U.S. Congress

After more than 200 years of internment on foreign soil and US government indifference, it's time for the American people to bring home 13 heroes from America's first foreign conflict, a fight that goes on to this day for freedom of the seas. In 1801, the United States went to war to stop pirate attacks on its ships in the Mediterranean.

The war went on for three years, when, on Sept. 4, 1804, Master Commandant Richard Somers and 12 others attempted to execute the second-ever commando raid on foreign soil. The raid ended in disaster as Somers' vessel, the first USS Intrepid in the US Navy, exploded, killing all on board. The bodies of Somers and his crew floated ashore the next day and remain buried in an unkempt cemetery and an unmarked common grave to this day in Tripoli.

Starting in 2006, the descendants of the sailors attempted to bring home the remains of these brave men. Our own government continues to thwart these efforts.

This MUST change.

We, the undersigned, believe the bodies of Richard Somers, Henry Wadsworth, Joseph Israel, Robert Clark, Isaac W. Downs, James Harris, William Harrison, William Keith, Hugh McCormick, Peter Penner, James Simms, Thomas Tompline and Jacob Williams deserve proper burial in the United States.

We call on the U.S. government to end its opposition to this effort and seek the immediate repatriation of the remains of the crew of the first USS Intrepid.

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