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Monument installed, in Portland Maine, to honor men that died on the USS Reuben James,
POR98111301 - 14 NOVEMBER 1998 - PORTLAND, MAINE, USA: Retired Navy Chief Boatswain Stephen Heald of Georgetown, Maine, right, blows the boatswains call during a cermony in Portland, Maine Friday afternoon at the just installed monument to honor the men that died on the first United States warship sunk in World War Two, the destroyer USS Reuben James. The Portland, Maine based ship was struck by a German U-Boats torpedo while on convoy duty in the Atlantic only weeks before U.S. entry into WWII and was sunk leaving only fortyfive survivors. The boatswains call that Heald was using was the call from the Rueben James and will be presented to Reuben James Society..UPI lkm/wy/Lee K. Marriner
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Reuben James (c. 1776 – 3 December 1838) was a Boatswain's Mate of the United States Navy, famous for his heroism in the Barbary Wars.

Born in Delaware in about 1776, James joined the United States Navy and served on several ships, including the frigate USS Constellation. During the Barbary Wars, the American frigate Philadelphia was captured by the Barbary pirates when it ran aground in the city of Tripoli, on the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, along with a group of volunteers that included Reuben James, entered the harbor of Tripoli under the cover of darkness in an attempt to burn the Philadelphia so that the pirates could not use her.

The volunteers boarded the Philadelphia on 16 February 1804 and were met by Barbary pirates who were guarding their prize. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, Reuben James, with both of his hands already wounded, positioned himself between Lieutenant Decatur and a sword-wielding pirate. Willing to give his life for his captain, James took a blow from the sword and survived.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Reuben James."