My pride and joy. I recently acquired an authentic USMC Mameluke sword.
And a beautiful piece it is. One of the most distinguished hallmarks of Marine
Corps leadership, the Mameluke sword, is usually received by Marine Corps
Officers upon the day of their commission.
The commissioned and noncommissioned officers now retain the sword for what it implies to their profession, rather than for the use that it offers. Their primary duty is to lead, not to shoot. The sword thus continues as the personification of military tradition and has been entrusted to those most responsible for maintaining the weapon. Except for the famous Mameluke hilted sword of Marine commissioned officers, the Marine NCO sword rates as the oldest U.S. weapon still in use.
Marine Officers were initially allowed swords of any style - as long as they were yellow-mounted.
In 1805, Marines assembled a fleet to Derna, Tripoli to put down Barbary Coast pirates taking a toll on American merchant ships in the Mediterranean. Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon ("The Hero of the Derne") and his Marines marched across 600 miles of North Africa's Libyan desert to successfully storm the fortified Tripolitan city of Derna.
A desert chieftain presented Marine Lieutenant O'Bannon with a scimitar to show his appreciation. The scimitar was used by Mameluke warriors of North Africa. By 1825, all Marine officers were mandated to wear the Mameluke sword.
Except for the period from 1859 to 1875, commissioned Marine officers have carried the Mameluke sword.
Regulations adopted in 1859 outlined the specifications for the sword still carried by today's noncommissioned officers. The design is based on the 1850 Army foot officers' sword, which Marine officers carried from 1859 to 1875.