Wednesday, November 9, 2011

US Senate Bill - Bring Home Tripoli Heroes


US Senate Bill Brings Home Fallen Sailors of Tripoli

For Immediate Release:
November 8, 2011

http://heller.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2011/11/heller-boozman-brown-bill-brings-home-fallen-sailors-of-tripoli

Heller, Boozman, Brown Bill Brings Home Fallen Sailors of Tripoli

(Washington DC) - Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced a bill along with Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Scott Brown (R-MA) to repatriate the remains of sailors killed in the First Barbary War. The sailors currently lie in burial sites in Tripoli, Libya.

"Our nation has a responsibility to make sure that any fallen member of the Armed Forces is treated with respect. For more than two hundred years, these sailors have laid to rest in a cemetery on foreign soil. It's past time that we give these men a proper military burial in the country they died defending," said Senator Heller.

"This legislation serves as a reminder to all service men and women that we will never cease in our efforts to bring a fallen service member home, nor will we ever forget the sacrifices that have been made by them and their families," Senator Boozman said.

"Gathering the remains of these brave sailors, two of whom were from Massachusetts, demonstrates America's commitment to pay tribute to our fallen heroes, no matter how much time has passed. With reports that some still remain in a mass grave, we have a duty to ensure our sailors are buried with the honor and respect they deserve," said Senator Brown.

These sailors were killed when the U.S. Ketch INTREPID exploded in the Tripoli Harbor in September 1804. Some were buried in mass graves, signifying the disrespect shown at time of the internment. The graves remain isolated and in poor condition.

This legislation would require the Department of Defense to exhume their remains, identify them and send them to a veterans cemetery located in proximity to the closest living family member or at another cemetery determined by the Secretary for military burial. If any remains cannot be identified, they would be sent to Arlington National Cemetery for internment at the Tomb of the Unknown.

Similar legislation, introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-08) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), passed the House of Representatives on a voice vote.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars issued a letter in support of this legislation. A copy of the letter is viewable here: http://intrepidproject.org/VFW_Tripoli_Sailors_letter.pdf

More Info: www.IntrepidProject.org

The Intrepid Project
12864 Biscayne Blvd, #332
North Miami, FL 33181

Senate Contacts:
Stewart Bybee (Heller)202-224-6244
Sara Lasure (Boozman) 202-224-4843
John Donnelly (Brown) 202-224-4543

Master Commandant Richard Somers is from New Jersey
The NJ Legislature passed a motion supporting this.
Where are the New Jersey Senators Lautenberg and Menendez?
They are MIA.



Las Vegas Sun Article

Sen. Dean Heller sponsors bill to bring remains of American sailors back from Tripoli
By Karoun Demirjian (contact)
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011 |

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/nov/09/sen-dean-heller-sponsors-bill-bring-remains-americ/

Dean Heller

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller introduced a bill this week, along with Sens. John Boozman of Arkansas and Scott Brown of Massachusetts, to repatriate the remains of 13 sailors who were buried in mass graves at Tripoli during the First Barbary War in 1804.

“Our nation has a responsibility to make sure that any fallen member of the Armed Forces is treated with respect. For more than 200 years, these sailors have laid to rest in a cemetery on foreign soil,” Heller said. “Its past time that we give these men a proper military burial in the country they died defending.”

This is not a constituent move, as the U.S.S. Intrepid -- a ship loaded with explosives that had entered the harbor off the Libyan capitol of Tripoli on a mission, but blew up prematurely, killing Captain Richard Somers of New Jersey and the rest of those aboard -- went down about 60 years before Nevada became a state.

House Intelligence chairman Mike Rogers and New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo have been pushing a similar bill in the House. It’s been a particular interest of Rogers’ since he first learned of the graves on a visit to Libya in 2004; in 2006, the bodies were partially exhumed but then re-buried.

The Department of Defense has not been too eager to arrange for the transfer of the soldiers, as the mission would likely be a Pandora’s box, paving the way for further repatriation requests from other wars. (For example, there are over 5,000 fallen American soldiers from World War II buried in Luxembourg alone.)

The soldiers from U.S.S. Intrepid were given a ceremonial burial in 1947, 242 years after the conclusion of hostilities of the First Barbary War -- the first of two, in fact, fought to bring an end to the frequent and expensive acts of piracy conducted by the “Barbary states” (Morocco, Algiers, and Tripoli) against U.S. vessels.

The wars were the first wartime venture for the U.S. Navy under the newly-organized Department of the Navy (est. 1798), and ended the practice of paying tribute to local sultans to keep the pirates at bay.

2 comments:

Bill Kelly said...

Where are the Senators from New Jersey?
They are MIA.

Bill Kelly said...

No longer MIA. I want to thank New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez for not only supporting the Repatriation Amendment, but co-sponsoring it and signing the letter to the SASC Conference Committee requesting that it be kept as part of the 2012 Defense Authorization Act. Without your support it would not have gotten this far. Thank you. Bill Kelly