Wednesday, July 6, 2016

America's Libya and ISIS Policy

America's Libya and ISIS Policy

Image result for Enterprise v. Tripoli

The Tripoli and the Enterprise

By William E. Kelly, Jr.

America's Libya and ISIS policy, the subject of much confusion and debate in Washington, was set over 200 years ago when the radical Islamist and Basha of Tripoli Yusuf Karamanli was the first to declare war against the United States by chopping down the American flag pole outside the residence of the American ambassador.

Rather than pay him tribute to stop pirating American merchant ships, Americans took up the slogan "Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute," and President Madison said, "If we are to fight them now we better be prepared to fight them forever."

Using the same tactics they use today - pirating ships, enslaving women, beheading Christians infidels and imposing Shara law wherever they conquer, the Barbary pirates were the ISIS terrorists of their day.

They were the ones to pick a fight with us and we responded by sending over a fleet of warships, the schooner Enterprise the first to arrive in Mediterranean waters, under the command of Lt. Andrew Sterett.

It didn't take long for the Enterprise to encounter the latine rigged pirate ship Tripoli, a captured American merchant ship in tow, its crew having been killed and thrown overboard.

The Enterprise carried the baton of what would become the Sixth Fleet, and had orders to intercept pirates, and that she did, with a well trained crew and tenacious skipper, the Enterprise raked the Tripoli with multiple broadsides, and the Tripoli's treacherous captain feigned surrender twice before pushing his first officer overboard. Sterett didn't take the Tripoli as a prize because Congress had yet to declare war, and left the pirates one sail to return home and tell the basba what America's policy was. The captain of the Tripoli was striped naked and placed backwards on a donkey and paraded through the streets of Tripoli.

The Enterprise was then transferred to Lt. Stephen Decatur, who captured the pirate ship Moscato, renamed the USS Intrepid, and used in daring raids against the pirates.

On the downside, the frigate USS Philadelphia ran aground chasing a pirate ship outside the Tripoli harbor, its guns facing into the sand and sky, so it's captain William Bainbridge surrendered without a fight, its 300 officers and men held for ransom.

Renaming the Philadelphia "Gift of Allah," the basha offered to free any of the American sailors who would convert to Islam, take muslim wives and teach them how to sail the square rigged frigat, and five of them did.

Decatur then used the Intrepid to sink the Philadelphia and Richard Somers died in the explosion of the Intrepid in Tripoli harbor, both early special ops missions that would today be undertaken by Navy Seals.

Shortly thereafter Sgt. Presley O'Bannon and eight US Marines lead an army of Arabs and Greek Christians across the desert to attack and take the coastal city of Deena, the first time the stars and stripes would fly above a captured foreign city, and before they could march on Tripoli, the basha sued for peace.

The Libyan city of Derna is now a hotbed of radical extremists and was the first Libyan city to fall to ISIS and have Islamist Shara law installed, enslaving women and beheading infidels.

The aircraft carriers Intrepid and Enterprise were named after the original ships, and Sterrett, Decatur, Somers and Bainbridge have all had ships named after them. It was from the fantail of the USS Bainbridge that three US Navy SEALs simultaneously shot and killed three north African pirates who were holding the captain of an American ship hostage, continuing American policy in the finest traditions of Sterett, Decatur and Somers.

The first cruse missile fired by American forces during the NATO intervention in the Libyan revolution against Gadafi was fired from the USS Steritt, and American ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, before he was killed by radical Islamists, saw his entrance into Libya aboard a cargo supply ship as a continuation of the Barbary Wars of 200 years ago.

More recently an American navy vessel broke down in Islamic Iranian waters and was captured, its ill-trained crew humiliated.

Will American policy towards Islamic extremists in Libya and elsewhere be one of broken down, untrained surrender and humiliation or will it be a continuation of the spirit and determination of Sterett, Decatur and Somers?

And the first continuation of this policy should be to bring home Richard Somers and the men of the Intrepid from Tripoli, where today they are surrounded by the same radical Islamists who they died fighting.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Intrepid Story from an Arab Perspective

- This is an English Translation of the Arabic text of the Libyan book “Secrets of Old Protestant Cemetery” – marked as the grave site of men from the USS Intrepid, that exploded in Tripoli Harbor in September 1804. May thanks to Asmae, a Moroccan widow of an American serviceman, who is enamored with the story and thinks it should be made into a movie. 

Editors Note: this is a work in progress and subject to corrections and revisions. - BK

Image result for Secrets of Old Protestant Cemetery Book

BEGIN TRANSLATION:: Secrets of Old Protestant Cemetery - Tripoli 

A lot of sources speak about the political crisis between the United States and Tripoli leaders since the diplomatic relations between them has ceased on 05/14/1801, on the era of Yousef, the fifth president of Karmadian dynasty in Libya and the third president of United States Thomas Jefferson.

One of these crises seasons was on 10/31/1803 when the Libyan Marine surrounded the entire American Naval Unit and captured the captain of the ship, the officers, and the crew members without causing any harm to any member of the unit. That was the capture of Philadelphia, the biggest American catastrophe after Pearl Harbor of the World War Two.

