Nice article from the Virginian Pilot about the patrols off Iraq here:
...the most powerful weapon aboard the Firebolt is something that shows up on Christmas lists: an MP3 player.More on Firebolt here
The hand-held black box – essentially an up-armored iPod – attached to the deck plays digital recordings of about 100 simple nautical commands in several tongues.
It has proved a cheap, valuable weapon in a war where cultures and language collide, and where translators are in short supply when ships, friendly or otherwise, are encountered at sea.
The hand-held black box on the deck of the coastal patrol boat Firebolt is essentially a heavy duty, military-grade iPod.
“It’s a great tool, because the language barrier is pretty difficult to bridge,” said Lt. Marisa McClure, the ship’s commanding officer...
...The Firebolt and its 32-sailor crew, based at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, is part of a fleet of coalition ships patrolling the northern Persian Gulf around Iraq’s two major oil platforms...