Speaking of JIHAD! JIHAD! JIHAD!

April 27th, 2007 by xformed

Presley Neville O’Bannon, USMC

Credit: Find A Grave
Chinpokomon points out one 1st Lt Presley O’Bannon of the USMC laid a thumpin’ on the “pirates” from Tripoli on this date, but way back in 1805. You know, as in “…to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country’s battles…”Note the time lag from authorizing a Navy in 1794 until the forces were on station for the mission they were established for. 11 years.Why can’t the Democrats take a breath?

Update 4/28/2007: In looking for a good link for the famous LT, I came found this: How do you feel about Ridley Scott directing a movie depicting some hacking and slashing way across parts of the North African coast line in the early 1800s?

‘O’Bannon’ May Make
Big-Screen Debut

Presley Neville O’Bannon is likely to make his big-screen debut within the next two years, alongside such notable talent as Russell Crowe and Ben Kingsley. There are two film projects underway focusing on the American-sponsored expedition against the Tripolitan tyrant in 1805. (Read WGT’s feature about Presley O’Bannon’s role in the expedition.)

The filming schedules and indeed, even the bulk of the casting have not yet been unannounced, according to a report in February in Variety, the trade paper for the American film industry.

The project that seems most solid is headed by Mark Gordon Productions (“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” “The Day After Tomorrow”) and Scott Free Productions (“Man on Fire,” “Captain Kidd,” with 20th Century Fox on board as distributor and Ridley Scott (“Black Hawk Down,” “Gladiator,” “Hannibal”) as director.

The film, titled “Tripoli,” would bring together Russell Crowe, cast as U.S. Navy agent William Eaton, and Scott, both last together in the blockbuster “Gladiator.” According to Greg Dean Schmitz, a columnist for Yahoo! Movies, Ben Kingsley is also in this film, which reportedly has a $100 million-plus budget.

Though Eaton reportedly is the chief protagonist in screenwriter William Monahan’s treatment, O’Bannon, the leader of one of the two main attack forces in Eaton’s expedition, is likely to represent a plum role, as well.

According to Schmitz, Touchstone Pictures and Valhalla Motion Pictures are also developing a film focusing on the Tripolitan war. Jean-Jacques Annaud (“Enemy at the Gates,” “Two Brothers”) is the likely director, using a script by John Collee (cowriter of “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”).

Now there are some possibilities! BRING IT ON! I know the story, I know the ending and I liked “300.”

I just hope it hits the screens before terminal PC sets in.

Also, for those wanting to understand the Marine Corps traditions in more detail, Lt O’Bannon is the one who began the traditional outfitting of Marine officers, which stands to this day: The Mameluke Sword.

On the 25th day of April, the forces under Eaton and O’Bannon reached Derne and terms of surrender were offered to the enemy. The flag of truce was immediately returned. “My head or yours,” came the reply from the Government’s stronghold.

O’Bannon then swung into action. With the support of naval gunfire from American ships in the harbor and accompanied by his seven Marines, he spearheaded a bayonet charge which resulted in the capture of the fort on 27 April, 1805. O’Bannon personally lowered the Tripolitian flag and hoisted the Stars and Stripes for the first time on foreign soil, securing the War with Tripoli.

Hamet Karamanli promptly took as ruler of Tripoli and presented the Marine lieutenant with his personal jeweled sword, the same type used by his Mameluke tribesmen. Today, Marine officers still carry this type of sword, commemorating the Corps’ service during the Tripolitian War, 1801 – 05.

Appropriately, the actions of O’Bannon and his small group of Marines are commemorated in the second line of the Marines’ Hymn with the words, “To the Shores of Tripoli”. These same words were also inscribed across the top of the Marine Corps’ first standard, adopted around 1800.

And, lest you believe there is something new under the sun, here’s a short recounting of the days after the victory at Derna and commentary on betrayal, the “what happened next” and the story of an embittered general who comes home to critisize the administration from About.Com: Military History – Barbary Glory, Barbary Shame:

Betrayal in Barbary

Eaton’s victory celebration was short-lived. The pasha’s reinforcements arrived the day after the battle and surrounded the town. For a month, Eaton held out against a force more than three times the size of his own. Constant skirmishes and raids kept his troops on edge. A plot to poison him was foiled only when a local Muslim mullah revealed the plan.

On June 11, the Pasha’s forces launched a last furious attack. Hamet’s cavalry bore the brunt during a confusing, four-hour slugfest of charge and counter-charge from which Hamet eventually emerged victorious. The road to Tripoli was open.

But the Marines never made it to the now-famous “shores of Tripoli.” The next day, the USS Constellation arrived with news that the United States had signed a peace treaty with the Pasha in Tripoli. Eaton was ordered to evacuate with his Christian forces, Hamet, and a handful of the former pasha’s retainers. The rest of Eaton’s army was to be abandoned.

The news was a crippling blow to Hamet, whose long-held mistrust of American intentions was confirmed. Eaton protested that his orders went against his sense of “duty or decency.” But in the end, Eaton obeyed his superiors. In a secret midnight maneuver, he pulled out of Derna. The story goes that when the townspeople awoke to find the Americans gone, their wails carried to the Constellation, where Eaton heard them in silent agony.

Most of those who remained in Derna either fled or were later massacred by a vengeful Pasha.
An Ignoble End

Eaton’s adventure is, at its heart, a story of missed opportunities — for Eaton to fulfill his military destiny, for Hamet to reclaim his throne, and for U.S.-Arab relations to find some common ground. While no one would claim that a successful end to Eaton’s mission would have led to friendly relations with the Muslim world, it is hard to look at the midnight retreat from Derna and not see in it the kernels of a profound Arab-American mistrust that echoes through to this day.

America greeted Eaton as a hero, his daring victory credited with freeing the hostages and ending the war. But he returned an embittered man, his rants against the administration soon driving away even his closest supporters.

General William Eaton spent the rest of his days a lonely drunk in the taverns of Boston. He died in 1811 at the age of 47, and was buried somewhere in Massachusetts in an unmarked grave.

Barr Seitz is a former journalist with ABCNews and is writing a book about Eaton’s march and the Battle of Derna, titled “The Sword and the Scimitar.”

History: Don’t leave home for a debate without it!

This entry was posted on Friday, April 27th, 2007 at 6:19 pm and is filed under Geo-Political, History, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Copyright © 2016 - 2017 Chaotic Synaptic Activity. All Rights Reserved. Created by Blog Copyright.

Switch to our mobile site