200 years ago, the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps fought and defeated the Barbary Pirates of North Africa, who had been pirating European and American merchant ships with impunity in the Mediterranean Sea. Now, these two centuries later, the United States Navy is once again the tip of the spear in the high seas battle against modern day pirates.
We don’t hear about the Somali pirates much these days, but they are still very active in the Gulf of Aden and the seas off the Somali coast. They are still boarding and seizing ships in that area and have become quite skilled at their craft.
These Somali pirates are heavily armed and fearless. They have machine guns, rifles, and RPGs that can take down a helicopter, or put a hole in a ship’s hull to either sink it or disable it. The huge cargo ships that they are pirating, have civilian crews and at best only small arms and fire hoses to defend themselves with when attacked.
Many international cargo ships and oil tankers are still being successfully taken and the ransom demands are large and are often paid out by the shipping companies.
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These Somali pirates, for all of their poverty, have become highly skilled and ruthless at their trade. The United States Navy is currently leading the high seas efforts to combat these pirates.
This video will give you a clear sense of what the Navy brings to bear in this high stakes, high seas warfare.
You will see the USS Gettysburg (CG-64) a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, and her crew as it and they go into real life action against a Somali pirate boat that is pursuing a civilian cargo ship.
What begins as a regular training exercise in boarding and taking back a pirated cargo ship in the video, becomes the real deal very quickly. You will see how these highly trained Navy teams conduct their specialize tactics adapted to this unique form of operation.
It is very impressive to see.
The Veterans Site sends its thanks, and it respect to the crew of the USS Gettysburg and to all of the US Navy and other countries navies who are engaged in the fight against this modern day piracy. We wish the crew and especially the boarding teams of the USS Gettysburg much success in their efforts.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.