Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Intrepid Project - Join Us
WHY ARE 13 US NAVY HEROES
IN A LIBYAN MASS GRAVE?
United States Navy Master Commandant Richard Somers was one of the first officers to enlist in the new Navy at the turn of the 19th Century. The young officer and his men fought gallantly in America’s first naval war against the States of North Africa. He died with his 12-man crew of the USS Intrepid on September 4, 1804 while engaged in a secret mission during the Battle of Tripoli.
When their bodies washed up on the shores of Tripoli, the bashaw - the king of the pirates - invited a pack of dogs to devour them as American prisoners of war looked on. These 13 naval heroes remain buried today in two mass graves in Libya. One of those graves is unmarked and underfoot on the Tripoli plaza where Gaddafy has held his anti-America rallies for decades. Unfortunately, many Washington bureaucrats want to leave these men right where they are, buried like animals, not like American heroes.
Today, 2,200 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 2nd Marine Expiditionary Force are floating just offshore aboard the USS Bataan and USS Mesa Verdeare, awaiting orders in the same Mediterranean waters patrolled by Somers and his men.
Two thousand modern Marines are poised to fight in Libya where we left 13 combat veterans behind 207 years ago.
The Somers family has asked for the return of their ancestor's mortal remains for two centuries. The City of Somers Point, named after the heroic Master Commandant's family and still their residence, has worked on repatriation for decades. Additionally, the descendants of renown American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wish for the return of the remains of his uncle, Lt. Henry Wadsworth, who served as second in command on the fire ship Intrepid when it was lost. The legendary poet was named after his heroic uncle, as he was born just a few years after the failed mission.
With the instability in Libya today, Americans are paying close attention again to Tripoli. We have a brief window for a strong push to align national public sentiment behind the campaign to return the mortal remains of these early American heroes. Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence, has introduced HR 1497, the first legislation in history to require the exhumation and return of the remains of these brave men.
But Rep. Rogers and Rep. LoBiondo need our help - they need hundreds of other members of the House of Representatives to sign on to HR 1497 as cosponsors. Without this support, HR 1497 will never pass the House and may never be heard in the US Senate. Encouraging Congressmen to sign on will require a sizable public relations campaign, so our nation's veterans will have to carry this message to the people.
We need your help. Please call your Congressman today at 202-224-3121 and encourage them to sign on as a cosponsor of HR 1497. You can also CLICK HERE to find out how to contact your congressman. Finally, CLICK HERE to sign the petition to bring home the 13 heroes of the USS Intrepid!
Sign the Petition:
Enlist in the Cause:
THE ARMCHAIR GENERAL -
Congressman wants remains of 13 sailors buried in Tripoli returned
By JEFF SCHOGOL
Published: April 26, 2011
WASHINGTON – For more than 200 years, the remains of 13 U.S. sailors have been interred in Tripoli, and now a congressman is calling on the Defense Department to bring them home.
The USS Intrepid exploded and sank in 1804 while on a mission during the First Barbary War to destroy the Tripolitan Fleet. The captain and 12 volunteer officers were killed.
When their bodies washed ashore, they were fed to dogs, dragged through the streets and dumped into holes, said U.S. Rep Mike Rogers, R-Mich.
Rogers said it is only a matter of time before Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is deposed, so it is important to get ready to work with a new Libyan government to bring the Intrepi’ crew back to the United States. He has been working on this since he saw some of their graves during a visit to Libya in 2004.
“One of the places there is right by the square where they regularly protest the United States of America – hardly a place that you would like to call your final resting place when you’ve sacrificed so much for your country,” said Rogers, an Army veteran.
After feeling the Navy was unwilling to pursue the issue, Rogers introduced a bill earlier this month that would require the Defense Department to exhume the sailors and bury them in the United States. The bill, which is still in committee, requires those remains that could not be identified to be transferred to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
“If it’s one day, if’s one hour, if it’s 100 years, we have the obligation and the responsibility —and I argue the dignity and the honor –to say that we will leave no fallen member of our military behind,” Rogers said. “I look it this way: If that were me, I’d want someone to try to bring me home.”
For more information, go to The Intrepid Project.