An American Story: John Paul Jones & the Ship that Bears his Name

An American Story:

 John Paul Jones & the Ship that Bears his Name

September 11, 2001 changed the world; every American remembers where they were on that infamous day when terrorists attacked us here at home. The Guided Missile Destroyer USS JOHN PAUL JONES (“JPJ”) was on patrol in the Persian Gulf on that day. Academy Securities has a special connection to the JPJ as our CEO and CFO both served aboard the warship. When terrorists flew the first airplane into the World Trade Center in New York City our CEO was standing watch as the Officer of the Deck onboard the JPJ. The crew and the Strike Team onboard the JPJ knew that the in-depth training they had undergone over the years would soon be called upon.

In response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 the crew of the JPJ was called into action to execute the initial strikes on enemy locations in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom on the night of October 7, 2001.  Over the ship’s loud speaker rang, “Now set Condition One S for strategic missile launch.”  The Strike Watch Team, which included Academy’s CEO, sprang into action to man their stations.  The Team had practiced, and been inspected on their performance of executing the launch of Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) in drills countless times before, but this time the launch was live, and there was zero room for error.   The Strike Team and the crew of the JPJ executed the TLAM launches flawlessly delivering warheads to numerous enemy targets.  The launches continued throughout the night of October 8, 2001 until the mission was complete and the JPJ had launched all the TLAM’s in her arsenal.  To learn more about the JPJ, please follow the link:

The story of the man John Paul Jones begins more than 200 years before the events of 9/11 took place. John Paul Jones (1747 – 1792) was a Scottish-born sailor and the United States’ first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolution. His actions in British waters during the Revolution earned him an international reputation which persists to this day.

During his engagement with HMS Serapis, Jones uttered, according to the later recollection of his first lieutenant, the legendary reply to a taunt about surrender from the British captain of a larger ship: “I have not yet begun to fight!”

In 1905, Jones’s remains were identified by U.S. Ambassador to France Gen. Horace Porter, who had searched for six years to track down the body using faulty copies of Jones’s burial record, and on January 26, 1913, the Captain’s remains were finally re-interred in a magnificent bronze and marble sarcophagus at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis.  Several executives of Academy Securities have graduated from the Naval Academy and have found inspiration in the heroism and bravery of John Paul Jones.  In their first year at the Naval Academy Midshipmen are required to memorize the Qualifications of a Naval Officer, Jones’ view on qualities needed to be a leader.


“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

“I have not yet begun to fight”

Qualifications of a Naval Officer

It is by no means enough that an officer of the Navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.

He should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness, kindness, and charity. No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention or be left to pass without its reward, even if the reward is only a word of approval. Conversely, he should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate, though at the same time, he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtfulness from incompetency, and well-meant shortcomings from heedless or stupid.

In one word, every commander should keep constantly before him the great truth, that to be well obeyed, he must be perfectly esteemed.

Written by Augustus C. Buell in 1900 to reflect his views of John Paul Jones (from Reef Points: 2003-2004, 98th Edition [Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Academy, 2003])

To learn more about John Paul Jones, the American Naval Hero, please follow this link:

Leave a Comment