In April 2004, Fallujah was defended by about 1,500 Iraqi insurgents with around five-hundred of these being “hardcore” guerrilla fighters and the others “part-time” employees. By November, these numbers doubled and included virtually every insurgent group in Iraq: al-Qaeda, Islamic Army of Iraq, Ansar al-Sunna, Army of Mohammed, Army of Mujahedeen, and the Secret Army of Iraq. None of the names of these groups is important because Islamists change their names as frequently as a mother changes her baby’s diapers. One thing that does stand out, however, is that the leadership of these groups (wisely, albeit cowardly) removed themselves from Fallujah before the beginning of the Second Battle of Fallujah.
Coalition checkpoints were established to prevent anyone from entering the city, and to intercept insurgents attempting to flee. In the run-up to the commencement of combat operations, detailed imagery was obtained and used to prepare detailed maps of the city. Iraqi interpreters augmented American combat units. Fallujah the battlefield was prepped by sustained airstrikes and artillery fires. Intelligence suggested that the city’s insurgents were vulnerable to direct attack. The total of coalition forces included 6,500 Marines, 1,500 US soldiers, 2,500 US Navy support personnel, 850 British forces, and around 2,000 Iraqi security forces.
American combat forces were organized into two Regimental Combat Teams. RCT-1 was composed of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, elements of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 and Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 23, and elements of the US 7th Cavalry. RCT-7 consisted of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, 2nd Battalion, 2nd US Infantry, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, and 1st Battalion, 6th US Field Artillery. Supporting elements included Iraqi security forces, coalition aircraft, and Special Operations Command snipers. The 1st Battalion, Black Watch Regiment planned to support US troops along with D Squadron of the SAS, but British political concerns in the UK halted any involvement by British forces in the actual assault.
Ground operations began on the night of 7 November 2004. Navy SEAL and Marine Reconnaissance sniper teams provided reconnaissance and target marking along the city perimeter. A diversionary assault from the west and south began with the 36th Iraqi Commando Battalion (with US Army Special Forces advisors), the 1st Battalion, 9th US Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and Company A, 2nd Battalion, 72nd Tank Battalion, elements of the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (Reinforced), and Combat Service Support Battalion 1. Their mission was to capture the Fallujah General Hospital, Blackwater Bridge, the ING building, and villages opposite the Euphrates River in South Fallujah. This diversionary unit, under command of the US Army III Corps, would then move to the western approaches and secure Kas Sukr Bridge.
After Seabees from the I MEF Engineer Group disabled electrical power at two substations, RCT-1 and RCT-7 launched an attack along the northern edge of the city. They were joined by the 2nd Battalion, 7/CAV and 2nd Battalion, 2nd US Infantry (Mechanized). Two follow-on battalions were tasked with clearing buildings, which is an arduous task. The Army’s 2nd Brigade, augmented by the 2nd Recon Battalion and one company from 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, was ordered to infiltrate the city and destroy upon contact any fleeing enemy forces. The 1st Battalion, Black Watch patrolled the main highway to the east of the city.
Regimental Combat Teams were augmented by three 7-man SEAL sniper teams and one platoon from the 1st Recon Battalion, which provided advance reconnaissance. Air support was provided by a detachment from Joint Terminal Aircraft Control (JTAC), USAF F-15, F-16, A-10, B-52, and AC-130 gunships. Predator unmanned aerial vehicles assisted in gaining intelligence on suspected enemy strongholds.
After airstrikes and the employment of an intense artillery barrage, six coalition battalions began their assault in the early morning hours of 8 November. The Marine assault was followed by Seabees, who began clearing the streets of bombing debris. By nightfall on 9 November, Marines had reached Highway 10 in the city center.
On the night of 11 November, elements of RCT-7 (1st Battalion, 8th Marines) were attacked and pinned down by small arms and automatic weapons fire in an ally. Two Marines fell seriously wounded. Sergeant Aubrey McDade led a machine gun squad. At that instant located in the rear of advancing elements, McDade rushed to a forward position and directed machinegun fire at the attackers. While under intense enemy fire, McDade rescued the wounded Marines, one at a time. A third Marine was killed during the attack; his body was soon recovered by fellow Marines. In recognition of his courage under fire, McDade was awarded the Navy Cross Medal.
According to the official after-action report, fighting in Fallujah began to subside by 13 November, but First Sergeant Bradley Kasal might disagree with that assessment. Serving as the First Sergeant, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines with RCT-1, Kasal was assisting the Combined anti-Armor Platoon as they provided overwatch for the third platoon when a large volume of fire erupted from within a structure to his immediate front. Marines suddenly began exiting the house they were clearing.
Kasal rushed to the front and determined that several more Marines were pinned down inside the house by an unknown number of enemy insurgents. He quickly augmented the squad forcing entry, encountered a shooter and eliminated him. Kasal and another Marine then came under rifle fire from the second floor; both Marines were immobilized by serious wounds in their legs. Kasal and the other Marine then became the focus of a grenade attack. Kasal rolled on top of his fellow Marine and absorbed shrapnel with his own body. A Navy Corpsman rushed forward to render aid but Kasal refused medical attention until his subordinates had first been attended to; Kasal continued directing the efforts of his Marines as the clearing operation continued. In recognition of his extraordinary heroism, First Sergeant Kasal  was awarded the Navy Cross Medal.
