Fox IV (Destroyer No. 234)
A small carnivorous mammal common throughout the world. Two United States Navy schooners were named for this animal.
Gustavus Vasa Fox, born 13 June 1821 at Saugus, Mass., was appointed midshipman 12 January 1838. During the Mexican War, he served in the brig Washington in the squadron of Commodore Perry and took active part in the second expedition against Tobasco, 14-16 January 1847, which resulted in the capture of that town. He was in command of several mail steamers and after his resignation 30 July 1856, engaged in the manufacture of woolen materials.
At the start of the Civil War he volunteered for service. He was given a temporary appointment in the Navy and was sent in the steamer Baltic to the relief of Major Robert Anderson and the remnant of his command in Fort Sumter, and brought them away. On 1 August 1861, President Lincoln appointed him Assistant Secretary of the Navy, an office which he held until the close of the Civil War. In 1866, he was sent on a special mission to Russia and conveyed the congratulations of the President of the United States to the Czar upon his escape from assassination. His voyage was made in the monitor Miantonomah which was the first vessel of this class to cross the Atlantic. He died 29 October 1883 at Lowell, Mass. Torpedo Boat No. 13 and DD-234 were named for Gustavus Fox.
Printed sources list a schooner Fox as a naval vessel in the period 1817-21, but no information concerning such a ship is contained in the official manuscript records.
The fourth Fox was launched 12 June 1919 by the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.; sponsored by Miss Virginia Blair, grandniece of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus V. Fox; and commissioned 17 May 1920, Commander A. D. Turnbull, in command.
The ship was assigned to foreign service and, after fitting out, departed Philadelphia 20 August 1920 for Newport, R.I., where she took on torpedoes and fuel, and on the 28th got underway for the Mediterranean area. She arrived at Constantinople, Turkey, 21 September reporting for duty with U.S. Naval Detachment Operating in Turkish Waters. Fox cruised in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea until July 1922, visiting various ports of Turkey, Greece, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Romania, Russia and Egypt. In the time of disturbed conditions throughout the Near East and south Russia she rendered aid to American commercial men, relief and Red Cross workers, and Food Administration officials; transported mail, dispatches, and passengers; served as station ship at various ports; and assisted in the evacuation of refugees from Crimea.
Departing Constantinople for the United States on 8 July 1922, Fox arrived at Philadelphia on the 27th. After undergoing overhaul and engaging in exercises, the ship arrived Norfolk 28 September and was again fitted for duty in the Near East. She departed Norfolk 2 October 1922 and arrived Constantinople on the 22d. Here she engaged in communication and intelligence duty with the U.S. Naval Detachment in Turkish Waters until 18 July 1923, when she sailed for the United States via Naples and Gibraltar, arriving New York 11 August.
During September and October 1923 Fox attached to the Scouting Fleet, engaged in fleet maneuvers in the Newport, R.I., area. In November the ship was assigned to the 3d Naval District and throughout the following 7 years was utilized in training Naval Reservists. She arrived at Philadelphia on 24 October 1930 and was placed out of commission at the Navy Yard 2 February 1931.
Fox was placed in commission in rotating reserve at Philadelphia on 1 April 1932. On 18 June she was placed in full commission and assigned to Destroyer Division 1, Squadron 1, Scouting Force. Departing Philadelphia 29 June, Fox proceeded to Hampton Roads and on 2 July was underway with Division 1 for the west coast, via the Panama Canal, arriving San Diego on the 22d. From 1932 to 1938 Fox operated almost continuously in the Pacific with destroyer squadrons of the Scouting Force and Battle Fleet, engaging in fleet tactical and strategical exercises along the coast and cruising to the Canal Zone or Hawaiian area to participate in fleet problems. During this period she made two cruises to the Atlantic and Caribbean area, one from April to October 1934 and the other from April to October 1936. On 14 May 1938 Fox departed San Diego for the east coast for decommissioning. She arrived at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 2 June and was placed out of commission 16 September 1938.
Recommissioned 25 September 1939 Fox was assigned to the Atlantic Squadron and from 25 October performed escort and patrol duty along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean area until August 1940. Arriving Balboa, C.Z., 25 August she performed inshore patrol duty from this port until sailing for San Francisco, 25 October. Fox patrolled with the Local Defense Forces, 12th Naval District until departure 2 January 1941 for Seattle, Wash. She patrolled off the coast of Washington and Oregon with Local Defense Forces, 13th Naval District, until December 1941, except while under overhaul from March to June, and while assigned to temporary duty in the 12th Naval District from 20 August to 9 October.
On 12 December 1941 Fox departed Bremerton, Wash., en route to Alaska as escort of SS Southerland. She arrived at Dutch Harbor on 18 December, and proceeded as escort for merchant ships to Sitka, Kodiak, and Dutch Harbor, returning to Seattle on 12 February 1942. Following repairs at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, she performed screening duties out of Seattle, acted as ready duty ship at Port Angeles (14-18 March), and made three escort voyages to San Pedro until 10 May 1942.
From 21 May 1942 to 20 May 1943 Fox sailed as escort with 12 merchant ship convoys bound for various ports of Alaska, and was modernized at Seattle (3 July - 8 September). On her fourth cruise of this duty she departed Seattle 22 September 1942 for Dutch Harbor and after screening a transport to Chernofski Bay, departed Dutch Harbor 28 October to escort a convoy of four Russian submarines to San Francisco.
On 25 May 1943 Fox departed Seattle for extended duty as patrol and escort vessel among the ports of Alaska, operating under orders of Commander Northwest Sea Frontier until 25 March 1944. In addition to conducting scheduled exercises and operations off the coast, she made numerous trips to Alaskan waters, transporting men of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard between Seattle and bases at Kodiak and Adak.
On 15 April the ship departed Seattle for San Diego, where she joined Western Sea Frontier Forces, Southern California Sector. She operated in the San Diego area until September, conducting antisubmarine exercises, training men from the sound school, transporting passengers, performing escort duty, and cruising for the purpose of making moving pictures.
Fox departed San Diego 22 September 1944 and on the 26th arrived at the Puget Sound Navy Yard for conversion to a miscellaneous auxiliary. She was re-classified AG-85 on 1 October. On 4 November the ship proceeded to Seattle and, after engaging in scheduled exercises, on the 8th got underway for San Francisco. She arrived at Naval Air Station, Alameda, on the 11th and reported for duty to Commander Fleet Air. From November through September 1945 Fox was based on Alameda, engaging in plane exercises and serving as target vessel in aerial torpedo exercises in the Monterey area. She departed San Francisco Bay on 18 October 1945 for the east coast, arriving Norfolk, Va., on 7 November. Fox was decommissioned 29 November 1945 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va. She was sold for scrapping 12 November 1946.