The House of Representatives has passed a measure calling for the Defense Department to bring home the remains of 13 sailors buried in Tripoli more than 200 years ago.
The sailors were aboard the USS Intrepid, which exploded and sank in 1804 while on a mission during the First Barbary War. After washing ashore, their bodies were fed to dogs. What was left was unceremoniously buried, although most of the remains were transferred to a cemetery in Tripoli more than 100 years later.
The provision to bring them home is part of the latest National Defense Authorization Act, which still has to be passed by the Senate. It is unclear whether the measure will be part of the final version of the bill.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., introduced the bill, which would not take effect until after the current NATO campaign against Libya ends.
“Bringing the remains of those brave members of our military home and giving them a proper military funeral will finally end a tragic story that has lasted far too long,” Rogers said in a news release.
In a separate news release, a descendant of Intrepid Captain Richard Somers said his family was “delighted and encouraged” that the measure was included in the House version of the authorization act.
"We've still got a long way to go, but we're more and more hopeful every day," Dean Somers said in the news release.