USS Maddox (DD-622)
Three U.S. Navy ships have been named Maddox:  DD-168, DD-622, and DD-731.  All three were named in honor of Captain William
Alfred Maddox, a U.S. Marine Corps officer from Charles County, Maryland, who served during the first half of the nineteenth century.
Federal Shipbuilding of Kearny, New Jersey, built the second USS Maddox (DD-622) and launched her on September 15, 1942.
After the ship passed a series of required sea trials, the Navy commissioned her on October 31, 1942.
At 348 feet long and 36 feet wide at the beam, the new USS Maddox displaced 1,630 tons, with a draft of seventeen feet, five inches.
Twin-screw 50,000 horsepower Westinghouse geared turbines with high-pressure super-heated boilers turned out a top speed of 37
knots.  Cruising at an average speed of 12 knots, the ship had a range of 6,500 nautical miles. 
With Lieutenant Commander Eugene S. Sarsfield in command, the Maddox departed New York on January 2, 1943, en route to Norfolk,
Virginia.  On station at Norfolk, the new destroyer began performing escort duty.  After two missions accompanying oil tankers between
Norfolk and Galveston, Texas, the Maddox embarked on a series of trans-Atlantic crossings escorting troop convoys from New York and
Norfolk to north Africa.  On June 8, 1943, the Maddox departed Norfolk for Oran, Algeria, where it joined Task Force 81, one of three
separate naval forces then assembling in the Mediterranean Sea for Operation HUSKY, the joint British, U.S., and Canadian amphibious
assault planned for the Italian island of Sicily.  On July 10, 1943, as the invasion took place on shore, the Maddox cruised sixteen miles
off the coast of Gela, Sicily, conducting antisubmarine patrols.  Having inexplicably wandered from the main destroyer pack, the Maddox
came under attack from a four-man German dive bomber that came down out of the sun, gliding quietly with its engines off.  Personnel
aboard the Maddox had no idea they were under attack until they heard the whistling of the falling bombs.  The first fell short by twenty-
five yards; the second struck the propeller guard and detonated depth charges lined up on the aft deck.  The initial blast caused the ship
to settle by the stern; then it lost steering and headway, as steam billowed from the starboard main deck and number two stack.  The
ship listed slightly to port, then suddenly capsized to starboard and sank -- all within two minutes.  Chief Water Tender Thomas Stevens,
at his station in a boiler room far below decks, could not reach the surface.  He and 211 shipmates perished; 74 managed to survive.
Tom Steven's widow, Virginia, recalled how apprehensive he felt before that last voyage.  He told her the Maddox was grossly overloaded,
carrying extra ammunition for the cruisers in the convoy.  "Even the fire hoses," he told her, "were uncoiled on deck and filled with small
caliber rounds.  If we take just one hit, we will blow up like a bomb."  On the morning of their last day together, Tom sat with his wife at
the kitchen table and reviewed the details of what she would have to do in the event of his death.  As he rose to leave for the ship, he 
reached out and handed Virginia his pocket watch -- his most prized possession.

Sources:  Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships; USS Maddox Destroyer Association; and the personal recollections of Mrs.

Virginia Plummer.  For a brief but excellent overview of Operation HUSKY and the sinking of the USS Maddox, see:  Atkinson, Rick

The Day of Battle (Henry Holt and Company, New York, c2007), specifically pages 80 and 81. 

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