On 12/23/1803 and as a massive retaliation, the American Naval succeeded to capture one of the Lybian ships, Mastico, using the Enterprise, one of the American schooners. The Mastico was under the command of captain Mustapha who was the first one that jumped on Philadelphia upon its capture by The Libyans. After captain Mustapha and his crew members were captured by the Americans, the Mastico became one of the American Naval Corp that Brigadier Edward Preble named the Intrepid.

Its name was small then but nobody would believe that Preble didn't only participate to protect the reputation of the American Navy but their entire history and honor.

However, it was no way to save Philadelphia from its capture in Tripoli. Instead the commander of the American Unit sent an order to burn the ship down when it settled down in the port of Tripoli.

The reason why the Enterprise (Sic Intreid) was chosen for this mission is because of its friendly looking design. When the Enterprise (Sic Intreid) enters the port of Tripoli at night everybody would think that it just a friendly commercial ship that was trying to lay in the port for commercial reasons. 

That was on 02/16/1804 under the command of Captain Stephen Decatur. The mission was a success that only one man was lightly wounded. As a result of this victory Decatur was immediately promoted to a naval commander and he was only 25 years old. This even made Tripoli witnessing the promotion of the youngest commander in the hall American Naval Corp.

After six months and half of trying to surround the city of Tripoli didn't succeeded, Preble the captain of the American Navy Troops went for his plan to destroy the rest of the Libyan Naval ships and one or more of its ports in one strike. He decided to send a marine bomb to the port to destroy it.

The truth is that wasn't his idea, it was the idea of a man who used to live in the Red Castle in Tripoli and close to its main port.  His name was Brigadier William Bainbridge. He was the prisoner of Tripoli governor. The governor kept Bainbridge in an abandoned American Embassy building that was close to the port. That's how he got his best chance to see some details that were never mentioned in the American Navy maps.

He also earned the trust of Nicolasi Nissen, the ambassador of Denmark, and he used this trust to escape a number of secret letters to the American Navy Units that surrounded the port. The letters were common and innocents letters that were written with common ink but underlined with secrets letters that were written with Lemon juice and you can only read them if you light matches underneath the paper.

One of those letters was sent to captain Preble, in person, advising the need of sending a fighter ship to the port. And the volunteer unit that would sale in the ship had to flee in small boat just before they set the explosion. The truth is Preble tried this type of strategy of strikes in the past. That was when a group of volunteers under the leadership of Stephen Decatur sneaked to the port then to Philadelphia and burned it down.  As a result it been discovered that The Interbred (the ship that was used for this mission) was the perfect ship for the mission because it matches the Libyans ships and makes them believe that it was one of theirs, especially at night time.

After the burning of Philadelphia the Intrepid was used as the first American Naval hospital that is settled on the water.

After Preble’s decision, Nautilus captain of the schooner, and lieutenant colonel Richard Somers turned the Naval hospital to a floating bomb. As soon as they got their orders they started to prepare for this mission that took a few days with the help of Master Henry Wadsworth and master sergeant Joseph Israel.

They put 100 Barrels continued approximately 700 kilograms of explosives in the cabin storage. On the top of this deadly load they place 100 of 9 and13 inch guns loaded and provided with filament and are ready to work. Then they extended a tub from the front storage to the rear cabin that it also was allied with explosives that suppose to burn for 15 minutes; enough for the crew to get away from the ship.

Israel and Wadsworth picked the fastest boat in the naval unit to use it to come back after they deliver the ship of hell to its destination into the port. The crew was supposed to light the flame and start the burning from the back of the ship that would burn the gunpowder line that would connect the fire with the front compartment in 15 minutes when everybody should get away from the ship.

When Nautilus men knew that their captain was in charge of the mission they ask to accompany him but he only picked four men, Thomas Topline, James Harris, William Keith, and James Simms. In the other hand, Henry Wadsworth choose six of his  men, William Harrison, Robert Clark, Hugh McCormick, Jacob Williams, Peter Penner and Isaak Downes.

End of Part I – Part II of relevant chapters currently being translated. Many thanks to Asmae for her patient diligence – BK 

Friday, January 8, 2016

US Special Forces Left Behind in Tripoli


                                                    Image result for Tripoli Old Protestant Cemetery Richard Somers

Thirteen U.S. special forces left behind in Tripoli are surrounded and threatened by radical Islamic terroritss but the U.S. military refuses to bring them home.

The three officers and ten men of the U.S.S. Intrepid died in 1804 fighting the same radical Islamists we fight today, then known as Barbary pirates, who captured ships and held their crews for ransome, enslaved and killed Christians and imposed Sharia law where ever they laid claim to the territory, that now includes Tripoli.

One of the ideals that defines the differences between us and radical Islamists is the veneration of the dead and making monuments of the graves of our saints and heroes, which the radical Islamists don’t do and don’t allow anyone else to do either. The Islamists don’t believe in honoring their dead, only Allah and his prophet Mohammid.

