Not too often do you find something good in a pawn shop. It's usually cheap crap that was probably stolen or someone couldn't get out of hock. Occasionally, you find something perfect or useful.
But every now and then someone finds the jackpot item — such as the Mameluke sword of Lt. Gen. Homer L. Litzenberg Jr., Commander of the 7th Marine Regiment during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
Lt. Gen. Homer L. Litzenberg Jr. led his men from the Battle of Inchon to Yalu and through 17 of the most brutal days of combat during at the "Frozen Chosin." He led alongside Marine Corps legend Lt. Gen. "Chesty" Puller who commanded the 1st Marine Regiment.
Then-Col. Litzenberg addressing his Marines on Christmas day.
Chris Anderson, Anne Arundel County police officer and prior service Marine, and his fellow Marines were about to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday at an Annapolis saloon. Anderson noted that they were missing the traditional Mameluke sword of a Marine Corps officer to cut the cake. He did what every Marine would do: he looked for one on eBay.
He found one but it was inscribed with the name "Homer L. Litzenberg Jr." on the blade. He knew that this blade couldn't go to some private collector, so he snagged the sword at $255 because of wear and tear. The authenticity hasn't been determined yet, since the pawn shop can't disclose prior owner information. However, the pawn shop did say that with its proximity to Aberdeen Proving Ground, it's extremely common for them to receive military items.
$255 for a legendary sword? Deal! (Screen-cap via eBay)
Anderson has since made it his personal crusade to get the sword verified and put into the National Museum of the Marine Corps. On Dec. 22, he sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Mattis also commanded the 7th Marine Regiment, so if anyone could help Anderson out, maybe — just maybe — it could be "Chaos."