Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had
been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather off the California coast for several days. As night fell, the captain noticed
the patchy fog and decided to remain on the bridge.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge
reported, "Light. Bearing on the starboard bow".
"Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain asked.
The lookout replied, "Steady, captain," which meant
the battleship was on a collision course with the other ship.
The captain called to the signalman, "Signal that ship.
You are on a collision course. Advise you alter course
Back came the answering signal, "Advisable that you
change course 20 degrees."
The captain said, "Send another message. I am a senior
captain. Change course 20 degrees."
"I am a seaman second class," came the reply,
"Change your course at once."
The officer was furious. He spat out, "We are a
battleship squadron. Change your course 20 degrees."
The flashing light replied, "I am a lighthouse."
The squadron changed course.
Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute
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