As U.S. Navy personnel who died on one of the first special ops missions of the U.S. military, these men should be afforded the same rights and honors as the Americans who die fighting on foreign soil today, and our clearly stated policy of leaving no one behind should be enforced across the board and not selectively to those who died most recently.

Instead of repatriating these men when they could, the military used the graves of the American heroes a means of dealing with the Gadhafi government, so the cemetery was restored and the graves crypts refurbished, a history of the cemetery was written and the State Department requested the United Nations add the  cemetery to the list of World Heritage sites and protected by the UN. But that hasn’t been the case with other World Heritage sites under control of the radical islamists, including the twin Buddas in Afghanistan, the ancient Sufi archivs in Timbukto,  mosques in Iraq and Syira and other World Heritage sites that have been totally destroyed by ISIS. You can imagine what they would do to desecrate the clearly marked graves and destroy whatever remains are entombed as they did with the Sufi saints in nearby mosques.

Rather than just bring them home the DOD spent twice as much money on a study of the feasibility of repatriating them and decided it wasn’t worth it.

The DOD POW/MP office, riddled with scandal, refused to bring the remains of the men of the Intrepid home when they had the opportunity despite the repeated requests of the families of two off the officers and the support of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Am-Vets and the New Jersey State Legislature.

As soon as the security situation permits the remains of these men should be retrieved and returned home and reburied with full military honors in a secure place where people can visit and learn the lessons of history and take inspiration from the gallant actions of these brave men.

Now it is just a matter of who will get there first, the radical islmasits who will undoubtedly videotape their desecreation and destruction of the graves, or Americans who save Captain Somers and the remains of his brave crew? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Richard Somers Mural Fund

Fundraiser for Richard Somers Mural in Somers Point 

Art of 'His' Story fundraiser

The Somers Point Arts Commission and The Somers Point Historical Society are hosting a fundraising event "The Art of "His"story," from 2 to 4 p.m.on Sunday March 8 at Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, 908 Shore Road.

The Art of "His"story honors the life of Master Commandant Richard Somers, USN, a native of Somers Point and one of the first naval heroes of the United States. 

The event presents the plans for a public mural that will be painted on the Somers Point Library, Atlantic County Branch at the corner of Shore Road and New Jersey Avenue. The mural will overlook the Richard Somers Memorial Park and the bronze bust of Master Commandant Richard Somers.

The event will include a wine tasting presented by Passion Vines Wine and Spirit Company, a silent auction, introduce the mural artist, and unveil the design for the mural.

Tickets are $35 and are available by sending a check to Somers Point Arts Commission, Somers Point City Hall, One W. New Jersey Ave., Somers Point, NJ, 08244; mural fundraiser on the memo line. Reservations will be held at the door.

For more information call 609-653-4991 or email

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Two Hundred Years Apart - Joined in Death in Tripoli

Two Hundred Years Apart - Joined in Death in Tripoli -

William E. Kelly

                                                           Tripoli Harbor

                                                Two Hundred Years Apart 

Richard Somers, Henry Wadsworth and Joseph Israel are separated by two centuries from Fernando L. Ribas-Dominicci, Paul F, Lorence and David Berry, but they share a similar fate – dying on the shores of Tripoli while opposing Islamic tyranny. 

They should all have their names engraved in the Tripoli Monument at Annapolis, they should all be eligible for the Medal of Honor and all of their remains should be recovered and buried with full military honors alongside their fellow veterans in a protected cemetery, but that won’t happen as long as the top brass in the military have their way.

Somers, Wadsworth and Israel died fighting the Basha of Tripoli Yousef Karamanli, an Islamic tyrant and pirate, but their remains were left behind in Tripoli as prescribed by law and they are not elegible for the Medal of Honor because they fought and died in a war that preceded such traditions.

Ribas and Lorance were shot down in 1980 over Libya during Operation El Dorado Canyon, air attack on Gadhafi’s home, and while Ribas’ remains were recovered, the search for the remains of Lorance continues.

Berry, a former US Marine, was killed by Islamic State suicide terrorists at the Corinthian Hotel, an attack by an affiliate of the Islamic State was said to be in retaliation for the death of Abu Anas al-Libi, who was picked up off a Libyan street by US special forces and he died while awaiting trial in New York City for the attack on a US embassy. His remains were returned to his family in Libya, just as the remains of Berry were returned to the United States.

Anas al-Libi received a hero’s welcome in Libya, similar to that of the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbasset al-Megrahi when he was freed from a Scottish prison.

                Abdelbasset al-Magrahi with Saif Gadhafi at the former Wheelus Air Force Base, Tripoli 

Berry’s body was returned home to his family and he was buried with full military honors in a ceremony similar to the one Chris Kyle received and as portrayed in the film American Sniper.

The remains of another young Navy officer from Philadelphia James Caldwell were never recovered and were last seen being mauled by dogs on the Tripoli beach, while the remains of Somers, Wadsworth, Israel and ten men of the USS Intrepid were recovered and buried on the high ground near the old castle fort by prisoners from the captured frigate USS Philadelphia.

