herrick, USN, Commander Destroyer Division 192 (at left) and Commander Herbert L. Ogier, USN, Commanding Officer of USS Maddox (DD-731), on board Maddox on 13 August 1964. They were in charge of the ship during her engagement with three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats on 2 August 1964.
Photographed by PH3 White.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 82KB; 740 x 530 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 96350

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964


Tracks of USS Maddox (DD-731) and USS Turner Joy (DD-951), 3-5 August 1964, during the second part of the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
Chart prepared for "The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict", Volume II, page 423.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 56KB; 740 x 545 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 96351

Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964


Track chart of the action involving USS Maddox (DD-731) and USS Turner Joy (DD-951) on the night of 4 August 1964, during the second part of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Many of the observations reflected in this chart were later determined to be inaccurate.
Chart prepared for "The United States Navy and the Vietnam Conflict", Volume II, page 430.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 61KB; 530 x 765 pixels

 


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.



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