Sergeant Rafael Peralta, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, was a scout team leader assigned to Company A who, on 15 November 2004, was involved in house-clearing operations. Peralta led his team through three houses to ensure there were no insurgents were present. As he entered the fourth home, he cleared two rooms on the ground floor. Opening the third door, Peralta was hit multiple times by automatic rifle fire, leaving him severely wounded. Peralta moved to the side of a hallway to allow his team to confront the insurgent. The Iraqi insurgent then threw a hand grenade, which despite his wounds, Peralta pulled under his body. The grenade detonated, killing him instantly. Sergeant Peralta was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross medal in recognition of his selfless devotion to his fellow Marines.
By 16 November, I MEF described the lingering operation as “mopping up” pockets of resistance. Sporadic fighting continued through 23 December 2004. The Second Battle of Fallujah was the bloodiest fight of the war, and the fiercest battle involving US troops since the Vietnam War. Coalition forces suffered 107 killed, and 613 wounded during Operation Phantom Fury. Of these, 95 Americans were killed, 560 wounded. Estimates of enemy dead in this one battle range from 1,200 to over 2,000. Fifteen-hundred insurgents were captured and taken prisoner during the operation. In the aftermath of the operation, coalition forces reported that 66 of the city’s 133 mosques  held significant amounts of small arms, machine guns, and explosive materials.
Camp, Dick. Operation Phantom Fury: The Assault and Capture of Fallujah, Iraq. Zenith Press, 2009
West, Bing. No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah, Bantam Books, 2005
 Sergeant Major Bradly Kasal retired from the U. S. Marine Corps in 2018. It was my honor to meet Sergeant Major Kasal at the Iwo Jima memorial dinner at Camp Pendleton, California in February 2017.
 This fact may go a long way to explain why most Americans are unable to trust the word or motivations of Moslems.
Marines abhor urban warfare more than any other form of combat. Urban settings negate the advantages of overwhelming firepower, limit the maneuvering ability of troops, and reduce fields of observation and fires. The presence of innocent civilians, the ability of enemy forces to dress themselves as civilians and infiltrate civilian populations makes urban warfare even more complex. It is an environment within which a few well-armed insurgents are able to impede the advance of military forces while inflicting heavy casualties at little cost to themselves —particularly if they are of the mindset that death in Jihad guarantees access to Shangri-La. The urban environment offers cover and concealment of insurgents, movement through underground infrastructures, and the placement of well-concealed booby traps and snipers.
The city of Fallujah —one of the most religious and culturally traditional areas of Iraq, had mostly profited under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Most of the city’s residents favored the Ba’ath party; they were Sunnis; some were employed by Saddam’s intelligence apparatus. Generally, however, most residents had little sympathy for Saddam in the aftermath of the collapse of his government —until they realized that the Sunni regime of some 5-million people no longer controlled the 20-millions of the Iraqi Shi’ite majority.
Following the collapse of the Ba’ath party in 2003, local residents elected a town council headed by Taha Hamed, who was able to keep the city from falling into the hands of criminal gangs. Nominally, Hamed and his council were pro-American, and their election somewhat erroneously signaled to the Americans that the city was unlikely to fall into the hands of insurgents. Accordingly, few US troops were assigned to Fallujah early in 2003. On 23 April, however, elements of the 82ndAirborne entered the city, and of these, approximately 150 troops of Company C, 1stBattalion, 325thAirborne Infantry set up their headquarters in the al-Qa’id primary school. Five days later, a crowd of around 200 citizens gathered outside the school after curfew demanding that the Americans vacate the building so that it could resume its function as a school.
The company commander was not inclined to vacate the building, however. Tactically, it was in a good place from which to direct military operations. The people were adamant, however, and the demands of the people became somewhat heated. The population of the crowd was building, so the American unit deployed smoke cannisters as a means of discouraging or disbursing the crowd. At some point, Iraqi gunmen fired on US troops from within the protesting crowd. The American soldiers returned fire, killing 17 people and wounding more than 70. There were no US casualties.
On 30 April, another protest group gathered at the former Ba’ath party headquarters complaining about the shootings at the al-Qa’id school. Gunfire also erupted from within this group of protesters, and members of the US 3rdArmored Cavalry Regiment returned fire; three more civilians died. In both of these instances, US forces insisted that they had not fired upon the crowd of civilians; they had returned fire. There’s a difference.
In any case, 82nd Airborne units were pulled out of Fallujah and replaced by elements of the 3rd Cavalry and Company B, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. On 4 June, while on a “presence” patrol, members of B Company were hit by RPGs as they were mounting their vehicles to return to their base of operations. Six soldiers were injured, one man was killed. 3/Cavalry requested additional forces to help them quell a growing resistance to an American presence by city residents. Relations with local citizens was not improved when 3/Cavalry began confiscating motorcycles, asserting that such vehicles were being used in hit and run attacks on coalition forces.
On 30 June, a large explosion in a mosque killed local Sheikh Laith Khalil and eight others. The local population claimed that the Americans had fired a missile at the mosque, but the truth is that this explosion came from an accidental detonation by insurgents while constructing a bomb.
By this time, the citizens of Fallujah were openly anti-American, which was further demonstrated by a 12 February 2004 attack on a convoy that included General John Abizaid (then Commander of US forces in the Middle East), and Major General Charles Swannack (Commander, 82nd Airborne Division).
