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WHO: JOHN PAUL JONES

1747-1792

With his ship the Bonhomme Richard - named after Benjamin Franklin - he defeated the bigger and better equipped British Serapis.

Early in 1779, the French King gave Jones a ship which Jones repaired and renamed Bonhomme Richard in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Commanding four other ships and two French privateers, he sailed 14 August 1779 to raid English ships along the coast of England and Scotland.

On 23 September 1779, his ship fired upon the HMS Serapis. Battling throughout the night, it seemed as though Captain Jones would lose the battle since his ship was sinking. Yet he defeated the bigger and better equipped British Serapis.

His response to the command to surrender, "I have not yet begun to fight," has become a famous Navy slogan representing heroism in the face of defeat.

He is often called the Father of the American Navy.



John Paul Jones


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