The oldest military monument in the United States honors heroes of the War against the Barbary Coast Pirates, the new republic's first war. In 1804, President Jefferson ordered the nation's tiny naval force to the Mediterranean to protect the expanding trade of the new United States against the pirates, who demanded ransom for safe passage of merchant ships. "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute" became the rallying cry for this war. Jefferson's action established the doctrine of extension of power overseas, and created a permanent United States Navy. Renovation
On "the shores of Tripoli," young Americans took brave actions against the pirates, including torching their own grounded vessel, the USS Philadelphia, to prevent its use by the pirates. Six men were killed before Tripoli's 'pasha' relented. Congress cited them for their gallantry,
and Captain David Porter, one of the pirates captives, instituted a campaign for a monument to honor his former shipmates, now heroes.
The monument was carved in 1806 in Italy, of Carrera marble, and brought to the United States as ballast on board the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides). From the Washington Navy Yard it moved to the west terrace of the national Capitol. It has stood at the Naval Academy since 1860.
of the Monument was completed in June 2000 through the leadership of Capt. Warren B. Johnson '47, thanks to gifts from the VADM Eliot H. Bryant & Miriam H. Bryant Endowments and Friends of the Save the Tripoli Monument Committee.