In the darkest of darkness, surrounded by a glass-smooth sea – thousands of miles from home – an American voice reads a statement over a VHF radio frequency primarily used for international distress calls.
“Sécurité, sécurité, sécurité: Good morning all ships. This is a coalition warship conducting maritime operations in the (Persian Gulf) in support of freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce. If you observe any suspicious or illegal activity, or require assistance, contact the nearest coalition warship.”
The announcement, repeated at regular intervals throughout the night and day, is read by a U.S. Navy officer from the bridge of USS Farragut, a 510-foot Arleigh Burke-class destroyer named after America’s first admiral, David Farragut.
Farragut served in the War of 1812. At the siege of Vicksburg, in 1864, he led a successful attack with the now-iconic order: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!,” according to the U.S. Navy, although there appear to be some conflicting reports about whether he actually said it in another campaign.