Marine Corps history states that a sword of this type was presented to Marine First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon by the Ottoman Empire viceroy, Prince Hamet, on December 8, 1805, during the First Barbary War, as a gesture of respect and praise for the Marines' actions at the Battle of Derne. Upon his return to the United States, the state of Virginia presented him with a silver-hilted sword featuring an eaglehead hilt and a curved blade modeled after the original Mameluke sword given him by Hamet. Its blade is inscribed with his name and a commemoration of the Battle of Tripoli Harbor.
Perhaps due to the Marines' distinguished record during this campaign, including the capture of the Tripolitan city of Derna after a long and dangerous desert march, Marine Corps Commandant Archibald Henderson adopted the Mameluke sword in 1825 for wear by Marine officers.
Marine First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon
Retiring from such a run early 5 April, O'Bannon sighted the Japanese submarine RO-34 on the surface and made to ram it. At the last moment, the officers decided that the sub may be a minelayer, and the rudder was turned hard to avoid the collision. This action brought the destroyer directly alongside the sub. As the Japanese sailors attempted to man their three-inch deck gun, the O'Bannon's deck hands, not having side arms, grabbed potatoes from nearby storage bins and pelted the Japanese with them. Thinking the potatoes were hand grenades, the submarine's sailors were too occupied with throwing them away from the sub to fire. This gave the O'Bannon the opportunity to distance itself to fire its guns at the sub and damage the conning tower. Although the sub still managed to submerge, O'Bannon used depth charges to finally sink it. During this period, the O'Bannon also splashed at least two enemy aircraft in various attacks.