And there they remain. Over time other Christians who had the misfortune to die in the predominately Muslim city and society, were buried alongside them and in 1830 the British built a wall around what became known as Old Protestant’s Cemetery.

                                                              Inside the Cemetery 

According to the most recent research including deep background from the Libyan’s own published history “Secrets of Old Protestant Cemetery,” the remains of the officers and all of the men are within the walls of the cemetery, some likely within the above ground crypts that have been identified and clearly labeled as those of the men of the USS Intrepid

Secrets was researched and published at the same time as the Gadhafi government’s renovation of the cemetery and the U.S. State Department’s nomination of the cemetery to the United Nation as a World Heritage Site.

The UN however, cannot protect its World Heritage sites, as dozens of them have been damaged or completely destroyed in recent times by the same radical Islamists who ransacked Timbuktu.

The twin Buda statues that stood tall in Afghanistan for centuries were the first to fall to the Taliban, stirring outrage around the world, but failing to stop the Ben – from destroying the ancient Islamic archives at Timbuktu, where they imposed strict Islamic law for a few months, long enough to dislodge the remains of Muslim saints and holy men from their tombs, as these radical extremists believe in a strict orthodox version of Islam that doesn’t permit the veneration of the dead. And they don’t allow anyone else to venerate them either.

Turkey recently invaded Syria in order to save the remains of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, relics that were being guarded by soldiers besieged by Islamic State terrorists who wanted to destroy the shrine, relics and historic remains in the name of idolatry.

Soon after the Arab Spring and Libyan revolution radical extremists filmed themselves desecrating the graves of British soldiers at Tobruk, and dug up the remains of Islamic Sufi saints from their graves beneath the floors of mosques in Tripoli.

After Lorence’s and Ribas-Dominici were shot down while bombing Gadhafi’s Tripoli home in 1986, Ribas-Dominici’s remains were returned after the intercession of the Pope, but the remains of Lorence, like those of Caldwell, were never recovered.

When Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi with his associates, their remains were returned home and received at the airport by the Secretary of State and president.

When David Barry was killed by Islamic State suicide killers, his body was returned home, but the remains of Somers, Wadsworth, Israel and the men of the Intrepid remain left behind within the walls of the old cemetery, now besieged by radical Islamists.

As explained by Chris Dickon in his book “The Foreign Burial of American War Dead” (McFarland, 2012), the Tripoli remains have not been recovered because the law doesn’t require the government and the military to treat all veterans equally, and only requires those who died in combat abroad since World War I to be returned home - if their family requests.

President Obama recently awarded a Medal of Honor to a Civil War officer who distinguished himself in the battle at Gettysburg, but despite the efforts of Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser and others, only those who served since the Civil War are deemed eligible for the Medal of Honor.

The military refused to repatriate the men of the Intrepid because, as their 2012 report affirms, they don’t have to.

The men who fought and died in the Barbary Wars against the same Islamic enemy deserve the respect, rights and honors received by those who are at the front lines today -

Now is the time for Congress to act on this discrepancy

Therefore Be It Resolved: Under the Powers granted to Congress – the US government and the US military shall treat all veterans with equal status and respect without regard to when they served – and give special consideration in awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to the officers of the USS Intrepid – Lieuts, Richard Somers, Henry Wadsworth and Joseph Israel for their leadership and inspiration in the continuing war against Islamic tyranny. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Navy Responds to Repatriation

Department of Defense 
Office of the Assistant Secretary
(Manpower and Reserve Affairs)
1000 Navy Pentagon
Washington DC 20350-1000

Jan 20 2015

Mr. William Kelly
20 Columbine Ave.
Browns Mills, NJ  08015
Dear Mr. Kelly,

Thank you for your recent letter to the Secretary of Defense requesting the repatriation of remains associated with the USS Intrepid from the American Cemetery in Tripoli. I am responding on behalf of the Secretary of Defense.

The position of the Department of Defense continues to be that the repatriation of remains would go against the Navy’s custom and tradition honoring the final resting place of those lost in downed ships and aircraft. Additionally, there are many scientific, historical and social realities that would make the repatriation of Intrepid remains very difficult, perhaps impossible, some of which are noted in the 2012 study you cited in your letter.

While we are unable to support the repatriation of remains in this case, we do have a vested interest in maintaining the grave site as an honorable and hallowed place. In 2010, we engaged the Libyan Minister of Antiquities and Archeology, and subsequently a project commenced to renovate and restore the grave site to its proper form. Given the current turmoil being experienced in Libya, it would not be prudent to engage on this issue at this time. However, when the situation stabilizes an assessment of the cemetery’s condition will need to occur.

I sincerely appreciate your commitment to honoring our nation’s Veterans....

