Historical Sketch of
Text from Principal Investigator
The destroyer DD-401 was named for noted American astronomer, hydrographer,
and naval officer, Comdr. Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873). Maury was
appointed Superintendent of the Department of Charts and Instruments in
1842, and upon the establishment of the Naval Observatory in 1844 became
its superintendent. He published many well known scientific works and
became known as the "Pathfinder of the Seas," around the world. Following
the outbreak of the Civil War, Maury joined the Confederate Navy, in which
he attained the rank of commodore. At the end of the war he occupied the
chair of physics at the Virginia Military Institute.
The second to bear the name,
(DD-401) was commissioned 5
August 1938 and assigned to the Pacific Fleet based at Pearl Harbor. She
was returning home from Wake Island escorting
when word of the Japanese attack reached her soon after 0900, 7 December
1941. By the time the force returned to Pearl Harbor only one enemy vessel
had been sighted and sunk by carrier aircraft, the submarine I-70 on the
Although she missed the Battle of Coral Sea,
the critical battles at Midway and in the Solomon Islands serving as an
also supported the
invasions of Tarawa and Makin in the Gilberts 20 November 1943. Early in
joined TF 58, as a screen for the "flattops," as their
planes raided throughout the Southwest Pacific Theater. She served in the
Marianas campaigns and in the climactic battles of the Philippine Sea and
Leyte Gulf in 1944.
spent most of November 1944 east of the
Philippines in support of operations on Leyte and Samar. The end of the
in New York for repairs. She was sold in June 1946
and scrapped shortly thereafter.
received 16 battle stars for
World War II service.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
vols., (Navy Department, Office of Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History
Division, Washington, DC, 1963), Volume IV, pp. 278-279.
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