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Item:
ON22ACSS079

Original U.S. WWII Mameluke Sword of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Puller - KIA Guam July 1944 - Younger Brother of Lt. General Louis "Chesty" Puller

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is the stuff of Marine Corps lore. This was the personal Mameluke sword of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Duncan Puller, younger brother of famous Marine and 5 time Navy Cross recipient Louis Burwell "Chesty" Puller. However, LTC Samuel Puller was a Marine Corps hero in his own right.

Samuel graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and St. John's academy in Annapolis prior to his commissioning. He was a career Marine, and was the former Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Raider Regiment. Samuel was killed by a Japanese sniper on July 27, 1944 on the island of Guam serving as the XO of the 4th Marine Regiment. Samuel is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (The Punchbowl) in Honolulu, Hawaii. Many Marines have been noted as saying that he would have been a candidate for Commandant of the Marine Corps later in his career as he wasn't as controversial as his brother. He was a career Marine (Mustang) with an excellent record to include service as a seagoing Marine, China service, and Captain of the Marine Rifle Team at the Camp Perry National Matches.

Samuel's death was a huge blow to the Puller family as well as to the Marine Corps. At the time of his death, he was married to Mrs. Mildred Puller, who lived at 182 Midway Avenue, Lansdowne, Pa. Because Samuel's next of kin was his wife, his sword never went back to the Puller family on his side, and it eventually made its way on to the collector market. It was previously in the collections of Colonel Patrick McDonough, USMC, and historian and collector Major Brian Manifor USMC, before being acquired by retired U.S. Navy officer and collector Dan Clifton, owner of Old Patriot Militaria who passed it along to IMA.

This sword is high quality, manufactured by Hilborn & Hamburger. It is original in every respect and retains its original ivory slab grips, nickeled scabbard, leather "mourning knot", and bright blade with deep acid etch. SD PULLER is acid etched on the blade and further etched both sides with UNITED STATES MARINES and various other military motifs. Sword alone is approximately 33 ½”  long overall and in scabbard is approximately 35“ overall. Blade is approximately 28" long, curved, and unsharpened. Scabbard is un-dented, and fire gold flashing is present on drag and rings/fittings.

The sword is accompanied by two research binders that include a signed Letter of Provenance Maj. Brian R. Manifor (USMC) ret.

A truly historically significant Marine Corps sword with impeccable provenance!

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, in Libya, as a gesture of respect and praise for the Marines' actions at the Battle of Derna (1805). 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 to 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. After initial distribution in 1826, Mameluke swords have been worn except for the years 1859–1875 (when Marine officers were required to wear the U.S. Model 1850 Army foot officers' sword), and a brief period when swords were suspended during World War II. Since that time, Mameluke swords have been worn by Marine officers in a continuing tradition to the present day.

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