View Full Version : The Quiet Hero

04-28-09, 09:01 PM

I would like to discuss my Quiet Hero!

I paid a visit a some time back to someone whom we Marines all know but never hear anything about in the media chaff which so intrudes in our lives. It is particularly relevant to discuss this excellent man at this present time.

This was my third visit to see the gentleman- and he was definitely an officer and gentleman. He’s not much for talk but his place of abode takes the need to talk away anyway. I saluted and said my usual few words of greeting and salutation and told him how he had always been an inspiration to jarheads like me in that he held the little known honor of being the first Marine to address both the Muslim Terrorist and Piracy Threat. He did it with a flourish, with only seven Marines and a ragtag group of Tripoli mercenaries, and saved a number of our Navy captives while he was at it. His act of heroism added a word to our history and to our Anthem, as well as adding a distinctive hilt to a sword- the word is “Tripoli”; The country he defeated in battle is now known as Libya; The sword is, of course, the Marine Officer’s Sword with a Mameluke hilt.

You guessed it - I was in the Kentucky State Capitol - Frankfort, KY and visited the final resting place of Lt. Presley O'Bannon in the Frankfort Cemetary. It is a beautiful place and a fitting resting place for a real Marine hero who is rarely mentioned today in this era of media hype. One seldom sees mention of him even in current history books. When the whole world was terrorized and shipping was at a virtual standstill in the Mediterranean, this Marine set the precedent for sandbox play which our brothers are mastering again today. Presley lived a good life and a long life and died in 1850. His deed which will live forever took place in 1805. He was the first US Military Officer to set foot on foreign soil and plant the flag on campaign. This was the first Marine Corps expeditionary venture.

Lieutenant O’Bannon is buried not 50 yards from the Kentucky State War Memorial (he was there first ) and only about 150 yards from the grave of another of my heroes and yours- Daniel Boone. Both of these outstanding individuals were moved here to their final resting place overlooking the beautiful Kentucky River in the early part of this century. Boone from his last home in Missouri and O’Bannon from his home in Logan County, KY. This Marine’s memorial, with its large, red, Eagle, Globe and Anchor Marker is easy to spot as you drive into the cemetery towards the War Memorial (which in itself is memorable and well done). I have visited Daniel Boone at least a dozen times before but only in the last three or four years did I discover my quiet hero - Presley O’Bannon - Lieutenant, I salute you and thank you. I can’t imagine a more perfect resting place for you.

Semper Fidelis!

Rod Rhoads, Sergeant, USMC 1953-1957


12-10-09, 06:52 PM
I went through bootcamp at M.C.R.D. in 67-68. Platoon 3321. One of our boots was the great grandson of LT. O'Banion. Leatherneck mag. showed up, and did a story on him. It made us all feel good that we trained along side the offspring of such a great MARINE. If my memory serves me right, he had two M.O.H. His great grandsons name was Ren J. O'Banion.

12-10-09, 09:26 PM
Wow-I didn't know he had descendents down to this day, especially Marines.
He was quite a guy! By the way, are you any relation to any KY Coliinses? I served with a Sgt/SSgt Billy Collins on the Forrestal?

12-11-09, 06:16 PM
I dont think I have any KY. kin folk. Ive been through there several times. Beatiful state. I served in Nam from may 68 to June 69, but was never a sgt. I had a brother killed in Nam. He was in the armys 11 armored cal.

12-11-09, 08:01 PM
By the way, that was Bobby Collins I served with-I'm getting old and it was 54 years back-Sorry.