Marine non-commissioned officers' sword, 1859-present

Marine Non-Commissioned Officers' Sword, 1859-Present

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Marine non-commissioned officers' sword, 1859-present

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The sword adopted in 1859 and subsequently carried by noncommissioned officers (NCOs) of the United States Marine Corps is patterned after the United States Army’s foot officers’ sword of 1850, with minor differences. Marine NCO swords feature a cast-brass hilt with a half-basket guard; leather-wrapped grip bound with twisted brass wire; a slightly curved, single-edged blade with a wide central fuller and short false edge; and a black-leather scabbard with two brass mounts, including an upper mount with a stud for carrying in a leather belt frog, and a brass tip with drag.

History & development

U.S. Marine officers and NCOs have carried swords since the American Revolutionary War. During the earliest years, the swords worn by Marine NCOs are believed to have been based on Army patterns, though not necessarily the exact swords used by Army NCOs. By approximately the mid-1820s, however, Marine NCOs began wearing distinctive short sabres with cast brass eaglehead hilts and curved blades. About this same time, in 1826, Marine Corps officers also began wearing a distinctive new sword of the Mameluke style, similar to those worn today.

In 1859, a completely new sword pattern was introduced for Marine Corps officers, who were instructed to wear the same sword then worn by Army foot officers since 1850. In addition, in 1859 a similar sword was authorized for wear by Marine NCOs, so that the swords worn by Marine officers and NCOs appeared to share very...
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