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy
(Military Manpower and Personnel)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Richard Somers - Key Date Illustrated Chronology

Richard Somers - Key Date Chronology - Illustrated with graphics, photos and profiles 

                                                                   Off Tripoli Harbor 

Somers Mansion - Somers Point home of John Somers - father of Capt. Somers and grandfather of Master Commandant Richard Somers, USN, who left Somers Point to fight Tripoli pirates and has yet to return

1778 September – Richard Somers born in Somers Point, NJ.

               The house and tavern at Bethel and Shore Roads in Somers Point where Richard Somers was born. It still stands but was renovated into commercial offices. An historic marker marks the spot. 

1778 October 15 - Battle of Chestnut Neck included Col. Richard Somers, father of Master Commandant Richard Somers.
1783 March. Algerian Barbary coast pirates seize two American merchant ships.
1784 October 11 Morocco pirate corsairs seize American brig Betsey.
1785 June Henry Wadsworth born in Falmouth, Mass., now Portland, Maine, next door neighbor to Captain Edward Preble.
1785 Feb Algerian pirates seize two U.S. vessels, demand tribute; Pres. Jefferson deploys gunboats to the Mediterranean. “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.”
1785 US opens diplomatic relations with Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli.
1789 April 30 George Washington sworn in as President.
1793 December 16 President Washington notifies Congress that Barbary pirates were again seizing ships, consults with John Barry and Philadelphia shipbuilder Joshua Humphreys about building a fleet of warships.
1793 15 year old Richard Somers, first mate on family schooner in West Indies, takes command upon the death of the captain and returns ship safely home.
1794 Navy Act of 1794.
1794 March 19 John Barry requests command of the proposed fleet.
1794 March 27 an act of Congress orders building six new frigates.

George Washington, John Barry and young Midshipman - possibly Richard Somers, who obtained a ring with a lock of Washington's hair. 

1794 June 14 Washington orders John Barry “to form and train a class of midshipmen who would then be commissioned as Ensigns, and form the nucleus of a new American navy.” Barry commissioned first Captain, United States Navy.

            Stephen Decatur, Jr. - Sunk the captured U.S.S. Philadelphia and led the Second Barbary War

1794 Richard Somers attends private Philadelphia Free Academy with schoolmates Charles Stewart, Stephen Decatur, Jr., Richard Rush, and James Caldwell.
1794 September Captain John Barry supervises the construction of USS United States.
1794 October 22  Richard Somers' father Capt. Richard Somers, Sr. dies.
1795 December 21 US treaty with Morocco, Algiers “automatically under the clause in the Navy bill,” halts work on the six frigates.
1796 Jan. Sec of War McHenry reports that all six frigates could still be completed.
1796 April Congress approves the completion of three ships at Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore, the United States, the Constitution and the Constellation.

                     The construction of a frigate took years of planning, design and construction

1796 September 19 Estimate for outfitting the frigate United States with 305 officers and men, fifty-four marines, for one month $7, 285.

                                                                    Ketch USS Intrepid 

1796 Gheretti/Mastico, a French built Ketch launched (later to become USS Intrepid).

1797 February 3 Richard’s mother Sophia dies.
1797 February 22 Washington, on his birthday, issues Commission No. 1 in the American Navy to John Barry, backdated to 1794. .
1797 March 4 John Adams becomes president.
1797 June 7 Treaty of Tripoli Approved by Senate.
1797 June 10 Treaty of Tripoli Signed by President Adams
1797 June 17 Notice of Treaty of Tripoli published in Pennsylvania Gazette.
1797 June 23 President Adams message to Congress re: Algiers/Barbary States.
1797 July 10 the USS United States is launched, John Barry Captain.
1797 350 applications for 59 commissions in new U.S. Navy.
1798 January 26 US counsel Richard O’Brian arrives in Algiers.
1798 March 9 Charles Stewart commissioned Lieutenant.
1798 April 30 Congress establishes Department of Navy
1798 April 30 Midshipman warrants issued to Richard Somers and Steven Decatur.
1798 May 7 President John Adams appears in Philadelphia at rally.
1798 May 8 Richard Somers takes oath of allegiance.
1798 May James R. Caldwell appointed Midshipman.
1798 May 30 Richard Somers returns to Egg Harbor to get his affairs in order.
1798 June 8 Sloop Delaware (20 guns) under Commodore Stephen Decatur, Sr., takes a French prize, Le Croyable off Egg Harbor, N.J. 

1798 July 7 USS Untied States gets underway under Capt. John Barry with Decatur, Jr., Charles Stewart and Somers as Midshipmen, head for the West Indies.
1798 Nov 4 Congress agreed to pay a yearly tribute to Tripoli.
1799 January 20 Richard Somers commissioned Lieutenant.
1799 June 2 Richard Somers writes will.
1799 June 22 Richard’s brother Constant dies in Russia in boating accident.
1799 Schooner Nautilus built as merchant vessel on Maryland’s East Shore.

