USS Maddox (DD-168) was one of 111 Wickes-class destroyers constructed by the US Navy during World War I. She was one of three naval vessels named in honor of William A.T. Maddox, who was an officer in the US Marine Corps during the Mexican-American War.
Maddox was laid down by the Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts on July 20, 1918. She was sponsored by Mrs. Clarence N. Hinkamp, who was the daughter of Captain Maddox, and was launched on October 27, 1918. Commander Edward C.S. Parker took command of Maddox on March 10, 1919. She received her DD-168 designation on July 17 of the following year.
Following commissioning, Maddox was assigned to Division 21, Atlantic Fleet. She then sailed to the Azores, where she assisted with the world’s first trans-Atlantic flight. As a member of the “bridge of ships,” she guided the Navy flying boats NC-1 and NC-4 across the Atlantic. Maddox then returned to Boston before sailing to Europe on August 26, 1919. Nearly a month later, she arrived in Brest, France and assisted with the escort of SS George Washington as she sailed to Belgium to pick up the King and Queen of Belgium to bring them to the United States.
After completing her honor escort duty, Maddox embarked on cross-channel service until late October. At this time, she escorted ships while carrying naval and Army passengers to France, the Hook of Holland and various Baltic ports. Maddox returned to the United States in February 1920 and operated out of Boston for the next two years until she departed for Philadelphia in February 1922. Maddox was decommissioned on June 14, 1922 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Maddox remained inactive for the next 18 years until she was recommissioned on June 17, 1940. She then spent a brief time with the mid-Atlantic Neutrality Patrol before departing for Newport, Rhode Island. Maddox was decommissioned on September 23, 1940 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was transferred to Great Britain on the same day as part of the destroyer for naval bases agreement. She was commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Georgetown before being transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy, at which time she was modified for trade convoy escort service. The former Maddox then joined the Reserve Fleet when she was returned to the UK in December 1943. In August 1944, she was turned over to the Soviet Navy and renamed once again to Doblestny. In September 1952, she was returned to the Royal Navy, only to be scrapped on September 16 that same year.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Maddox (DD-168)
Using asbestos-containing materials in the construction of oceangoing ships was mandated by the US Congress in the early 1930s, after a fire at sea on a cruise ship caused the deaths of more than 100 passengers and crew. Maddox, like most Navy ships at the time, deployed asbestos-containing materials extensively in boilers and engine compartments, as well as to insulate compartments in all sections of the vessel. The harm done by asbestos fibers happens when microscopic particles are breathed in or swallowed; the fibers infiltrate the mesothelial lining and occasionally other organs, leading to scar tissue in the case of pleural plaques and damage at the cellular level in the case of mesothelioma cancer.
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Maddox. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. (http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/m1/maddox-i.htm) Retrieved 20 December 2010