On 23 February, insurgents created a false emergency on the outskirts of the city, a ploy to divert local police away from the city center. What then occurred was a simultaneous attack on three police stations, the mayor’s office, and a civil defense base. After murdering seventeen police officers, the insurgents released 87 prisoners.
During this period, 82nd Airborne units were conducting limited operations inside the city to destroy road barriers that could hide IEDs; they supervised searches of homes and schools, and this led to exchanges of lethal gunfire with local residents.
In March, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) assumed coalition authority over the al-Anbar Province. It was at this time when insurgent forces began to seize portions of the city; attacks upon coalition forces increased dramatically. I MEF commander Lieutenant General James Conway (later serving as Commandant of the Marine Corps) decided to withdraw all US forces from within the city. Occasional operations continued, however, in the form of combat patrols in the outer limits of the city.
On 27 March, a covert American surveillance team was compromised and had to fight its way out of an insurgent-inspired envelopment. On 31 March, a massive roadside bomb killed five US personnel who were attempting to clear a main supply route (MSR) of IEDs.
Four days later, Iraqi insurgents ambushed a convoy containing four American contractors from Blackwater USA. Without notifying the Marine command of their itinerary, these four contractors were escorting a “harsh environment food stores” delivery and decided to take a shortcut through Fallujah —which, at the time, was Iraq’s most dangerous city. They were driving two Mitsubishi Pajero sport utility vehicles on the main thoroughfare, designated Highway 10. They apparently anticipated that it would only take them 20 minutes to clear the city center and be on their way.
These were capable men: one a former SEAL, another, who spoke several languages, previously served with the 82nd Airborne Division, the third man had won the Bronze Star medal in Afghanistan, and the fourth contractor had served as both an Army Ranger and a paratrooper. As the vehicles passed through the midtown area, no Iraqi police officer flagged them down or attempt to turn them back. Moments later, insurgents ran into the street and sprayed both vehicles with automatic rifle fire. Neither vehicle had armor plating; three of the men were killed instantly. A fourth was badly wounded. They never had a chance.
The assassins jumped into vehicles and sped off. Shortly afterwards, a crowd of men and boys approached the dead men who were still sitting inside their utility vehicles. The lone survivor staggered out of his vehicle and collapsed on the ground. The nearby Iraqi men began to kick and stomp on his body. Others stabbed him with knives.
A young boy ran up carrying a can of gasoline, doused the SUVs and set them ablaze. Egged on by the older men, mere boys dragged the dead men’s smoldering bodies onto the pavement and beat their remains with their shoes to demonstrate that Americans were scum under the soles of their feet. The insurgent led mob then attached two of the bodies to a car and dragged them through the streets. Hundreds of men cheered. Eventually, the bodies were hung over a bridge.
This macabre show lasted for the rest of the day. At dusk, the remains of three bodies were dumped in a cart pulled by a gray donkey for a final triumphal parade down Highway 10. Men and boys followed the cart shouting anti-American phrases. It was all captured on tape. The video would become great propaganda material for later on.
This incident was widely covered by the press and caused widespread indignation in the United States; the anger seemed to get worse with each passing hour. But in Fallujah, the people proudly greeted news photographers. Graphic footage was sold to the networks. The next day’s headlines were nothing short of stunning: young men smiling and waving, while behind them dangled the charred corpses of American civilians.
To the Marines, this easily-avoided incident was a tragedy. The names of these four civilians would be added to a list that already contained dozens of names of men who were killed in the past year in or around Fallujah. But there was nothing the Marines could do or should do. To react to this event emotionally would play right into the hands of the insurgents; the idea was to win the war, not create a larger one.
The Marines did have a plan, however. It involved moving back into Fallujah over the next several months, on foot, retaking Fallujah district by district and bringing with them sufficient Iraqi forces to maintain control over these districts. One problem, though, was that the Iraqi forces had disassociated themselves from the coalition effort. There would be no reason for the Marines to march into Fallujah if there was no one to turn liberated districts over to. I MEF believed that the Marines could coax the Iraqis back into a full partnership. It would take time, but that was the plan.
Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez , U. S. Army commanded the Coalition Joint Task Force; Sanchez was General Conway’s boss. Sanchez wanted swift, visible retaliation for the Blackwater lynching. He wanted Conway to blow the bridge. That couldn’t work because Conway needed the bridge to run resupply convoys. In fact, every one of Sanchez’ notions ran counter-intuitive to the long-term efforts of not creating a larger retalitory war for the four Blackwater murders. Sanchez complained to his confidantes that he felt the Marines were timid.
In the view of Marine commander, the only sensible strategy was to regain control of Fallujah gradually, leaving Iraqis —not Marines— in charge of the city and its several districts. But Sanchez was adamant. The Blackwater murders amounted to political symbolism. Sanchez was getting his way; President George W. Bush was furious about the Blackwater assassinations. It was a stinging rebuke —a challenge to America. It was a matter of national pride. Ambassador Paul Bremer went on television promising overwhelming retribution. General John Abizaid, General Sanchez, and Ambassador Bremer were of one mind; they recommended to the President that Fallujah be seized immediately. George Bush’s answer wasn’t long in coming: his order to CENTCOM was “go get those responsible,” no waiting, no delay.
The last time the Marines had fought street by street was in the Battle for Hue City during the Viet Nam War. The fight had lasted a month. Within that month, entire blocks of houses had been leveled. More than six hundred Americans died; more than 3,700 were wounded. Civilian deaths exceeded six-thousand. So, the Marines knew about urban warfare —they knew more about it than anyone in Washington, and they knew more about it than General Sanchez or Paul Bremer. Nevertheless, the Marines had their orders.