                                                  Master Commandant Richard Somers USN 


1800 Nov. James Caldwell promoted to lieutenant, serves on USS United States.
1801 Somers appointed first lieutenant Boston (28 gun) 250 man sloop sent to the Mediterranean.
1801 James Caldwell assigned to the USS Constellation.
1801 Treaty of Tripoli violated by Yousuf Karamanli, pasha of Tripoli.
1801 January 21 Boston off Tripoli. Somers gets first view of Tripoli Harbor.
1801 May 14, After learning that Pres. Jefferson refused to pay a renewed tribute of $225,000 the Pasha of Tripoli declared war on the US by cutting down the US flagstaff in front of the US Consulate.
1801 May 22 Captain Richard Dale takes command of Mediterranean Squadron.
1801 June – US Consul William Eaton contacts Hamad Karamanli, deposed pasha of Tripoli, and older brother of Yousuf and encourages him to return to Tripoli.

                                                   The Tripoli vs the USS Enterprise 

1801 July USS Enterprise under Lt. Andrew Sterrett defeats pirate ship Tripoli.

                                                          Tripoli destroyed by USS Enterprise 

1802 Congress orders the construction of four schooners, the Siren, the Argus, Nautilus and Vixen with Somers given command of the Nautilus.
1802 February 6 Congress recognizes Tripoli has declared war against USA.
1803 April 11 Richard Somers launches schooner Goard Blossom at Mays Landing.
1803 May 13 Richard Somers ordered to oversee the refurbishing of schooner Nautilus.

                                                               Captain Edward Preble 

1803 May 21 Captain Edward Preble given command of the Mediterranean squadron, with flagship frigate USS Constitution (44 guns).
1803 June 24 Somers’ schooner Nautilus ordered to join the Mediterranean squadron.
1803 September 13 Commodore John Barry dies.
1803 September 14 Somers and Nautilus reach Gibraltar.
1803 Preble obtains understanding in Tangier from the emperor of Morocco.

1803 Oct 31 frigate USS Philadelphia, Captain Bainbridge in command, runs aground off Tripoli, surrenders with full complement of crew, 300 men.

1803 Nov 7 the Argus, with Stephen Decatur, joins Nautilus and Constitution.

1803 Dec 23, Lt. Stephen Decatur, commanding the schooner Enterprise, captures a Barbary pirate ketch, which is entered into the US Navy logs as the USS Intrepid.

                                         The Intrepid escapes after setting the Philadelphia afire

1804 February 16 Decatur leads mission aboard Intrepid into Tripoli Harbor and successfully scuttles the captured frigate USS Philadelphia.
1804 June 2 USS Constitution, Enterprise, and Intrepid, a floating hospital, anchor off Syracuse. Siren, Agrus, Vixen and Scourage (also a pirate prize) blockade Tripoli.
1804 July Mediterranean squadron heads for Tripoli, lead by Preble’s flagship, the Constitution, four brigs, the Argus, Siren, Vixen and Scourge, two schooners, Nautilus (Somers) and Enterprise (Decatur) and eight gunboats (156 guns in all).

                                                   1804 July 25 Battle of Tripoli begins.

1804 August 3 Somers and Decatur lead flotillas of gunboats against Tripoli fleet, win decisively, though Decatur’s younger brother James Decatur is killed; Caldwell distinguishes himself in boat action; three enemy gunboats captured.

1804 August 7 Attack made against Tripoli fleet; Caldwell killed in Gunboat #9.
1804 Sept 3 Attack made against Tripoli fleet.

                                                     The USS Intrepid at Tripoli Harbor 

1804 Sept 4 Intrepid explodes in Tripoli harbor killing Somers, Wadsworth and ten volunteer sailors, whose remains wash ashore and are recovered.
1804 Sept 5 Intrepid crew buried in two nearby graves, by Dr. Cowdery and other American prisoners, “one cable’s length” (720 feet) from the walls of the old castle fort.

                                       Captain Bainbridge of the USS Philadelphia and the Dey 

The Tripoli Monument at Annapolis was the first U.S. war memorial paid for by the offices and men who served with those officers who were killed in action - and lists the names of those officers. 

1805 Lt. David Porter takes up collection for Tripoli Monument, which includes the names of all the officers killed in the first Barbary War.

U.S. Counsel to Egypt William Eaton - warrior- diplomat - convinced Hamid Karamanli to try to win back his power in Tripoli from his renegade pirate brother Youseff. 

                                                            U.S. Counsel William Eaton 
  1805 U.S. Counsel William Eaton, Lt. Presley O'Bannon and eight USMC and their motley army march across the desert and capture Derna, raising the U.S. Stars & Stripes above captured foreign territory for the first time. 

Tobias Lear, former personal secretary to President Washington, signed treaty with Yousef Karamanli that paid $60,000 ransom for the 300 prisoners of the captured frigate U.S. Philadelphia, despite U.S. policy not to pay tributes or ransom for prisoners or hostages. Lear later committed suicide.
                                                                                                                     Tobis Lear 

Despite being sold out by U.S. diplomat Tobias Lear - Hamid Karamanli thanked Lt. O'Bannon for fighting for him and gave him his Mammaluk sword, now the dress sword of the U.S. Marine Corps. 

