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Years ago, before the day when she was moth-balled and transformed into a floating museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, one of the largest, most powerful battleships that the world has ever known, the USS Missouri, was cruising off the coast of Nova Scotia in a gale wind blowing and whipping the waves into a frenzy. The great ship, nicknamed the “Mighty Mo”, commanded the seas wherever it would sail. Every ship that would approach her would quickly give way for no one would dare to challenge her 16” guns that were capable of firing a 2000 lb shell for over 20 miles with near pinpoint accuracy.


Long after dark the ocean would rise and fall as the gale winds continued. Then suddenly, dead ahead a light broke through the darkness. The alarm was sounded and the captain was called to the bridge. Surely this was just a passing freighter on its way to a safe harbor.


For an hour the captain tracked the movement of the light but it seemed to be heading straight for the Missouri, not moving even 1 degree to the left or right to avoid collision and getting ever closer in the darkness. Perhaps their radar had jammed, or perhaps they just simply had not seen the lights of the Missouri dead ahead.


The captain decided that it was prudent to send out a warning call to the approaching ship. “Approaching ship, turn 15 degrees south. You are on a collision course with USS Missouri.” The call was answered with this message. “USS Missouri. You are ordered to turn 45 degrees North. You are on a collision course.”


The captain of the Missouri became very angry. The very idea that anyone would challenge his right-of-way on the open seas was appalling to him. He sent out a second message, “Approaching vessel, this is the captain of Navy Vessel, BB11, USS Missouri. You are ordered to turn 15 degrees South and yield right of way.”

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The answer came back, “US Navy vessel BB11, USS Missouri, this is the Seaman 1st Class on duty at the Nova Scotia Lighthouse. You are ordered to turn 45 degrees north.”


The captain of the great battleship, with “egg on his face”, quickly ordered the helm to turn 45 degrees north to avoid grounding his ship upon the rocks.