On 3 April, Marines were ordered to conduct offensive operations against Fallujah . It was not what the Marine commanders wanted; they preferred surgical strikes and carefully organized raids against suspect insurgents. Nevertheless, in accordance with Joint Task Force directives, Marines launched a major assault in an attempt to pacify Fallujah on 4 April. Two-thousand troops surrounded the city; aerial strikes destroyed four homes thought to be enemy bases of operation. All roads leading out from the city were blocked; a local radio station was seized, and leaflets were dropped inside the city warning residents to remain in their homes.
Marine planners estimated as many as 24 hardcore guerrilla factions were operating inside the city. Their armaments included RPGs, mortars, anti-aircraft weapons, and machineguns. One-third of the city’s population streamed out of the city in an attempt to avoid the bloodshed.
As it happened, events in Fallujah set off widespread fighting throughout central Iraq and the lower Euphrates, perpetrated by Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army. Simultaneously, a Sunni rebellion broke out in Ramadi. All foreigners became targets of opportunity; some were captured and held for ransom, others were killed out of hand. Elements of Iraqi police and the civil defense corps either turned against coalition forces or simply abandoned their posts.
Marines tightened their hold over Fallujah, but the rebels held on. Air strikes frequently targeted insurgent positions; gunships attacked targets with Gatling guns and howitzers. Marine Corps snipers became the core element of Conway’s strategy. Insurgent leaders were never sure that they weren’t being observed through the scope of a .50 Caliber Rifle. The work of snipers was supported by the Tactical Psychological Operations Detachment, who lured terrorist insurgents into the open, where an introduction to Ala was almost a certainty. After three days of fighting, the Marines had gained control over a quarter of the city, but along with the destruction of guerrilla elements, civilian casualties increased as well.
Suddenly, on 9 April, Ambassador Paul Bremer announced that US forces would observe a ceasefire in order to facilitate negotiations between coalition forces, the Iraqi governing council, various insurgent groups, and city spokespersons. The ceasefire did permit the provision of humanitarian aid to city residents, but by this time, six-hundred Iraqis had been killed, and many of these were non-combatants. Iraqi insurgents continued to hold the city.
On 13 April, Marines were attacked by a group that had taken over a mosque. An airstrike destroyed the mosque, and of course the locals were outraged. Two days later, an F-16 dropped a 2,000-pound bomb over the northern district of Fallujah; the airstrike prompted negotiators to devise a plan to reintroduce joint US/Iraqi patrols in the city. Negotiations fell apart, however, and the city remained a major center for opposition to the US-appointed Iraqi Interim government. There was also a shift in the nature of Iraqi forces operating inside the city: the secular, nationalist, and ex-Ba’athist groups had lost their influence and these assets were absorbed by local warlords, men with ties to organized crime, or by adherents to Wahhabism.
On 27 April, guerillas attacked a Marine position, forcing the Marines to call for air support. On the next day, air elements from the USS George Washington began flying sorties over Fallujah. Thirteen laser-guided bombs were dropped on suspected insurgent positions.
On 1 May 2004, General Conway announced a decision to turn over any remaining operations to the newly formed Fallujah Brigade, a Sunni security force formed, trained, and armed by the CIA. Within four months, the Fallujah Brigade, armed with weapons paid for by the American taxpayer, joined the Iraqi insurgency. The treasonous behavior of the Fallujah Brigade led to the Second Battle of Fallujah.
West, Bing. No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah. Bantam Books, 2005
Foulk, Vincent L. The Battle for Fallujah: Occupation, Resistance, and Stalemate in the War in Iraq. McFarland & Company, 2007
 If there was ever a case to be made against affirmative action, General Sanchez could be it. Not only should we question his competence, we should also question his leadership ability, particularly as it relates to accepting responsibility for the debacle at Abu Ghraib and his failure to demonstrate moral courage by standing up to an equally incompetent Paul Bremer. This is not nitpicking; American lives were lost because of this man’s failure as an American general officer. His post-retirement criticism of the media and political leadership is nothing if not pure cheek.
 Given the size of the Fallujah in terms of its area, urban structure, and its population (est. 300,000), there was no way that coalition forces could avoid a very bloody confrontation with Islamist zealots. Ultimately, however, it would be the task of small units to implement multiple assaults in this urban setting. This kind of warfare demands the collective efforts of infantry squads and supporting arms. Their task involved isolating the objective, suppressing enemy threats, advancing the assault element, conducting the assault, clearing buildings, and consolidating/reorganizing the assault force. It isn’t simply a matter of clearing enemy-held buildings: military personnel anticipated fanatical resistance by insurgents, but it also involved encountering booby-traps and improvised explosive devices where they would inflict the most damage and impede any progress of an assault. Urban warfare is the most psychologically demanding form of combat.
 The title of this post refers to a British colloquialism for urban warfare, meaning to Fight In Someone’s House and Creating Havoc In People’s Streets.
William Ward Burrows (16 Jan 1758 – 6 March 1805) was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He served with distinction in the Revolutionary War with the South Carolina state militia. After the war, he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to practice law. On the day following an act of Congress to establish a permanent United States Marine Corps (11 July 1798), President John Adams appointed Burrows Major Commandant. During his tenure as Commandant, the manpower strength of the Marine Corps never exceeded 881 officers, noncommissioned officers, privates, and musicians. Note that by tradition, Samuel Nicholas was the first officer to serve as Commandant of Continental Marines, but Burrows was the first appointed Commandant of the U. S. Marine Corps. In history, Burrows is regarded as the Second Commandant of the Marine Corps.