                                                           Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

1807 Feb Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is born and named after Lt. Henry Wadsworth
1812 British take Washington. The Tripoli monument is damaged, repaired and relocated to the grounds of the US Capitol.
1830 Wife of British Counsel to Tripoli dies and is buried near existing graves, believed to be American sailors, and a wall is built around the cemetery.

Midshipman hung for mutiny aboard the USS Somers - Inspired "Billy Bud" and the establishment of the Naval Academy at Annapolis to train midshipman. 

1842 Alleged mutiny aboard USS Somers II, a training vessel, results in hanging of Midshipmen, and the end of training officers at sea.

1845 US Naval Academy established by Navy Secretary George Bancroft and the Tripoli Monument is relocated there.

                                                              James Finimore Cooper 

1850 James F. Cooper writes biography of Richard Somers suggesting that someday the captain of an American cruiser should return with his remains so that he can be reburied in his native land among his friends and loved ones.


                                                                     John Paul Jones 

         John Paul Jones in 1905 when repatriated from under a Paris street and reburied at Annapolis 

1905 President Theodore Roosevelt orders the repatriation of the remains of Captain John Paul Jones from a Paris crypt and reburied in the chapel at the Naval Academy.

                                                             Mussolini at Old Castle Fort 

1911 Italians begin occupation of Libya. Take over port and create the Plaza/Square.
1930 Italian Army road work crew reportedly uncovers the remains of five men from the original grave site and they are reburied at Old Protestant Cemetery.
1938 President Franklin Roosevelt orders a search for the location of the graves of the men of the Intrepid in Tripoli. Mustafa Burchis, a Libyan working for the Italians at the port of Tripoli investigates and learns some of the men of the Intrepid are buried at Old Protestant Cemetery.
1940 World War II. Burgis’ report is lost at the American Embassy in Rome. Libya becomes battleground 

Nazi General Erwin Rommel maps out desert warfare strategy at Tripoli Harbor 

         U.S. General Patton - many of his troops are buried in a US protected military cemetery in Tunisia 

1945-1969 - Wheelus Air Force Base - Tripoli 

                                                       Wheelus Air Force Base in Tripoli 

1948 - Muastafa Burchis informs the new US Consul Orray Taft, Jr. of his research and the members of the State Dept, US Navy, British embassy and local Libyans hold memorial ceremony and place historic markers at the Old Protestant Cemetery in 1949.


Commanders of the USS Spokane, Orray Taft, Jr. and Tripoli Mayor Yousef Karamanli, namesake and direct relative of the pirate Basha who was the first to declare war against the United States 

Here lies an American Sailor Who Gave His Life in the Explosion of the United States Ship INTREPID in Tripoli Harbor September 4, 1804 

1950-1956 Two reports are published in the US Naval Proceedings journal based on Burgis
1955 USMC study determines that no Marines are among the Intrepid victims.
1950-1969 The Officer Wife’s Club of Wheelus Air Force base maintains the cemetery.

                                            The Old Protestant Cemetery before Renovations 

1977 Two women from New Jersey discover the displaced graves at the cemetery, overgrown with weeds, and write about it in American Legion Magazine.
1980 Rep. William Hughes (D. 2NJ) introduces legislation in Congress to reserve graves for the men of the Intrepid at Arlington in anticipation of their repatriation.
1988 Pres. Ronald Reagan orders the US military to bomb Tripoli in retaliation for terrorist attacks. Two US Navy pilots are shot down, and the remains of one recovered.
1991 Chris Stevens posted to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with US State Dept.


2002 Members of the Somers family and Somers Point, N.J. civic leaders petition US government and the Gadhafi Charities Foundation for repatriation. US State Dept. says there is no diplomatic relations with Libya.
2004 Gadhafi renounces terrorism, gives up Weapons of Mass Destruction and the US reestablishes formal diplomatic relations with Libya.
2004 Libyans reportedly excavate the original grave site and discover “bones and buttons.”
2004 US Dept. of State opens liaison office in Tripoli.
2004 Libyan guards tell US regional security officer Dan Mehan about American graves at cemetery, overgrown with weeds and in disrepair.
2006 March LTC Robert “Kyle” Carnahan arrives in Tripoli as defense attaché and meets with Dr. Giuma Anag, director of Antiquities.

2006 May Memorial Day ceremonies held at cemetery graves.
2007 Chris Stevens begins serving as Deputy Chief of US Mission to Libya at Tripoli (2 years)

          Grave flags sent to American Embassy in Tripoli fly by Somers Point residents fly over grave crypts 

2007 May Memorial Day ceremonies held at cemetery graves.
2008 “Secrets of the Old Protestant Cemetery” book is published in Arabic in Libya.

