- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - What goes around comes around.

The USS Bainbridge, which organized the rescue of an American ship captain from Somali pirates, was named for Commodore William Bainbridge, who was held prisoner by the Barbary pirates from 1803 to 1805.

During the American Revolution, Bainbridge’s first command was the schooner Retaliation.

And it was snipers shooting from Bainbridge _ the ship _ that brought an end to the hostage situation off the coast of Africa.

That sniper fire is the latest event in a long saga.

In one of the most famous cases, British Adm. Lord Nelson was killed in the Battle of Trafalgar by a French sniper firing from the rigging of a ship.

Indeed, in the era of sailing warships it was common practice to send marksmen into the rigging to shoot at enemy vessels.

This was one of the early duties of the U.S. Marines and the four-pointed quatrefoil design, on the top of Marine officers caps, reportedly originated as a way for Marine snipers in the rigging overhead to identify their own officers and avoid shooting them.

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