After the United States won its independence from Great Britain, America no longer benefitted from the protection of the British Navy. America was suddenly facing the arduous and expensive task of protecting its own seacoast and merchant fleet. Few American ships were available to take on this task, and few were even capable of such a mission. The Kingdom of France was a crucial ally of the United States during the Revolutionary War, had loaned the Continental Congress large sums of money, and in 1778, signed an agreement with the United States for an alliance against Great Britain. In 1792, Louis XVI was overthrown during the French Revolution and the French monarchy was abolished.
In 1794, the United States forged an agreement with Great Britain in the Jay Treaty, which was ratified in the following year. The Jay Treaty resolved several issues between the US and Great Britain that had lingered since the end of the revolution. The Jay Treaty encouraged bilateral trade and expanded trade between the two nations, the effects of which stimulated America’s fledgling economy. Between 1794 and 1801, the value of American exports tripled. Not every American supported the Jay Treaty, however. Jeffersonian Democrat-Republicans were pro-French and fought an alliance with Great Britain at every turn.
France and Great Britain were at war, but the United States declared neutrality. As US legislation was being formulated for a trade deal with the British, Congress refused to continue making payments on the debt owed to France from the Revolutionary War. The United States argued that their obligation was to the King of France. Since there was no longer a king in France, the United States no longer had an obligation to pay this debt.
France was not pleased. Initially, the French government authorized privateers to seize American ships trading with Great Britain, taking the ships to France as prizes of war, and sold for compensation. Next, the French refused to receive the United States Ambassador to France, Charles C. Pinckney. The effect of this was the complete severance of diplomatic relations between the United States and France. President John Adams delivered his annual message to Congress, reporting to them that France refused to negotiate a settlement. Adams warned Congress: the time had come “to place our country in a suitable posture of defense.” The so-called XYZ Affair (French agents demanding bribes before engaging in substantive negotiations with US diplomats) incensed members of Congress and the general population.
It was in this setting that the Navy and Marine Corps had their humble beginnings. The Navy had few ships, and the Marines had few troops. Still, six or so months in advance of hostilities with France, the War Department began recruiting and enlisting able seamen to serve as Marines aboard frigates that had been authorized by Congress to meet the French threat. These initial units were small detachments assigned to ships of the U. S. Navy; ships that were still under construction.
During Major Burrows first several months, his principal concern was supplying men to serve with sea-going Marine Detachments. At this time, Headquarters Marine Corps was situated at a camp near Philadelphia until the national capital in Washington was ready to receive the government in 1800. Burrows sent a Marine guard detail to the Washington Navy Yard in March to protect government property. Burrows and his staff relocated to Washington in late July, settling into what today is called the Marine Barracks, 8th& I Streets.
Burrows was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 May 1800. The Quasi-War with France continued until September when the two countries finally settled their differences —and once these matters were resolved, Congress had no further interest in maintaining a naval establishment. Congressional attitudes embarrassed Burrows because he was trying to establish a war-ready Marine Corps on a peace time budget. The Barbary Wars broke out soon after the end of the Quasi-War. Adams lost the Presidency in 1801, and Thomas Jefferson, who was no friend of the Navy or Marine Corps, was inaugurated as President. In spite of Jefferson’s lack of interest, Burrows continued his struggle to man the much needed ship’s detachments gearing up for duty in the Mediterranean.
Lieutenant Colonel Burrows’ stewardship is credited with beginning many of the Marine Corps’ institutions, most notably the U. S. Marine Corps Band (now called the “President’s Own”). To create the band, Burrows relied heavily on personal contributions from his officers. Burrows was also a disciplinarian, demanding high standards of professional conduct from his officers. Due to ill health, which may be related to his relocation to Washington City, then an insect infested swamp, Burrows resigned his office on 6 March 1804. He died a year later while still residing in Washington. He was initially buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Georgetown, but on 12 May 1892, his remains were re-interred at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Part of Colonel Burrows’ legacy is his son, William Ward Burrows II (1795 – 1813), who served in the United States Navy from 1799 to his death in 1813. Lieutenant Burrows distinguished himself at Tripoli while serving aboard the USS Constitution. He died from wounds received during an engagement with HMS Boxer, while in command of the brig USS Enterprise during the War of 1812 (derisively known at the time as Mr. Madison’s War). Burrows was buried at Eastern Cemetery in Portland, Maine, next to the slain commander of HMS Boxer, Samuel Blyth.
In recognition of his courage under fire, Lieutenant Burrows was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal :
That the President of the United States be requested to present to the nearest male relative of lieutenant William Burrows, and to lieutenant Edward R. McCall of the brig Enterprise, a gold medal with suitable emblems and devices; and a silver medal with like emblems and devices to each of the commissioned officers of the aforesaid vessel, in testimony of the high sense entertained in the conflict with the British sloop Boxer, on the fourth of September, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirteen. And the President is also requested to communicate to the nearest male relative of lieutenant Burrows the deep regret which Congress feel for the loss of that valuable officer, who died in the arms of victory, nobly contending for his country’s rights and fame.
