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