Hull Number: DDG-53
Launch Date: 10/26/1991
Commissioned Date: 12/18/1993
Class: ARLEIGH BURKE
ARLEIGH BURKE Class
Namesake: JOHN PAUL JONES
JOHN PAUL JONES
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (Published 1968)
John Paul was born at Arbigland, Kirkbean, Kirkcudbright, Scotland, 6 July 1747. Apprenticed to a merchant at age 13, the lad went to sea in brig Friendship to learn the art of seamanship. At 21 he received his first command, brig John. After several successful years as a merchant skipper in the West Indies trade, John Paul emigrated to the Continental British colonies and there added Jones to his name. In the summer of 1775, the Continental Congress commissioned him Lieutenant in the first American Navy. As First Lieutenant of Alfred, John Paul Jones was the first man to hoist the Grand Union flag on a continental warship, 3 December 1775. During the early part of 1776, he participated in the attack on New Providence, Nassau. Later that year, as Captain of Providence and Alfred, he made daring cruises between Bermuda and Nova Scotia, inflicting much damage on British shipping.
On 1 November 1777, he sailed for France in Ranger, carrying dispatches for the American commissioner and word of Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga. Admiral La Motte Piquet returned Jones’ salute at Quiberon Bay, France, 14 February 1778—the first time the new “stars and stripes” were recognized by a foreign power. Ranger subsequently raided the British coast and, in a notable engagement off Belfast, Ireland captured British sloop-of-war Drake.
Early in 1779, the French King gave Jones the ancient East Indiaman Duc de Duras, which he refitted and renamed Bon Homme Richard, as a compliment to Benjamin Franklin. Commanding four other ships and two French privateers he sailed 14 August 1779 to raid English shipping.
On 23 September 1779, his ship accompanied by Dallas engaged British Serapis and Countess of Scarborough off Famborough Head, Yorkshire. During this bloody and desperate battle, Captain Pearson of the Serapis, seeing the shambles on the deck of the Bon Homme Richard, asked if the American ship had surrendered. Jones’s immortal reply “I have not yet begun to fight,” served as a rallying cry to the crew of the badly-shattered Richard; and they went on to capture Serapis. Jones was forced to transfer to Serapis when his gallant Bon Homme Richard sank the next day. For this extraordinary victory, not only did Congress pass a resolution thanking him, but Louis XVI presented him with a sword.
After the war, Commodore Jones was active in Paris negotiating prize money claims. In 1788, he entered the service of Empress Catherine of Russia with the rank of Rear Admiral, but still retained his American citizenship. Although he successfully commanded the Black Sea Squadron, court intrigues forced Jones to leave Russia.
He returned to Paris in 1790 where he died 18 July 1792. The site of his burial was long forgotten; but American Ambassador Horace Porter began a systematic search for it in 1899. His body was eventually discovered, and in 1905 a special squadron of U.S. Navy ships brought it to America to be interred at the Chapel of the Navy Academy. Brilliant seaman, leader, and man of gr