 A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. They were fast and maneuverable and used as both warships and cargo vessels. Brigs were among the first casualties of the age of steam because they required relatively large crews for their small size, and they were difficult to sail into the wind. A war brig was outfitted with between ten and eighteen guns.
 Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Shown above is the gold medal issued to John Paul Jones, the only Continental Navy Officer to receive this award. I could not find a likeness of the medal issued to Lieutenant Burrows. Credit for the image of the gold medal belongs to Jules Jaquemart, Loubat, J. F. Medallic History of the United States of America, New Milford (1878).
Marine Corps history reveals a lengthy relationship with the United States Department of State, beginning in 1805 at the Battle of Derna —the tale of this beginning is interesting.
When Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated President of the United States in March 1801, he inherited troubled relations with the Barbary States —otherwise known as the Ottoman Regencies of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, as well as with independent Morocco. The United States had diplomatic treaties with all four, but tensions were high and getting worse. Mr. Jefferson was partially responsible for this anxiety long before he became President.
Regional American diplomats wanted the assurance of an American naval presence (which given Mr. Jefferson’s loathing for the Navy, arguing that it was too much of an expense), must have been an irritation. These early diplomats regularly urged Jefferson to bolster a naval presence, if not in exact word, then certainly of similar pleadings as from Lisbon in 1793: “When we can appear in the ports of the various powers, or on the coast of Barbary with ships of such force as to convince those nations that we are able to protect our trade, and compel them if necessary to keep faith with us, then, and not before, we may probably secure a large share of the Mediterranean trade, which would largely and speedily compensate the United States for the cost of a maritime force amply sufficient to keep all those pirates in awe, and also make it their interest to keep faith.”
As noted above, Mr. Jefferson was well aware of the situation unfolding in the Mediterranean. In 1784, Congress appointed Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin as peace commissioners. Their task was to negotiate treaties of amity and commerce with the principal states of Europe and the Mediterranean, including the establishment of relations with the Barbary States. What these men learned was that European states had concluded treaties with the Barbary states, which involved agreements to pay them tribute, which in those days were called an annuity. This was necessary because any merchant ship found operating in the Atlantic or the Mediterranean Sea without this protection placed itself on the mercy of state-sponsored marauders. These raiders were also referred to as corsairs or pirates. The peace commissioners reported this information to Congress and requested its guidance.
In December of that year, having learned that a small American brig had been seized by a Moroccan corsair in the Atlantic, Jefferson developed a no-nonsense approach to the problem. He wrote, “Our trade to Portugal, Spain, and the Mediterranean is annihilated unless we do something decisive. Tribute or war is the usual alternative of these pirates. If we yield the former, it will require sums which our people will soon feel. Why not begin a navy and then decide on war? We cannot begin in a better cause nor against a weaker foe.” At this time, Jefferson believed that going to war was more honorable, more effective, and less expensive than paying tribute.
In 1786, while serving as the United States’ first Ambassador to France, Mr. Jefferson and John Adams (then serving as the US Ambassador to Great Britain), met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Tripolitan ambassador to Great Britain. American flagged ships had already been captured by corsairs and their crews and passengers imprisoned and held for ransom. The Americans wanted to negotiate a peace treaty that would spare their ships from pirate attacks. Congress had been willing to appease the Barbary pirates, but only if they could gain peace at a reasonable price.
During the meeting with Rahman, Jefferson and Adams asked him why Moslems held such hostility toward the United States, a nation with which they had had no previous contacts. Jefferson later related the ambassador’s response to John Jay: the reason for Moslem enmity was that “It was written in their Koran that all nations that had not acknowledged their prophet were sinners; it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave the infidel.” Rahman assured them that every Mussulman [Moslem] who was slain in this warfare was sure to achieve paradise in the afterlife. After the meeting, Jefferson purchased a Koran. Should war with these Moslems be necessary, he wanted to find out what kind of religion these people believed in.
The Barbary challenge to American shipping sparked a great deal of debate in the United States over how to cope with the aggressive behaviors of the Barbary States. Jefferson’s early view guided him in future years. In 1786, he doubted whether the American people would be willing to pay an annual tribute (bribe), and he wondered if it would not be better to simply offer these Barbary states an equal treaty. Should they refuse, the United States could go to war with them.
Mr. Jefferson believed that America needed to become a trading nation. Jefferson wrote to James Monroe, “… this will require a protecting force on the sea. Otherwise, the smallest powers in Europe, every one which possesses a single ship of the line, may dictate to us and enforce their demands by captures on our commerce. Some naval force then is necessary if we mean to be commercial.” Jefferson added, “And if it be decided that their peace shall be bought it shall engage my most earnest endeavors.”
John Adams favored the same approach, which is to say that he believed paying bribes would be cheaper than convincing the American people that the United States needed a navy. Congress did decide to pay the bribes, commissioning Thomas Barclay (to Morocco) and a merchant sea captain by the name of John Lamb (to Algiers) to effect treaties. In Morocco, the American proposal was accepted with only minor changes. Jefferson, Adams, and the Congress were very pleased because the agreement only entailed a one-time payment.
The agreement with Morocco did not serve as a template for the other North African tribes. Algiers was more dependent on the fruits of its pirating operations: captured goods, slaves, ransoms, and tribute —so they were less amenable to a peace treaty with the United States.
