Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Maddox II (Destroyer No. 622)

(DD‑622: dpl. 1,630; l. 348'4"; b. 36'1"; dr. 17'5"; s. 35 k.; cpl. 270; a. 4 5", 5 20mm., 5 21" tt., 6 dcp., 2 dct. cl. Gleaves)

William A. T. Maddox, born in Charles County, Md., in 1814, commanded a volunteer company in the Creek and Seminole Wars in 1836, and was appointed 2d lieutenant in the Marine Corps 14 October 1837. Serving in the Mexican War, he was breveted captain for "gallant and meritorious conduct" as Military Commandant of the Middle District of California during a Mexican uprising at Monterey and during the Battle of Santa Clara, 3 January 1847. Captain Maddox retired in 1880 and died in Washington, D.C., 1 January 1889.


The second Maddox (Destroyer No. 622) was laid down 7 May 1942 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Kearny, N.J.; launched 15 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Ellen‑Venita Browning Wilhoit Gay, great‑granddaughter of Captain Maddox; and commissioned 31 October 1942, Lt. Comdr. Eugene S. Sarsfield in command.

After shakedown, Maddox departed New York 2 January 1943 for Norfolk, where she commenced escort‑duties. Following her first two convoy missions, safeguarding fleet oilers plying between Norfolk and the petroleum centers of Galveston and Aruba, Maddox began a series of transatlantic voyages escorting convoys from New York and Norfolk to north Africa.

On 8 June 1943, Maddox departed Norfolk for Oran, Algeria, where she became a unit of TF 81, the assault force for the Sicilian invasion. As the assault troops landed 10 July, Maddox was on antisubmarine patrol about 16 miles offshore. Steaming alone, the destroyer was attacked by a German dive bomber. One of the bombs exploded Maddox's after magazine, causing the ship to roll over and sink within 2 minutes. The commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. E. S. Sarsfield, was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism displayed in supervising abandon ship. His action was responsible for saving the lives of 74 of the crew. Maddox was struck from the Navy list 19 August 1943.

Maddox received two battle stars for World War II service.

Published: Mon Apr 04 07:46:20 EDT 2016