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CHIPS Articles: April 27, 1805: Battle of Derna

April 27, 1805: Battle of Derna
To the Shores of Tripoli
By Marines History and Heritage Command - April 27, 2015
In 1805, the United States government refused to continue paying Barbary Coast pirates to refrain from raiding American merchant ships. When negotiations for a treaty failed, President Thomas Jefferson assembled an expeditionary force of Marines to respond.

With naval bombardment from USS Nautilus, USS Hornet, and USS Argus, on April 27, Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon and his Marines marched across 600 miles of the Libyan Desert to successfully storm the fortified Tripolitan city of Derna and rescue the kidnapped crew of the USS Philadelphia. The Marines' victory helped Prince Hamet Bey reclaim his rightful throne as ruler of Tripoli. In gratitude, he presented his Mameluke sword to Lt O'Bannon.

This famous sword became part of the officer uniform in 1825, and remains the oldest ceremonial weapon in use by United States forces today.

The Battle of Derna was the Marines' first land battle on foreign soil and is notably recalled in the first verse of the Marines' Hymn: "From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country's battles in the air, on land and sea."

To learn more about the history of the Marine Corps, go to http://www.marines.com/history-heritage/.

THE SWORD


The oldest weapons still in service in the United States Armed Forces belong to Marines. Today, the swords Marines carry represent the Marine Corps' rich heritage as America's original defenders. Officers carry the Mameluke Sword, which was originally given to Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon in 1805 by a Mameluke chieftain in North Africa. Lt O'Bannon and his Marines marched across 600 miles of North African desert to rid the "shores of Tripoli" of pirates and rescue the kidnapped crew of the USS Philadelphia. By 1825, all Marine Officers carried the Mameluke sword in recognition of this historic battle—the Marine Corps' first on foreign soil.
THE SWORD The oldest weapons still in service in the United States Armed Forces belong to Marines. Today, the swords Marines carry represent the Marine Corps' rich heritage as America's original defenders. Officers carry the Mameluke Sword, which was originally given to Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon in 1805 by a Mameluke chieftain in North Africa. Lt O'Bannon and his Marines marched across 600 miles of North African desert to rid the "shores of Tripoli" of pirates and rescue the kidnapped crew of the USS Philadelphia. By 1825, all Marine Officers carried the Mameluke sword in recognition of this historic battle—the Marine Corps' first on foreign soil.

Adopted in 1859, the NCO Sword is carried by Marine Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) and Staff Noncommissioned Officers (SNCOs). Used for ceremonial purposes, the M1859 NCO Sword was bestowed to NCOs and SNCOs by the 6th Commandant, Colonel John Harris, in recognition of their leadership in combat.
Adopted in 1859, the NCO Sword is carried by Marine Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) and Staff Noncommissioned Officers (SNCOs). Used for ceremonial purposes, the M1859 NCO Sword was bestowed to NCOs and SNCOs by the 6th Commandant, Colonel John Harris, in recognition of their leadership in combat.
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