USS Maddox (DD-622) underway at sea on 17 November 1942
United States
Name: Maddox
Namesake: William Maddox
Builder: Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
Laid down: 7 May 1942
Launched: 15 September 1942
Commissioned: 31 October 1942
Fate: Sunk by German air attack, 10 July 1943
Struck: 19 August 1943
General characteristics
Class and type: Gleaves-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,630 tons
Length: 348 ft 3 in (106.15 m)
Beam:   36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)
Draft:   11 ft 10 in (3.61 m)
  • 50,000 shp (37,000 kW)
  • 4 boilers;
  • 2 propellers
Speed: 37.4 knots (69 km/h)
Range: 6,500 nmi (12,000 km; 7,500 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 16 officers, 260 enlisted

USS Maddox (DD-622), a Gleaves-class destroyer, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named after United States Marine Corps Captain William A. T. Maddox, who served in the Mexican–American War.

Maddox was laid down on 7 May 1942 by the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, Kearny, New Jersey and launched on 15 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Ellen-Venita Browning Wilhoit Gay, great granddaughter of Captain Maddox. The ship was commissioned on 31 October 1942, Lieutenant Commander Eugene S. Sarsfield in command.

As the assault troops opened theAmphibious Battle of Gela on 10 July, Maddox was on antisubmarine patrol offshore. Steaming alone, the destroyer was attacked by a German [Junkers Ju 88] bomber of KG 54.[1] One of the bombs exploded Maddox's aft magazine, causing the ship to roll over and sink within two minutes. Lieutenant Commander 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.

Those who bombed the USS Maddoox:

Veterans groups in Germany exist but, for obvious reasons, are less well known than in the U.S. It took Gerhard many months before he found the historian for KG-54 (Bomber Group 54). The historian had limited information that one of their crews had sunk the MADDOX and he contacted Adolf Knoblauch who had been the Radio Operator on the Kurt Fox bomber crew.

By cross-referencing Knoblauch's personal flight log with the known date, place and time of the sinking, it became obvious that they had been the crew who had dropped the fatal bombs. (They knew they hit a warship but had never confirmed that it was the MADDOX or that it had sunk.) Knoblauch was extremely helpful and provided Gerhard with photos and other recollections of the sinking. Gerhard passed them along to me and I to the Association. Herr Knoblauch loaned his photos without reservation and without any restriction on their use.

It is important to note that this four-man crew entered the Luftwaffe years before the war and were military professionals. None had any affiliation with the Nazi party and each served honorably as members of the German Air Force.

This crew outlived over 90 others that arrived in combat within their unit. The pilot, Dr. Kurt Fox, has said they survived for three reasons: 1) they had years of training before the war broke out. 2) luck. 3) they were well-educated. In fact, after the war, the crew accumulated a total of five (5) doctorates degrees between the four of them.

Dr. Fox has also provided a wealth of photographs of the crew but it is his wish to not have them published.

In May of 1998 a "reunion" was held in Thomasville, NC with Dr. Fox and several of the DD-622 survivors. Herr Knoblauch was unable to attend due to illness. The remaining two members of the Fox crew were deceased in recent years. Brian Lindner


  1. ^ "History Of The Sinking Of Dd". Retrieved 2016-02-21.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

External links

  • USS Maddox
  • USS Maddox
  • USS Maddox

Coordinates: 36°52′N 13°56′E / 36.867°N 13.933°E / 36.867; 13.933