Eugene S. Sarsfield was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on 19 April 1902 and entered the Naval Academy in 1922. Upon his graduation on 3 June 1926, he was commissioned Ensign and served in NEVADA (BB-36), New York (BB- 34), and HANNIBAL (AG-1) before receiving submarine instruction in 1929 and torpedo training in 1930. During the next four years, he served successively in GREER (DD-146), ARGONNE (AP-4), and CONSTITUTION
Following duty with the 3d Naval District, he joined BADGER (DD-126) in July 1935, and returned to New York in
September 1937. He instructed naval reservists in the 3d Naval District for two years before reporting to KEARNY
(DD-432) on 10 June 1940 to serve as executive officer and navigator. He was commended by the Secretary of the Navy,
Frank Knox, for "Leadership, personal courage and ingenuity in solving the many problems arising under adverse conditions"
when KEARNY was torpedoed off Iceland on 17 October 1941.
Given command of MCCORMICK (DD-223) on 8 December 1941, he was detached on 3 October to supervise the
outfitting of MADDOX (DD-622) and he assumed command of that destroyer at her commissioning on 3 October 1942.
He was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct as commanding officer of MADDOX when she
attacked and probably sank an enemy submarine on 6 May 1943.
While acting as an escort for an Atlantic convoy, the destroyer made contact with the submerged enemy submarine. Lt.
Comdr. Sarsfield took prompt and effective action and, with great skill, delivered two accurate depth charge attacks. The
submarine was damaged by the first attack; and, after the second attack, it appeared briefly on the surface upside down. As
a result of these attacks, which demonstrated Sarsfield's thorough training and sound decision, the submarine was probably
Reported missing on 10 July 1943 and officially presumed dead on the next day, Comdr. Sarsfield was posthumously
awarded the Navy Cross and cited for extraordinary heroism as commanding officer of MADDOX during the invasion of
Sicily on 10 July 1943. While his ship was effectively supporting the assault at Gela, Lt. Comdr. Sarsfield, in the face of
terrific aerial bombardment, maintained alert and accurate direction of gunfire until MADDOX was gravely damaged by one
direct hit and two near misses. He remained on board supervising the abandonment of the rapidly sinking ship and helped
greatly to save the lives of 9 officers and 65 men of the 284 on board.
Displacement: 2,425 tons
Length: 390' 6"
Beam: 41' 1"
Draft: 18' 6"
Speed: 35 knots
Complement: 367 personnel
Armament: 6 5", 12 40-mm., 5 20-mm., 10 21" tt.