Among my Marine Corps friends, the words of the Marines Hymn, “From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli” are as sacred as any song ever heard at a Sunday morning church service. But do you know what those words mean?

The Halls of Montezuma are a reference to Chapultepec Castle, in Mexico City. Built in the late 1700s for the Spanish governor of Mexico City, the castle stands on Chapultepec Hill, once sacred to the Aztecs. The unofficial title Halls of Montezuma refers to the ancient Aztec leader, though the structure was built long after Montezuma’s death. During the Mexican War, in 1837, U.S. Marines captured Chapultepec Castle, the fabled Halls of Montezuma.

The shores of Tripoli refers to the 1804 Battle of Derne, during the First Barbary War, in which American Marines defeated a force of pirates who had been preying on merchant vessels throughout the Mediterranean Sea. It was the first recorded land battle of American forces overseas.

But you didn’t come here for a history lesson, did you? However, as the old saying goes, if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. But maybe that’s not all bad.

Last week, Somali pirates killed four Americans who they had taken hostage after capturing their yacht, off the coast of East Africa. Last Thursday, pirates also took a Danish family of four hostage after seizing their boat, and are threatening to kill them if their ransom demands are not met.

Even in the 21st Century, pirating is a thriving business in many parts of the world, and the Somalis are the worst of the worst, seizing hundreds of ships and thousands of crewmembers, then ransoming them off for millions of dollars. This is big business in that part of the world; wealthy investors back the pirates financially, and reap big rewards when ransoms are paid. Somali pirates are currently holding at least 660 hostages, and close to 50 ships.

In spite of patrols by warships and aircraft from several nations, the pirates have not slacked off in their attacks. If anything, they have increased their acts, and have become bolder in their threats to kill hostages. Why? Because they know that the world’s military powers are a reactionary force. They wait until the pirates attack, and then try to get to the scene and rescue hostages. It’s a big ocean, and they are hard to find, so the odds are with the pirates.

How long does the world have to put up with this nonsense from a bunch of ill-equipped, uneducated Third World thugs? When pirates seized the American-flagged Maersk Alabama and took its captain hostage in 2009, Navy SEALS shot three of them dead, and put an end to the standoff.

Three bullets cost a lot less than the millions of dollars the pirates are getting when insurance companies pay to get hostages and ships released, and I think it sends a pretty clear message. Maybe it’s time to repeat history, and send in the Marines to kick ass and take names, not only against the pirates, who are nothing but terrorists, but also against the money men who are backing them.

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16 Comments on Shores Of Tripoli

  1. joe says:

    A-man brother.

  2. All ships enterinbg that area should have RPG and automatic weapons also a feew drones up and sink all boats carring those people should be sunk on site also a good bombing of all the settlements on the coast that have boats we have become a nation of weenies the last president with gust was Truman he finished the japs in WW2

  3. Gary says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this subject. However, I cannot feel sorry for those who know that area is a hot bed of scum yet wants to travel in the area anyway. Then when things do go bad expect someone to come to their rescue. The problem is those who travel there have the mentality that while this happens all the time it won’t happen to me. If all people avoided this area then the pirates would have to find something else to do wrong.

  4. John Huggins says:

    Perhaps if we were to use up some cruise missiles in the direction of the pirate strongholds, we could put some Americans back to work replacing them. Sounds like win-win to me.

  5. Bill B says:

    Gary – I kind of agree with you but they are hitting boats and ships 500 miles off the coast. How wide of a swath do you cut to avoid them??

    Most of ships are commercial. With the Eygpt thing going on, they were talking about running commerce around Africa and adding 15 / 20 days to the voyage. I think that I read that a large tanker costs $100K per day at sea. Crew, fuel, insurance, lease payments, etc.

    I kinda like the State Farm commercial parody – Like a good neighbor, the US Marines are there.

    Nick, we should have been there years ago. Yea poke the bull in the eye, yea get the horn.

  6. Bob Martel says:

    I think we should just sink all the support and raider vessels in the area that don’t have a reason to be there (after trying to board them of course to verify their bona fides, the default if we can’t board them peacefully is to sink them.) The crews can be sent home. Eventually, they’ll get the message. Then we need to follow the money and go after the so called investors and prosecute them. If nothing else, the hunting process will be goo practice for the Navy.

