Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose devotion gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: On August 2, 1964 USS Maddox, a destroyer on intelligence watch in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam, was attacked by three enemy torpedo patrol boats. Maddox destroyed the boats, but narrowly escaped a triple torpedo spread launched before the boats were sunk. The destroyer was ordered to remain on station as an assertion of freedom of the seas and two days later, now joined by another destroyer, USS Turner Joy, the whole scenario seemed about to repeat itself. Maddox’s radar picked up three enemy boats that seemed to be closing fast in an attack pattern. Commodore John Herrick, commander of the patrol, radioed for air support and soon both ships and planes were pounding away at the approaching bogies. There was no unimpeachable evidence that an attack command had been broadcast on enemy frequencies as there had been two days before, there was no evidence of debris after the engagement and no real evidence that the three contacts actually attacked the Maddox and Turner Joy. Nevertheless, officers and crew of the two ships certainly felt they were under attack and acted accordingly.