2009 Gadhaif celebrates the 40th anniversary of coup with a parade at Green Square.
2009 Sept 5 Sec of State Condi Rice visits Gadhafi on the 105th anniversary of the burial of the men of the Intrepid but doesn’t visit graves.
2010 March US Ambassador Cretz placed flags at cemetery graves.
2010 March Chief of Naval Operations Adml. Gary Roughead determines that the Old Protestant Cemetery is to be the final resting place for those men of the USS Intrepid, but does not mention the original unmarked mass grave site outside the old castle walls.
2010 September – Tripoli flag from U.S. Embassy is raised in Somers Point, NJ 

                                                               Tripoli Cemetery Renovated

2011- February 17 Revolution in Libya begins, which Gadhafi violent suppresses.
2011 March UN & NATO prevents Gadhafi’s military from attacking Benghazi.
2011 April 5 Chris Stevens arrives in Benghazi as US Representative to the rebels

Chipp Reid, Rep. Frank LoBiondo, Greg Sykora, Sally Hastings, Walt Gregory, Mayor Jack Glasser, Dennis Somers, Bill Kelly, Michael Caputo and Rep. Michael Rogers 

2011 April 15 Delegation from Somers Point meets with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R. NJ), Mike Rogers (R. Mich) and the American Legion in Washington DC.

2011 April Rep. Michael Rogers introduces House Resolution 1497 to repatriate the remains of the men of the Intrepid from Tripoli, co-sponsored by LoBiondo.

                         Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers - Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee 

                                                     New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo 

2011 May 26 Rep. Rogers attaches the Rogers/LoBiondo repatriation resolution to the 2012 Defense Authorization Act (DAA) as an amendment, which passes the House.

2011 August Green Square is liberated and renamed Martyrs Square.

                                            Old Protestant Cemetery at Tripoli Harbor 

2011 September – American Legion video released.
2011 Nov. Sen. Dean Heller (R. Nev.) introduces complimentary Senate bill.
2011 Dec. Sen. John McCain (R. Arizona), ranking Republican on the Sen. Armed Services Com. (SASC) removes Repatriation Amendment before DAA is approved.
2011 Dec. 6 SASC and HASC Conference irons out differences in the DAA and ten US Senators sign letter requesting the Repatriation Amendment be reinserted in the DAA. 2011

2011 Dec. 17 Sec. Defense Leon Panetta visits Tripoli and graves and leaves coin.

2011 Dec. 31 President Signs Defense Authorization Act that includes a provision requiring the Navy to “evaluate the feasibility” of repatriating the remains of the men of the Intrepid from Tripoli and report back with recommendations in September 2012. 
2012 – AMVETES commander supports repatriation.
2012 Christopher Stevens appointed US Ambassador to Libya. Media excluded from ceremony.
2012 Feb. 4 Intrepid Project meets at Somers Point Historical Society to consider options. 
2012 February – Greg Sykora does radio interview on the story thus far.
2012 March – Secrets of Old Protestants Cemetery is published 

2012 May US Ambassador Chris Stevens leads Embassy delegation for Memorial Day ceremony at Intrepid graves at Old Protestant Cemetery.

US Ambassador Chris Stevens at the graves of the American sailors of the Intrepid at Tripoli Cemetery

2012 May – LHA 7 – USS Tripoli laid out.

                              USS Intrepid Sea Air Land Museum also has theTV Starship Enterprise 

2012 June Intrepid and Enterprise together again. Namesakes of Barbary Ships meet in NYC
2012 September Film farce "Innocence of Muslims" incites anti-American protests. 
2012  September 9 – Richard Somers Day celebrated in Somers Point
2012 September 11 Ambassador Stevens and three Americans killed in attack on US mission at Benghazi.
2012 September 12 US intelligence agencies determine attack led by al Qaeda linked militia
2012 September 12 40,000 Libyans protest the attack against Americans and storm militia HQ.
2012 September 18 UN Ambassador says Benghazi attack spontaneous response to film. 
2012 October Navy/DOD Report on Intrepid remains recommends they not be repatriated.
2012 October Tripoli Project issues rebuttal and meets with Armed Services Committee in DC
2012 November Benghazi becomes an election issue during debates. 
2012 December Tim McGrath’s bio of John Barry includes Richard Somers
2013 January Secretary of State Hilary Clinton testifies before Congress about Benghazi.
2013 January Former Sen. John Kerry nominated for Secretary of State
2013 March – Deborah K. Jones named new U.S. Ambassador to Libya – based in Malta
2013 September - Somers Monument dedicated in Somers Point
2013 July – Press of Atlantic City: Somers Point hoping for deal soon on repatriation
2012 January Islamic militants retreat from Timbucktu after imposing Islamic law for six months, destroy historic manuscripts, books, mausoleums and graves of Sufi Saints. 
2013 Somers Point and Somers family initiate another private backchannel negotiation.
2014 Bust of Richard Somers is placed at Veterans Park next to library.
2014 “Happy in Tripoli” video goes viral.
2014 Islamic militias take Tripoli Airport (former Wheelus AFB) and Tripoli
2014 Elected and recognized Libyan congress moves to Tobruk to escape militias.
2014 City of Derna – liberated by US Marines from pirates in 1805, declared an Islamic State
2015 Philadelphia Inquirer: New calls for the emergency repatriation of remains of all Americans from Libya

                                              The Old Castle Fort at Tripoli Harbor today

                          The padlocked green door to the Old Protestant Cemetery in Tripoli