  7. Rob Nixon says:

    I’ve been saying for a long time now that what it will take to end the Somali piracy is for the President of the Untied States to give the order to make those guys disappear. We know who they are and where they are, and it is ALWAYS open-season on pirates. NO ONE protects or defends pirates, least of all Somalia, which has no functional government.

    The pirates need to get a loud & clear message that there is risk to what they are doing. That can be done by tracking their boats and SINKING them out of sight of shore. The US Military CAN DO THAT!. When enough of their buddies never come back, they will get the message.

    There is already at least one Seal Team in the area. Send those guys out to do the job. Track the pirate boats with UAVs and blow them out of the water. I would love to see bait-ships deployed to the area, with full military weapons. When pirates attack the ship, lets have a little shock-and-awe demonstration. An Apache helicopter blowing up one of their motherships with a Hellfire missile would make quite a Youtube video.

    The Russian navy has already done this at least once. They boarded a pirate boat, collected all the weapons, then sank the boat, with the pirates in it. Now we need all the navies of the world to do the same.

  8. Cheryl says:

    My son return to the US right before Christmas after patrolling this area in a US Frigate attached to a Nato force. On the day that they captured a boat load of pirates, (page 3 in the east coast papers) the front page headline announced the release of pirates captured a year earlier as out US courts ruled that the Navy had boarded the pirate ship without just cause. You are right. As long as our men are handcuffed by our own government, this will remain just a farce. Unfortunately, our government has decided that all we need to do is increase the number of forces over there so my son is headed out yet again after only 2 months at home. Would be one thing if he and I felt like it was doing something constructive. No matter what the service area—Navy, Marine, Army, Air Force or Coast Guard—-until our government gives them the go ahead to WIN, nothing will change.

  9. John says:

    Have you ever seen the reality TV show “Bait Car”. The local law enforcement plant a car in a high crime area and wait for it to be stolen. It is tricked out with hidden video and a remote kill switch so they can collect evidence and then arrest the bad guys.

    Maybe we should have a Marine version of this without the arrest at the end…

    After a couple of days where your pirate friends did not come back, maybe the rest of them would make a career change.

  10. bucky says:

    I agree with all of the previous comments, how long are the major countries going to allow their citizens to be subjected to this crap, by a group of third world criminals. Makes you wonder where the money trail leads, who are the major goverments protecting, at the cost of their respective citizens ????????????????…….

  11. Elaine & Mike says:

    I have to agree with Gary, these fools know that it is extremely dangerous but as he stated it they think it will not happen to them. Bombing a country is not the answer. The four that were killed were on a mission to pass the word of God to these people. If these people wanted the word of God I am sure they would have already gotten it, from someone by now, all the want is the money they know someone will pay

  12. T & R Martin says:

    Cheryl, I feel anger that your son is being sent over there AGAIN. Yes, our gov’t should back up our people & be there to WIN & not use our people simply for eye candy. It reminds me of another time when our troops were told not to shoot until the enemy fires FIRST! OUCH. :-( May your son stay safe & we thank him for his service.

  13. Allan says:

    The US courts should not be ruling on military actiites. These people that are terrorists should be under military courts. Our countries liberal judges are trying to make laws to their own interpretations. Hopefully we will get a president that is not afraid to get tough with pirates.

  14. Mike Scans says:

    Very simple. It is the “high seas” they are attacking on. Legitimate shipping should be allowed to have arms to defend themselves. A couple of twin .50 cals on each ship would make short work of any pirates. If they are attacking and are close enough to be within range of the .50, they are fair game. A shot across the bow and if it is not heeded, sink the “illigitimate sons of a flea ridden camel”. When the pirates stop returning from the raids, the rest will get the idea. IF not, there is plenty of .50 cal ammuninition available to continue the defense policy.

  15. Mel says:

    Amen, Nick! Why this is tolerated is beyond me. And thanks for the history lesson, I shared it with my kids and played the song for them. They were familiar with the tune but not the history.

  16. Mike says:

    The capture of Chapultepec Castle happened in 1847, n0t 1837. This seems to have been a typographical error. According to aMarine Publication, Marines in the Mexican War, downloadable in pdf format, the Marines did not capture Chapultepec Castle(pg. 50). No Marines entered Chapultepec until after the Castle had fallen(pg. 42-53). The infantry which scaled the walls and took the castle were Soldiers.

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