Letter to Gene A. Cretz
US Ambassador to Libya
US Embassy, Tripoli, Libya
20 Columbine Ave.
Browns Mills, NJ 08015
609-893-7014 / 608-425-6297
October 22, 2009
Dear Ambassador Cretz,
Over a year ago (September 3, 2008) I wrote to you:
"Congratulations and welcome to your new post. After all of the other problems are ironed out, you will eventually have to deal with the repatriation of the remains of Lt. Richard Somers and the men of the Intrepid. Five of their remains are buried in the Old Protestant Cemetery, and seem secured by US embassy personnel….The other eight, including the remains of the three officers, Somers, Wadsworth and Israel, are at the original grave site in the (Green Square) park near the old castle fort. These graves should be secured as soon as possible, as there have been reports that the Libyans have excavated the site and discovered "buttons and bones." The remains of the officers should be identified by DNA. The POW/MP office of the DOD are responsible for such operations."
These men enlisted in the US Navy and fought the Barbary pirates for the same reasons we fight pirates and terrorist today. In fact, they established the spirit, principles and Navy traditions that are continued today, and we honor them by naming modern Navy warships Somers, Decatur, Porter, Bainbridge, Nautilus, Enterprise and Intrepid after them and their ships.
And one of those traditions is that no one is left behind. As Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations recently said, after the return of the remains of a Navy airman shot down during the first Gulf War 18 years ago, “Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be.”
Now that you have assumed the position of the American Ambassador, according to the treaty for which these men fought, the remains of those citizens of the United States who have died within the limits of the Regency of Tripoli are under your direction.
The June 4, 1805 Treaty of Peace and Amity between the United States of America and the Bashaw, Bey and Subjects of Tripoli in Barbary. ARTICLE 20, states: “Should any Citizen of the United States of America die within the limits of the Regency of Tripoli, the Bashaw and his Subjects shall not interfere with the property of the deceased; but it shall be under the immediate direction of the Consul, unless otherwise disposed of by will…”
[Treaty: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/bar1805t.asp#art6 ]
It is the will of the Somers family, the citizens of Somers Point and the State of New Jersey, and veterans who served our country, that the remains of Richard Somers be repatriated home. And it is the tradition of the US Navy that the men of the Intrepid be returned home and reburied in the soil of their native land.
[Petition : http://www.petitiononline.com/Intrepid/petition.html ]
In addition, would it be possible to obtain a flag flown over the US Embassy in Tripoli so it can be flown over the Somers Point City Hall and Somers family homestead?
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter,