“To the Shores of Tripoli”

USS Tripoli (CVE 64)

LHA 7 is the third U.S. Navy ship named Tripoli. Others include CVE 64 (1943 to 1958) and LPH 10 (1966 to 1995).

USS Tripoli (LPH 10)

Alluded to in the Marine’s Hymn, the 1805 Battle of Derna, near Tripoli, Libya, was the first recorded land battle of the United States on foreign soil after the American Revolutionary War. To halt piracy against American Naval vessels, William Eaton, Naval Agent to the Barbary States, and Marines under Lt. Presley O’Bannon led a diverse mercenary force from Egypt to capture Derna. Eaton reported that O’Bannon and his Marines passed through a “shower of musketry” to take possession of a fortress. The defenders fled in such haste that they left their cannons loaded and ready to fire. O’Bannon raised the American flag as Eaton turned the captured batteries on the city. The entire city had fallen by 4 p.m. For the first time, an American flag was flown over fortifications on the eastern side of the Atlantic. For his valor, O’Bannon was presented a Mameluke sword by Hamet, the Ottoman Empire viceroy.

The U.S. Marine Corps officers’ sword is still called a Mameluke.