Sunday, December 25, 2011

20 Years Later, and Still Waiting for a Cold War Medal

20 years ago the Soviet Union collapsed, bringing and end to the Cold War.

It was a horrific era, 45 years long; with millions of people killed and injured. The Communist
rule was brutal and total, people living in fear and poverty; with no hope for anything better.

But beginning in 1990 an uprising began as the nations under the Soviet rule began to protest
and attempt to break away, and trying to find peace and freedom.

Slow and sure the search for truth and freedom spread throughout the Soviet Union, mass protests
in the satellite countries brought further dissent and disillusion with the ruling from the Kremlin.

The countries of the free world that had continued the long struggle to contain and defeat Communism,
with the loss of many lives, were justified at long last. One of the highlights of this was the fall of
the Berlin Wall on November 9th, 1989 and signified the beginning of the end.

Thus on Dec. 25, 1991 Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as ruler of the USSR declaring the office
extinct. All power was given to President Boris Yeltsin.

So the end of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and twenty years later Cold Warriors
are still waiting for recognition.

Just a small medal, and then a Cold War Memorial to be erected in our nation's capitol as a
way to remember and honor those who served with pride, honor and distinction to keep the
world free.

We will not give up until Cold War Veterans can say with pride: Yes I was there. There is still
a slight hope for this year, contact both of your Senators ask them to cosponsor S.402 The Cold
War Service Medal Act of 2011, and to have it brought to the full Senate floor for a vote.
Ask your Congressman/woman to cosponsor H.R. 1968, a sister bill with the same name; and
ask that it be brought to the full House floor for a vote.

We need your help to end our 20 year quest.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember:

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

USS Intrepid Sailors Remain May Soon Come Home-NDAA 2012

As a followup to a previous post concerning the USS Intrepid sailors buried in Tripoli.

The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act FY 2012, while dismissing and forgetting Cold War Veterans once again. By removing SEC. 581 of the Senate version of the NDAA. It seems that the continued refusal to honor these veterans is akin to saying that there was no Cold War.

There was one very important provision in the bill that should be applauded. Thanks to the hard
effort and pressure by two Congressmen some of our heroes may be returning home.

Congressmen Frank Lobiondo (R-NJ-02) and Mike Rogers (R-MI-08) insisted that we never forget
those left behind in foreign lands.

Their provision orders the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Navy to at last begin the
process of returning the remains of 13 brave and dedicated sailors home where they belong.

The NDAA 2012 as passed requires that in no more than 270 days the Department of Defense (DOD)
and the Department of the Navy report back to Congress regarding the feasibility of recovering
the lost commandos.

It will not be an easy task, things that must be taken in consideration include the costs of the
operation, the facts about the incident, historical information and precedent for retrieval. The
report must also include any diplomatic and political issues that will have to be discussed
between the United States and Libya before the bodies can be exhumed. DOD will also be
required to identify Commander Richard Somers, the Commanding Officer and his 12
crew members within two years.

The Navy has resisted efforts in the past to have these heroes repatriated, saying that Tripoli
is the final resting place of the men of the Intrepid and the graves are honored and maintained.

The group that has been leading the charge to have the remains returned claims that the
graves are in danger of falling into the sea.

The Intrepid was in Tripoli harbor attempting to sink some of the pirate ships that were creating
havoc by attacking American shipping. An explosion took place aboard the ship killing all
13 commando aboard, and sinking the ship.

The bodies washed ashore and according to reports were buried in two mass graves, one with
the bodies of three officers and the other contained the crew. Markers placed on the graves were
removed as being an affront to the people of Libya.

Much more information on the long and difficult struggle to have these brave men repatriated
can be found on the website for Remember the Intrepid, and its founder William Kelly, which
can be found at Remember the Intrepid

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996

Thursday, December 15, 2011

U.S. Ends Mission To Iraq

In a small ceremony today the U.S. mission to Iraq finally came to an end. It was a war that cost
almost 4.5000 American lives and billions of dollars.

The Commander of U.S. forces in Iraq furled his flag during the short ceremony, which signified
the end of his command. The ceremony was attended by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Pannetta,
Army General Martin Dempsey-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Ambassador
James Jeffery.

The last 4,000 troops will depart by this weekend, fulfilling a promise by President Obama to
withdraw all American soldiers by years end.

The U.S. diplomatic mission will still contain about 200 U.S. military personnel to oversee
arms sales and other military exchanges for a while longer.

We wish the nation of Iraq all the best in the coming years. It will not be an easy task, and they
will face huge tasks and challenges. There will be terrorists and others who will seek to destroy
the new government. There is also the likelihood of renewed ethnic and sectarian struggles and
more violence. Plus the fact that Iran is sure to assert more influence in the region is sure to create
more problems for Iraq.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember" 

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Repatriate Intrepid Sailors Remains Now

In 1804 the USS Intrepid was on a mission to destroy pirate ships in the harbor at Tripoli that
were attacking U.S. merchant ships.

During the attempt all 13 men aboard the Intrepid were killed, and their bodies washed ashore.

They are buried in Tripoli's Protestant Cemetery, which Chief of Naval Operations
Adm. Jonathan Greenert considers their final resting place. A navy spokesman, Lt. Cmdr.
Alana Garas said "Navy custom and tradition is to honor the final resting place of those
lost in ships and downed aircraft."

 An amendment to the NDAA 2012  introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dean Heller failed final
passage. Heller was disappointed that his amendment  failed but that he "is committed to
making sure these fallen sailors receive the recognition they deserve and (I) will continue
working with my colleagues until this legislation becomes law."

Sources say that Sen. John McCain the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee blocked the amendment from becoming a part of final bill.

McCain's office would only state that he is "still reviewing" the issue, but a source in his
office noted the Navy's objections.

So it appears that the Navy and Sen. McCain do not believe in the saying "No Man
Left Behind." Which is a long standing tradition in the US Military.

The head of the nonprofit Intrepid Project is leading the attempt to repatriate the remains,
Michael Caputo said "That the cemetery is not well cared for, is in a country that has
been hostile to the United States for decades, and has graves that are dissipated and in some
cases unmarked." He went on to say "the grave sites are squalid, unkempt and at risk
of falling into the sea."

Congressman Mike Rogers R-Mich., who in a 2004 visit to Tripoli learned of the remains
of the Intrepid sailors introduced a bill this year to repatriate the remains.

Rogers bill passed the House said that even though the Navy wants to leave the remains where
they are, and considers the graves in Tripoli a final resting place, "our country should never
leave a fellow American in uniform behind."

The amendment is now out of the Senate version of the NDAA, but it is still in the House version.
The Senate voted final passage of S.1836 the National Defense Authorization Act FY2012
last week.

So now the House/Senate conference committee members will have to debate this issue and
hopefully reach a conclusion that the remains of these brave men must be repatriated.

The US Navy should reconsider their stand, and bring home the remains to give
closure to the families of those who are left behind.

Contact your elected officials tell them that more than 200 years is much too long. Bring home
our heroes.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996