This Day in Naval History - April 24

Story Number: NNS011216-24Release Date: 12/16/2001 10:01:00 PM
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From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1778 - During the American Revolution, the Continental Navy sloop-of-war Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones, captures the British sloop HMS Drake after an hours battle off Carrickfergus, Ireland.

1805 - During the First Barbary War, the frigate Congress, commanded by John Rodgers, captures a Tripolitan gunboat, along with two prizes taken earlier by pirate ships off Tripoli.

1884 - USS Bear leaves New York Naval Shipyard on its way to the Arctic as part of the Greely Relief Expedition. USS Thetis and USS Alert join USS Bear on the mission. On June 22, the relief ships rescue the remaining seven members of the 27-man Greely Expedition at Cape Sabine.

1906 - Reburial Commemoration Ceremony for Capt. John Paul Jones is held at the Naval Academy. At the ceremony, President Theodore Roosevelt delivers a speech in honor of the legendary Revolutionary War naval captain.

1945 - USS Frederick C. Davis (DE 136) is sunk by German submarine U 546, 570 miles east of Cape Race, Newfoundland. In a combined effort, USS Pillsbury (DE 133), USS Flaherty (DE 135), USS Chatelain (DE 19), USS Neunzer (DE 150), USS Hubbard (DE 211), USS Keith (DE 241), USS Janssen (DE 396) and USS Varian (DE 798) sink U 546.

1946 - CNO Adm. Chester W. Nimitz ordered the formation of a flight exhibition team that would showcase naval aviation. Officially known as the U.S. Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron, they formally adopted the nickname "Blue Angels" in 1949 when the squadron commander designed the Blue Angels insignia which is nearly identical to the one in use today.

1981 - USS San Francisco (SSN 711) is commissioned at Norfolk Naval Station, Va. A Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered submarine, she is homeported in San Diego, Calif., after leaving her first homeport of Pearl Harbor in 2009.

1999 - USS Higgins (DDG 76) is commissioned at Port Everglades, Fla. A Flight I Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, she is named after Marine Col. William R. Higgins. He was part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon when he was captured in Feb. 1988 by a pro-Iranian group, held hostage and eventually killed in captivity by July 1990. USS Higgins' home port is Naval Base San Diego.

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