On 31 July she commenced the first leg of a patrol in the Tonkin Gulf. Initially a routine patrol, it developed into a defensive action with global repercussions. On 2 August, Maddox, cruising in international waters, was closed in a torpedo run by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats. During the ensuing skirmish, in which torpedoes were launched at Maddox, the destroyer put two of the Communist boats out of action with direct hits.
This attack, at first assumed to have been in error, was proven deliberate within 48 hours. On the 4th, North Vietnamese patrol boats again attack Maddox, which by this time had been joined by Turner Joy. Early detection and skillful evasion permitted the destroyers to break contact with the first assault units sent against them on that date. But, little over an hour later, enemy torpedo boats closed in again, launching torpedoes. Maddox commenced firing starshells for illumination, while Turner Joy opened fire on the attacking boats. The fighting continued for 21⁄2 hours before being broken off by the North Vietnamese. Retaliation in the form of airstrikes on North Vietnamese patrol boat bases and their supporting oil storage depots came within a few hours. For this action both ships were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. Following the incident, the destroyers returned to their patrol, completing it on the 8th. Maddox then resumed carrier operations until departing for Long Beach 17 September."
For this action both ships were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.
And my Academy graduate uncle who was the skipper of the Maddox was awarded a Bronze Star and sent to run an ROTC at a Texas university. End of career! There was another officer aboard in charge of the mission - intelligence gathering - who outranked my uncle. I never learned what happened to his career.