return of remains
(SOMERS POINT, NJ) - The descendants of 13 US Navy heroes buried on
"the shores of Tripoli" returned home from Washington satisfied with
the results of two days of back-to-back meetings on Capitol Hill
working closely with Senate staff and veterans service organizations
to bring their forebears home.
"All of us were humbled by the interest and attention we were granted
by senior staff representing 33 different US Senators across two very
long days," Connecticut State Rep. William Wadsworth said. "Almost all
of the meetings were positive and we were happy to see four Democratic
Senators signed on as co-sponsors of the bipartisan measure to bring
our heroes home."
Wadsworth is a descendant of Lt. Henry Wadsworth, second in command of
the USS Intrepid. Lt. Wadsworth and his crewmates were killed on an
1804 US Navy mission during the Barbary Wars. Their bodies washed
ashore and were dragged through the streets of Tripoli, fed to wild
dogs and dumped in mass graves. They are still buried there today.
Senate Amendment 1138 - which requires the Department of Defense to
repatriate the crew's remains - was called up today and now awaits a
vote in the US Senate. The US Navy opposes the repatriation of their
first combat heroes and is quietly asking Senators to reject the
"These sailors are heroes whose exploits are celebrated by the Navy
every day," Somers Point, NJ resident Dean Somers said. "I simply
cannot understand why the Navy opposes repatriation; we know exactly
where they are and the locals are supportive. Enough is enough - it's
time to bring our boys home."
Somers is a descendant of Master Commandant Richard Somers, the
commander of the USS Intrepid who led the heroic mission and was
killed defending our nation. The families of The Intrepid heroes have
asked the Department of Defense to right this wrong and bring the men
home for a proper and honorable burial. The Navy has refused for 207
In May, Rep. Frank LoBiondo and Rep. Mike Rogers attached an amendment
to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requiring
repatriation that passed unanimously in the House of Representatives.
A similar amendment to the NDAA was submitted this week by Republicans
Sen. Dean Heller, Sen. Scott Brown and Sen. John Boozman and gained
the co-sponsorship of Democrats Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Richard
Blumenthal, Sen. Robert Menendez, and former US Navy Secretary Sen.
The national Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion endorsed the
legislation requiring repatriation of the USS Intrepid sailors. The
two groups are actively lobbying Congress to pass the amendment and
bring The Intrepid heroes home.
For more information on The Intrepid Project please visit
*Sean P Eagan*
***Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars