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