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For more than half a century, American gunboats were the ships often responsible for policing small crises and provided deterrence and fast-response capabilities around the world - showing the flag, landing armed parties, patrolling river and littoral areas, and protecting ex-pats. They were often the United States most-visible and constant military presence in far-flung foreign lands, and were most closely associated with the Far East, particularly the Philippines and China. Most famous, of course, was the multinational Yangtze Patrol.