Stephen Decatur – 1779-1820
Decatur became a national naval hero in 1804 when he led an expedition into Tripoli harbor to burn the U.S. frigate Philadelphia, which had fallen into Tripolitan hands during action against the Barbary pirates. During the War of 1812, he compiled a magnificent record against the ships of the mighty British fleet. After further victories against Barbary pirates in 1815, he famously replied to a toast in his honor: “Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.” He met his death in a duel with a former officer in whose court martial he had been involved.