The Intrepid Project's David Bellavia with a Veteran's Day message
November 10, 2011
Dear Sean Eagan:
I am writing to wish you a happy Veterans Day - and to ask you for help bringing some long lost combat veterans home.
Thirteen US Navy heroes were killed in battle in Tripoli. The dictator who ruled Libya dragged their lifeless bodies through the streets, fed their mangled remains to wild dogs and then dumped them into mass graves.
They still lie there today, dishonored on the shores of Tripoli. Now you have a chance to bring these combat heroes home to their families and the country they died to defend.
That's why I'm contacting you today - we need your financial support to bring them home.
United States Navy Master Commandant Richard Somers was one of the first officers to enlist in the new United States Navy at the turn of the 19th Century. The young officer and his men fought gallantly in America's first naval war against the States of North Africa. He died with his 12-man crew of the USS Intrepid on September 4, 1804 while engaged in a secret mission during the Battle of Tripoli.
When their bodies washed ashore they endured the worst dishonor an enemy could inflict.
For more than 200 years, the families of Richard Somers and his second in command, Lt. Henry Wadsworth, have wanted their forbears home. Washington rejected them every time they begged for repatriation. Every time, there was a reason not to do it. Every time, there was an excuse. Now there are none.
Tripoli: deplorable condition of US Navy heroes' mass graves
Today, those families have hope. With the death of dictator Muamar Gadhaffi, there is a window of opportunity to exhume, repatriate and bury these men with the honor and dignity they earned long ago. At long last, patriotic members of the US Congress are standing up for our lost heroes.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) attached an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and steered it through unanimous bipartisan approval in the House of Representatives. Now, the heroes of the USS Intrepid await US Senate approval and we expect them to act on it this month.
Unfortunately, we're finding real resistance in the US Senate. A small number of Senators just don't think it is necessary to bring these heroes home.
Leave them in the mass graves, some say - it's too expensive. In fact, bringing these sailors home adds nothing to the US budget.
A few even say they're worried this will lead to more requests to bring home lost heroes. As if bringing home our fallen heroes is just too much trouble.
And if these few Senators get their way, the heroes of the USS Intrepid will lie forever in dishonor on foreign soil. We can't let that happen. We need to tell them why this is important and we need your help.
That's why I'm emailing you today. As the volunteer veterans coordinator of the Intrepid Project in cooperation with the Warrior Legacy Foundation, I am working to educate Congressional leaders about this important bill. We're also helping organize the repatriation, identification and proper burial of these American heroes.
The Intrepid Project has done this work for six years with absolutely no financial backing. We've come a long way, but now we need your help to bring our boys home. Please take a moment to click HERE and donate just $10, $25 or $50 to support this patriotic project.
These are tough economic times, but these heroes have been buried in mass graves in enemy territory for far, far too long. Even a small donation will help bring them home to their families and our grateful nation.
If you are financially secure and can donate even more - $100, $500 or even $1000 - please take a moment and click HERE to support our educational work with Congress and the repatriation, identification and proper burial of these American heroes. All contributions are tax deductible.
When my squad and I fought in Fallujah, we drew added courage in combat from knowing our nation leaves no man behind. I know you counted on that pledge of honor, too, as you volunteered to defend our great nation.
Today we need your financial support to assure the US Congress renews that pledge, restores honor to these fallen heroes and brings them home from the "Shores of Tripoli."
David Bellavia Staff Sergeant, US Army 1st Infantry Division 1999-2005 Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal of Honor nominee
PS: Like you, I was shocked to learn our first Navy commandos are still lying in mass graves on foreign soil. I couldn't believe it! I wouldn't write you this email if your support wasn't absolutely necessary to bring these heroes home. Please take a moment to click HERE and donate whatever you can afford to support this important project. Remember - your donation is tax deductible!
The Intrepid Project 12864 Biscayne Blvd, #332 North Miami, FL 33181