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Stephen Decatur: All-American Pirate
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:07 am    Post subject: Stephen Decatur: All-American Pirate Reply with quote

Stephen Decatur doesn't really fall into the stereotypical image of a pirate, in that he was actually a respected U.S. Navy officer. Decatur was the youngest man to reach the rank of captain in the history of the navy, which sounds like a bullshit line of expository dialogue from an unbelievably stupid Hollywood film trailer. But in this case, it happens to be true. He was also the first American celebrated as a national military hero who didn't play a role in the American Revolution -- hell, they even put his face on $20 notes.

So how did he get to be so famous? Why, by pulling off some of the most epic (and bloody) sea raids of all time.

For example, when the USS Philadelphia was captured by Tripolitan pirates in 1803, the 25-year-old Decatur gathered a group of men, disguised them as Maltese sailors and infiltrated the enemy harbor armed only with swords and pikes. Did they recover the ship? Nope -- they overtook the entire crew without losing a single man and set it on fire just so the pirates couldn't use it. Admiral Horatio Nelson, the same man who had his arm removed so that he could get back to battle, called the raid "the most bold and daring act of the age."
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But wait, there's more. Later, as Decatur was returning from seizing another ship with a crew twice as large as his, he learned that his brother had been shot while fighting the pirates. Even though the whole crew was exhausted from the latest raid, Decatur turned around and chased the enemy ship, which he and 10 other men proceeded to board.

Disregarding everyone else, Decatur, a Liam Neeson-like machine of vengeance, went straight after the man who shot his brother and killed him. The rest of the crew eventually surrendered, leaving Decatur with 27 prisoners and 33 dead pirates in a single day.

Again: he was 25.
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