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What did this US Navy submarine accomplish? Flying the pirate flag raises questions

2017-09-14 09:15:36       source:The Sydney Morning Herald

September 14, 2017

An image posted to a Pentagon media site and tweeted by Scottish journalist Ian Keddie, shows the USS Jimmy Carter, a Seawolf-class nuclear-powered submarine, returning to her home port in Washington on Tuesday flying the American flag alongside the unmistakable pirate skull and crossed bones, known as the Jolly Roger.

The 137-metre-long boat is one of three in its class and is specially modified to conduct some of America's most covert underwater operations. That fact alone - as Keddie points out - makes the appearance of the black and white flag significant.

The Jolly Roger's presence on the conning tower of submarines goes back to 1914, at the beginning of World War I, when a British submarine, HMS E-9, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Max Horton sunk the German Battle Cruiser Hela, according to Richard Compton-Hall in his book Submarines at War 1939-45. Upon his return to port, Horton struck up the iconic pirate flag, signalling he had successfully sunk an enemy warship.

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