RALPH HICKOX, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Ralph Hickox '27

Date of birth: August 29, 1903

Date of death: February 18, 1942

Age: 38

Lucky Bag

From the 1927 Lucky Bag:


Biography & Loss

From Navsource:

Ralph Hickox was born 29 August 1903 in Washington D.C. Enlisting in the United States Marine Corps 23 September 1921, he was appointed to Annapolis 18 July 1923 and commissioned ensign 2 June 1927. In the peacetime Navy Hickox served in a variety of ships and stations and was finally appointed commanding officer of the destroyer USS Truxtun (DD-229) on 3 October 1941. He had been commissioned lieutenant commander 1 July of that year. When his ship went aground in heavy seas off St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, 18 February 1942, Lt. Comdr. Hickox remained on the bridge directing rescue operations in a cool and fearless manner which inspired the officers and men under him and was instrumental in effecting the rescue of many of the members of his crew. Tragically Lt. Commander Hickox was swept from the bridge by the pounding seas and lost. 119 members of her crew lost their lives in the heavy seas and with the assistance of the local residents 33 survivors were rescued.

Ralph was lost when USS Truxtun (DD 229) grounded in Newfoundland on February 18, 1942. He was the ship's commanding officer since October 3, 1941.

The book "Standing Into Danger" by Cassie Brown detail's Truxtun's loss, as well as the loss of USS Pollux (AKS 2) and USS Wilkes (DD 441). The website "Dead Reckoning: The Pollux-Truxtun Disaster" is also devoted to the topic.

His wife was listed as next of kin. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Namesake

USS Hickox (DD 673) was named for Ralph; the ship was sponsored by his widow.

"Kearny, New Jersey, July 4 1943, holding bottles in their hands that they smashed against the prows of the vessels named for their husbands, both former Lieutenant Commanders, Mrs. Ralph Hickox (Left) of Washington D.C., Mrs. Howard R. Healy of Long Beach, California, participated in the launching ceremonies for the destroyers USS Hickox (DD-673) and USS Healy (DD-672) respectively on July 4 1943, at the Kearny Shipyards of U.S. Steel's Federal Shipbuilding Company. Their husbands, both Naval Heroes, died in action in the present war. Photo courtesy of the Acme Newspictures."

Related Articles

Elmer D. Anderson '35, James W. Danforth '38, and Arthur L. Newman '34 were also lost when Truxton was grounded.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

January 1928

Ensign, USS California

Others at this command: LT Horatio Sickel, IV '20 and ENS James McRoberts '27.

April 1928

Ensign, USS California

Others at this command: LT Horatio Sickel, IV '20 and ENS James McRoberts '27.

July 1928

Ensign, USS Somers

October 1928

Ensign, USS Somers

January 1929

Ensign, USS Somers

April 1929

Ensign, USS Somers

July 1929

Ensign, USS Somers

October 1929

Ensign, USS Somers

January 1930

Ensign, USS Somers

April 1930

Ensign, USS Buchanan

October 1930

Lieutenant (j.g.), temporary orders, National Board Elections, Nicaragua

Others at this command: ENS Roderick Rooney '29.

January 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Louisville

April 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Louisville

July 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Louisville

October 1931

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Louisville

January 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Louisville

Others at this command: LTjg Thomas Oberrender, Jr. '27.

April 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Louisville

Others at this command: LTjg Thomas Oberrender, Jr. '27.

October 1932

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Louisville

Others at this command: LTjg Thomas Oberrender, Jr. '27, ENS Augustus Alston, Jr. '31, and ENS Charles Weschler '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Irving Wiltsie '21 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 10S).

January 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Louisville

Others at this command: LTjg Thomas Oberrender, Jr. '27, ENS Augustus Alston, Jr. '31, and ENS Charles Weschler '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Irving Wiltsie '21 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 10S).

April 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Louisville

Others at this command: LTjg Thomas Oberrender, Jr. '27, ENS Augustus Alston, Jr. '31, and ENS Charles Weschler '32.

Others at or embarked at this command: LT Irving Wiltsie '21 (Scouting Plane Squadron (VS) 10S).

July 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Vireo

October 1933

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Vireo

April 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Leary

Others at this command: LCDR Warner Portz '15 and ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32.

July 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Leary

Others at this command: LCDR Warner Portz '15 and ENS John Fairbanks, Jr. '32.

October 1934

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Leary

January 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Leary

April 1935

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS Leary

July 1938

Lieutenant, USS Erie

Others at this command: LTjg James Kemper '32.

January 1939

Lieutenant, USS Erie

Others at this command: LTjg James Kemper '32.

October 1939

Lieutenant, USS Erie

June 1940

Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Hilary P. Jones

November 1940

Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Hilary P. Jones

April 1941

Lieutenant, executive officer, USS Hilary P. Jones


Class of 1927

Ralph is one of 43 members of the Class of 1927 on Virtual Memorial Hall.