In the midst of these negotiations, Barclay and Lamb learned that two ships had been captured by Algerian corsairs: The Maria and the Dauphin. Mr. Lamb was instructed to negotiate a ransom for the captives in Algiers and to broker a treaty to prevent further attacks on American shipping, although the amount of money sequestered for this purpose was much too small to suit the Algerians. The Lamb mission failed.
Over the next several years —both as Secretary of State under George Washington and as President himself— Jefferson made further attempts to re-start negotiations with Algiers. Every effort failed, and the only safety accorded to American shipping came from joining European convoys. American ships even flew European flags, which of course was illegal (not to mention dishonorable). Nevertheless, American ships benefitted from the protection offered by the Portuguese Navy for several years. This ended in 1793 when it was time for Algiers and Portugal to renegotiate their treaty. Within a few months, Algerian corsairs had seized eleven American ships, ten of these in the Atlantic; more than 100 crewman and passengers were taken captive.
After Jefferson’s tenure as Secretary of State, the United States finally did secure an agreement with Algiers in 1795. An annual tribute was part of this treaty. A year later, Algiers released their hostages, which included a few survivors of the Maria and Dauphin. A treaty was concluded with Tripoli in 1796, Tunis in 1797, and it wasn’t long after that when the United States appointed emissaries to each Barbary state.
America’s consuls awaited the new administration of Thomas Jefferson, but their communiques over the previous months were nothing if not distressing. Tensions with Tripoli were high because the ever-sensitive Pasha Yusuf Qaramanli believed that the Americans had slighted him. He threatened war with the United States. Five months before Jefferson assumed office, in October 1800, Consul James Cathcart in Tripoli received an ominous message from the Pasha: “If you don’t give me a present, I will find a pretext to capture your defenseless merchantmen.” Cathcart dutifully notified other consuls of the possibility of hostile actions.
When the Quasi-War with France  ended by the convention of 1800, newly inaugurated Jefferson could turn his attention to the Barbary coast. The US Navy was a fledgling force at this time, but new ships were coming online from contracts awarded in 1793. Thus, in early June 1801, a small squadron of three frigates  and a schooner  sailed for the Mediterranean under Commodore Richard Dale. Dale was ordered to protect American shipping if, upon arrival, he found that a state of war existed. In that case, Dale was to “chastise their insolence by sinking, burning, or destroying their ships where they were found, blockade the harbor of any of the regencies that had declared war on the United States, and convoy merchantmen as best he was able. ” Dale was also ordered to transmit to the rulers of Algiers and Tunis letters, gifts, and tribute payments so long as no state of war existed.
On 14 May 1801, the Pasha of Tripoli declared war on the United States. The first assault came that very morning when the Pasha ordered the flagpole outside the consulate chopped down. Commodore Dale arrived at Gibraltar on 1 July. He was promptly informed that a state of war existed between Tripoli and the United States. For a number of months, the American squadron played patty-cake with Tripolitan ships. The only real action involved the schooner USS Enterprise in engagement with the Tripolitan ship Tripoli off the coast of Malta on 1 August. Tripoli was soundly defeated in this encounter. Given the speed of communications of the time, Jefferson wasn’t able to inform Congress of these actions until four months later.
Over the next three years, the Pasha’s obstinance forced the United States to devise a rotational schedule for its Mediterranean squadrons. In 1802, corsairs from Tripoli successfully evaded American blockades to attack US merchantmen. Nor did the blockade prevent trade among the Barbary states; it was only a minor inconvenience. Other Barbary rulers sided with Tripoli and in late 1802, the United States was faced with the possibility of an expanding war with Tunis and Morocco. Mr. Jefferson had other problems, too. The challenge of Tripoli could not be ignored, but neither could he ignore America’s rising national debt. Jefferson thus debated which would be less costly: tribute, or war? Should the United States be practical, or principled?
Secretary of State James Madison sent a note to Consul Cathcart suggesting that it was not necessary to confine himself to a single position: he might agree to pay the tribute, but neither should he exceed authorized dollar amounts; if engagements were necessary, Madison instructed, they should be kept small, if possible. In time, Mr. Cathcart was no longer welcomed in Tripoli, Tunis, or Algiers. Mr. William Eaton  had also been asked to leave Tunis. Both men returned to the United States. Tobias Lear assumed the duties of Consul General in Algiers in November 1803, replacing Richard O’Brien. Lear also took over negotiations with the Pasha of Tripoli. Commodore Dale was replaced by Edward Preble. When Preble arrived on station, he learned that Morocco was at war with the United States.
In October 1803, the frigate USS Philadelphia ran aground near Tripoli. Corsairs swept in to take advantage of the Philadelphia’s condition and her 307-man crew was imprisoned. Philadelphia was re-floated and repaired, but before the Pasha could make use of her, a U. S. Navy team led by Lieutenant Stephen Decatur slipped into Tripoli harbor after dark and fired the ship. Philadelphia was totally destroyed, but the crew remained captive. When this news finally reached the United States, the American people were very unhappy with Mr. Jefferson; the loss of a U. S. Navy vessel had happened on his watch. Jefferson requested that Congress provide two additional frigates to deal with the Barbary problem. Congress funded the President’s request.
In 1804, the former Consul to Tunis, William Eaton, returned to the Mediterranean Sea with the title Naval Agent to the Barbary States. Mr. Eaton had been granted permission from President Jefferson to support the claims of Hamet Qaramanli (the rightful heir to the throne of Tripoli), who had been deposed of his title by his brother Yusuf. Eaton sought out Hamet, who was then in exile in Egypt and made a proposal to reinstate him in exchange for a mutually agreeable treaty. Hamet agreed to Eaton’s plan.
