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Herrick, Captain John Jerome Papers 

Dates: 1964-1997

Collection Number: AR/363 (Formerly COLL/543)

Finding aid (Word)

Biographical Note

John Jerome Herrick was born in Warren, Minnesota, on June 23, 1920, son of James O. and Lillian M. (Connelly) Herrick. He attended Superior State College, for two years, prior to entering the U.S Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on appointment at large in 1940. Graduated with the Class of 1944 on June 9, 1943 (course of instruction reduced to three years due to World War II) and commissioned ensign, he subsequently advanced in rank to that of captain, to date from April 1, 1964.

Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1943, he joined USS New York and while attached to that battleship participated in operations during World War II. After the cessation of hostilities, he next had aviation training at the Naval Air Station Dallas, Texas, and in May 1946 reported as Engineering Officer on board USS Samuel N. Moore (DD 747). During the period January 1948 to January 1950 he continued duty afloat as Executive Officer on USS Doyle (DMS-34).

Returning to the Naval Academy in March 1950, he was an instructor in marine engineering until June 1952, after which he commanded USS LSMR 412, which under his command participated in operations in the Korean area of hostilities. Detached from command of that vessel in August 1954, he again had duty at the Naval Academy, this time as an instructor in ordnance and gunnery. He remained there until June 1956, then commanded USS Hanna (DE-499). In February 1958 he reported as Engineering Officer on board USS Hornet (CVA-12) and from August 1959 to March 1963 served as Bureau of Naval Weapons Representative, Northern Pump Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In May 1962 he assumed command of USS Fechteler (DDR-870) and in March 1963 transferred to command of USS Edson (DD-946). In May 1964 he was detached from that destroyer for duty as Commander Destroyer Division 192, USS Maddox, flagship. He was on board his flagship when it was attacked by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats on August 2, 1964 in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin, about twenty-eight miles off Communist North Vietnam coast. No casualties or damage was sustained by Maddox. In April 1965 he was designated Commanding officer of the Naval Ammunition Depot, Saint Juliens Creek, Portsmouth, Virginia.

Captain Herrick has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two stars; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; China Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal. 


Scope and Content Note


The personal papers of Captain John Herrick contain information collected by the captain concerning America’s role in Gulf of Tonkin Incident as well as returning POWs. The majority of the documents within the collection pertain to the Tonkin Gulf Incident, with which Captain Herrick was intimately involved as the Commander, Destroyer Division 192. Series I includes message traffic collected by the captain from the Departments of Defense and State, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of which relate to the Tonkin Gulf Incident. 

Series II includes memoranda circulated in August 1964 concerning Tonkin Gulf. Series III consists solely of After Action Reports from USS Maddox, USS Turner Joy, and Destroyer Division 192. 

Series IV includes research material collected from a wide range of both academic and government libraries. All of the material pertains to the incident at Tonkin Gulf. Series V holds contains a large assortment of interviews conducted in the aftermath of the release of American POWs in 1973. It contains twenty-two individual interviews conducted during eight official press conferences. Series VI is a subject file collection, containing a wide assortment of material concerning the Tonkin Gulf Incident.


Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Papers of Captain John J. Herrick, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington D.C.


Published: Tue Aug 10 14:42:36 EDT 2021