John Paul Jones-often called a "pirate" by the British in his days of raiding their coasts-once famously mandated that going "in harm's way" was in the job description of American Sailors. He would not have been disappointed more than a century later when his "namesake" carried on that proud tradition.
At 1121 on 12 October 1950, with sweeping gear streaming out to 300 fathoms on either side, the USS Pirate (AM-275) entered the mine-infested waters of Wonsan Harbor in North Korea. Accompanied by four other minesweepers, the Pirate was in the lead and serving as guide in "an Oboe-type sweep, port echelon" that was clearing a path for a planned amphibious operation.
At only 8 knots, the line of minesweepers made a series of rather tempting targets for the many heavy-artillery batteries that surrounded the harbor, but for some reason the enemy guns remained silent. Perhaps it was because an American destroyer lurked just outside the harbor. Or perhaps it was because the communist gunners believed that these foolhardy Americans could not avoid all of the mines hidden beneath the surface.