On September 4, 2018, two hundred and fourteen years to the day Richard Somers died in the explosion of the USS Intrepid in Tripoli Harbor while fighting Barbary Pirates, the USS Somers Crewmembers Association dedicated a USS Somers Plaque at the US Naval Yard in Washington D.C.
Rear Admiral Frank Thorpe IV, President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Navy Memorial addressed the attendees, along with Master of Ceremonies Retired Commander Mike Newell, a former Communications and Navigation Officer and later Supply Officer for the USS Somers (DDG34).
"It was an extraordinary event," said Bob Plante, administrator of the association, "certainly a time that will be remembered by all attendees."
The plaque depicts the four USS Somers of modern times that served during World War II and Vietnam - DD 301-1920-1930, DD-381 1937-1945, DD-947 1959-1966, DDG-34 1968-1982.
There were two nineteenth century sailing ships named USS Somers, and the Crewmembers Association is working hard to get the Navy to name a new ship after Richard Somers, of Somers Point, NJ, one of the first midshipmen in the US Navy. Somers never returned from Tripoli, where he perished in the explosion of the USS Intrepid in Tripoli Harbor on September 4, 1804. His remains are believed to be entombed in a crypt in Old Protestant Cemetery at Tripoli Harbor, despite repeated requests for his repatriation by the Somers family, the citizens of Somers Point, the New Jersey State Legislature, the VFW, American Legion, AM-Vets. The USS Somers Crewmembers Association have added their voice to the choir calling for the repatriation of Somers and the men of the Intrepid.
Congress had previously inserted a requirement for their repatriation in a Defense Authorization Act, but it was removed and replaced with an order for a study of the feasibility of repatriation by Senator John McCain. Ironically, the 2019 Defense Authorization Act is named in John McCain's honor and he passed away a few days before the dedication of the USS Somers Plaque.
When McCain was asked why he blocked the repatriation of Somers and the men of the Intrepid he said that he didn't know the reason, he was only following the orders of the Admirals and Generals and top brass who have opposed repatriation, for their own reasons.
It has been suggested that now that McCain is gone, the repatriation could happen, and that remains a possibility.