Commodore Samuel Barron, now commanding the Mediterranean squadron, provided Eaton with naval support from the USS Nautilus, USS Hornet, and USS Argus. The frigates were to provide offshore bombardment support. A detachment of seven (7) U. S. Marines under the command of First Lieutenant Presley Neville O’Bannon , USMC was detailed to assist Eaton in an overland campaign from Egypt to Tripoli. With the help of Hamet, Eaton and O’Bannon recruited 400 Arab, Turkish, and Greek mercenaries. Eaton appointed himself a general and Commander-in-Chief of the makeshift multinational force. The campaign took the Marines and mercenaries 500 miles across the Libyan-North African desert. During the 50-day march, Eaton and O’Bannon had to contend with strained relationships between Moslem and Greek Christian mercenaries.
On 26 April 1805, Eaton sent a letter to Mustafa Bey, the governor of Derne, asking for safe passage through the city and an opportunity to resupply his force. Mustafa replied, “My head or yours.” USS Argus transferred one its cannon ashore to assist Eaton in the attack on the fortification at Derne and then joined the other two ships in a general bombardment of Derne’s defensive batteries.
With ships directing offshore fire, Eaton divided his force into two assault groups. Hamet would lead the Arabs southwest to cut the road to Tripoli and then turn to attack the weakly defended governor’s palace. Eaton, the Marines, and the remaining force would attack the harbor fortress. The attack began near mid-afternoon. Lieutenant O’Bannon and his Marines, along with 50 Greek gunners and the Argus’ cannon, led the assault. The fighting was bloody, and Eaton was wounded during the assault. Once the Marines had breached the walls of the shore battery, the defenders fled, leaving behind their loaded cannon.
Lieutenant O’Bannon raised the American flag over the battery. It was the first time the United States Flag was raised over a foreign territory. Unbeknownst to either Eaton or O’Bannon, this one event signaled the beginning of the Marine Corps’ long relationship with the United States Department of State. Marines were subsequently called upon to serve the interests of the State Department in 1845 (the secret mission of Archibald Gillespie), the siege of the Foreign Legation in Peking, China in 1901 (the Boxer Rebellion), and upon other occasions when the need for guards and couriers were needed at U. S. Embassies, consulates, and delegations, and as security for senior diplomatic officials in unsettled areas of the globe.
Today, the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, headquartered at Quantico, Virginia, carries on this tradition. Their motto is Vigilance, Discipline, Professionalism. Marine Corps Security Guards, in their present form, have been in place since December 1948 as authorized by the Foreign Service Act of 1946. The act authorized the Secretary of the Navy to assign Marines to serve with the U. S. State Department under the supervision of the senior diplomatic officer at embassies, legations, or consulates. This authorization continues today under Title 10, United States Code 5983.
 The Quasi-War was an undeclared conflict fought almost entirely at sea between the United States and France from 1798 to 1800 during the presidency of John Adams. Following the French Revolution, the United States refused to continue paying its debt to France, which had supported it during its own revolution. The United States claimed that the debt had been owed to a previous regime. In addition, France was outraged that the United States was trading with Great Britain, with whom they were then at war. The French reaction was to authorize privateers to attack American shipping. The United States retaliated in kind.
 Frigates were ships with three masts and a single gun deck. The number of guns would depend on the size of the ship. Early American frigates were called “heavy frigates” because they were rated as 44-gun ships, but in actuality, these ships carried 56 to 60 24-pound long guns and 32-pounder or 42-pounder carronades on two decks.
 Schooner were rigged according to their size. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, American schooners were two-mast vessels with fore and aft rigs with one or more squared topsails. Armament consisted of 12 6-pound long guns, but in some cases, this was increased to 12 18-pound carronades.
 Commodore Dale had a total of four ships at his disposal.
 Sixteen-year-old William Eaton enlisted in the Continental Army in 1780 and served until 1783, achieving the rank of sergeant. In 1790 he graduated from Dartmouth College and found work as a clerk in the Vermont legislature. In 1792, Eaton was commissioned a captain in the Legion of the United States, retaining his commission until 1797 when he accepted an appointment to serve as United States Consul at Tunis. Following the Second Barbary War, Eaton returned to his home in Brimfield, Massachusetts where he served one term in the state legislature. Suffering from rheumatism and gout, and having taken to drink, Eaton died at his home on 1 June 1811, 47 years of age.
 A United States Marine Corps Officer most remembered for being the first man to raise the American Flag on foreign soil on April 27, 1805, during the Barbary Wars. O’Bannon was born in Fauquier County, Virginia and named for his cousin, who had served with distinction as an officer in the Revolutionary War. After his service in the Barbary Wars, he continued to serve in the Marine Corps, being promoted to Captain, until March 6, 1807. He resigned his commission and moved to Kentucky. He later served in the Kentucky State Legislature. He is often remembered today by the words in the Marine Corps Hymn, to wit: To the shores of Tripoli. His Mameluke sword, which was presented to him by Hamet, has become the model of all Marine Corps officer swords since 1825. The United States Navy has named three destroyers in his honor. O’Bannon passed away on 12 Sep 1850, aged 73 or 74. Initially put to rest in the Dutch Tract Cemetery in North Pleasureville, Kentucky, his remains were later exhumed and reinterred in Frankfort Cemetery.