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John Jerome Herrick (June 23, 1920 - August 2, 1997) was an officer in the United States Navy who was commander of the U.S.S. Maddox during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August 1964. Herrick gave the order to return fire on three Viet Cong patrol boats.[1]

Herrick was born in Warren, Minnesota, son of James Orival Herrick and Lillian (Cowley) Herrick, where his father was depot agent for the Soo Line Railroad. He attended University of Wisconsin - Superior before entering the United States Naval Academy. At the academy, his nickname was Jiglig.[2] On May 1, 1948, in La Jolla, California, he married Geraldine Kane (1921-2003), the daughter of a retired Navy dentist. They had three sons and a daughter.[3] He was a commander of landing ships (medium rockets) during the Korean War.

Herrick died in 1997 and was buried at Santa Fe National Cemetery in New Mexico.

Herrick's older brother Curtis J. Herrick (1909-1971, USMA 1931) was a general in the United States Army.[4]


  1. Warren Sheaf, August 5, 1964, p. 1A.
  2. New York Times, August 6, 1964
  3. New York Times, August 6, 1964.
  4. Warren Sheaf, August 5, 1964, p. 1A.

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