John Paul Jones

Portrait of John Paul Jones
War & AffiliationRevolutionary War / Patriot
Date of Birth - Death July 6, 1747 - July 18, 1792

As an officer of the Continental Navy of the American Revolution, John Paul Jones helped establish the traditions of courage and professionalism of the United States Navy. John Paul was born in a gardener's cottage in Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, went to sea as a youth, and was a merchant shipmaster by the age of twenty-one. Having taken up residence in Virginia, he volunteered early in the War of Independence to serve in his adopted country's infant navy and raised with his own hands the Continental ensign on board the flagship of the Navy's first fleet. He took the war to the enemy's homeland with daring raids along the British coast and the famous victory of the Bonhomme Richard over HMS Serapis. As such he is sometimes referred to as the "Father of the United States Navy". After the Bonhomme Richard began taking on water and fires broke out on board, the British commander asked Jones if he had struck his flag. Jones replied, "I have not yet begun to fight!" In the end, it was the British commander who surrendered. He later served in the Imperial Russian Navy, died in Paris, and his body was eventually repatriated to the United States Naval Academy in the early 20th century. Jones is remembered for his indomitable will, his unwillingness to consider surrender when the slightest hope of victory still burned.