August 27th, 1944: Following antisubmarine exercises and a quick shakedown run, the newly christened USS Maddox was sent to Ulithi, a group of islands in Micronesia. The Maddox primarily was posted to hold a perimeter around carriers as they attacked Japanese islands. While attack the island of Formosa on January 21st, 1945, she was hit by a suicide plane and was forced to head back to the base at Ulithi for repairs. The ship was badly damaged, as the plane hit the pilot housing (Greenspan, Jesse).. In the 20 years following the war, the Maddox was used as a training ship. However, as the hostilities with North Korea heightened, she was relocated to the western pacific Hungnam. Hungnam is located in North Korea, and during the Christmas season of 1950 over 200,000 people were evacuated from the city with help from merchant ships and the United States Navy. Throughout the war, the ship had over 700 rounds of artillery fired at it, none of which did any significant damage. The only time during the war the Maddox took any damage; Soviet intelligence falsely reported that it sank (Sto...
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...t fired upon the Turner Joy. After an intense investigation, there was no wreckage found, nor any damage on either of the two vessels (Greenspan, Jesse). With these facts, combined with the statement from Captain Herrick, it can be conjectured that the second attack on the Maddox never happened. In private conversations, President Johnson himself admitted to expressing doubt over these attacks.
The USS Maddox DD-731 served through 3 wars from 1944 to 1973. It proved to be a very valuable asset through World War II, the Korean War, as well as the Vietnam War. While the ship and her crew did provide valuable intelligence during the first DESOTO patrol, the second patrol proved to be a blemish. The Maddox did serve valiantly throughout previous wars and the Vietnam War, but the lack of proof and conflicting reports about the second attack leave a lot to be answered.
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