The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

AMVETS National Cmdr. Gary L. Fry decries failure of Congress, Sen. McCain, to repatriate first Navy combat casualties

Soon after his election as commander of America’s most inclusive major veterans service organization, AMVETS National Commander Gary L. Fry met with town leaders in Somers Point, N.J., and learned of the ongoing efforts to repatriate the town’s namesake, Master Commandant Richard Somers, and his 12 fellow sailors lost in 1804 during the First Barbary War.
The 13 men of the USS Intrepid, commandos and precursors to the modern Navy SEALs, were killed during a daring attempt to destroy the fleet in Tripoli Harbor. The following day, the remains of Somers and his crew were buried in four or five mass graves, which the Somers Point Historical Society has long maintained is an inappropriate final resting place for the Navy’s first combat casualties. U.S. Congressmen Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., and Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, agreed, and pushed for an inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) of a provision requiring the Department of Defense to repatriate the Sailors’ remains with stipulations. However, at the eleventh hour, Sen. John McCain changed the final language of the legislation in favor of a continuing review of the issue.
Cmdr. Fry called the setback an unacceptable failure of leadership. “As Americans, we have a fundamental responsibility to all our men and women in uniform to ensure they are properly accounted for,” said Fry. “I salute the Somers Point Historical Society, the Intrepid Project, and Congressmen LoBiondo and Rogers for honoring our Armed Forces’ ethos to never leave a comrade behind. AMVETS will continue to support them in this important fight.”
Fry also echoed the belief of the Somers Point Historical Society and the Intrepid Project, which has spearheaded the repatriation effort, that the recent political upheaval in Libya has created a window of opportunity, albeit a rapidly closing one, to recover the remains of the USS Intrepid Sailors.
“After more than 200 years of remaining vigilant, never have the families of Master Commandant Somers and his crew been so close to reaching a positive resolution in this matter,” said Fry. “Together with other leading veterans' advocates in Washington, D.C., AMVETS will remain committed to ensuring we do not lose the opportunity to bring these valiant warriors home to our shores where they belong.”
For more information about the efforts to repatriate Master Commandant Somers and his crew, visit the Intrepid Project blog here

A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veteran’s service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military including the National Guard and Reserves. For more information, visit 

No comments:

Post a Comment