One Halloween the US Navy would like to forget, played a terrible trick on Lieutenant David Porter, in 1803.
He, along with 306 other shipmates aboard the 38-gun frigate USS Philadelphia, including Captain William Bainbridge, were caught by pirates at Tripoli. It took guile and courage to free them from their 18-month slavery in the grip of a murderous, despotic Bashaw, and a renegade Scot-turned-Turk pirate. Plus the politicking of a President, Emperor and Pope.
It also introduced the United States Marine Corps onto the world stage of battle and bravery. A handful of leathernecks with a raggle-taggle army of camel-drivers and mercenaries, under determined leadership, routed the best the Barbary Coast Pirates could muster.
They helped free their comrades, after they marched across a desert, quelled mutinies, and meted out frontier justice.
David Porter, Philadelphia & The Barbary Pirates: Lieutenant David Porter on the Shores of Tripoli
- By Jack M. D. Owen