Tuesday, May 31, 2011

From the shores of Tripoli


I guess that it should have been done during WWII - but that is OK; better late than never. This is a good and right thing to bring these shipmates home. If the Libyan situation opens a door for a short period for us to do it - then by all means let's do it.
More than two centuries after they died off the coast of present-day Libya, the remains of the first 13 Navy commandos in U.S. history - in the words of one supporter, the “earliest Navy SEALs” - are one step closer to coming home.

The U.S. House of Representatives, brushing off prior opposition from Defense Department officials, voted last week to insist the Pentagon get them back.

House lawmakers attached the directive to the annual defense-policy bill that cleared the chamber on Thursday, with backers saying it was time to honor the daring men as fallen heroes.

“The United States has an obligation to leave no member of our military behind, regardless of how long ago they were killed,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican, who visited the grave sites in Libya in 2004 and co-sponsored the legislation with Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, New Jersey Republican. “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.”

The commandos were part of President Thomas Jefferson’s war against the Barbary pirates, who terrorized shipping off the coast of North Africa in the early 1800s. The commandos died while on a stealth mission to infiltrate Tripoli's harbor and sail a flaming ship into the enemy fleet that lay anchored there, trying to destroy it and force the release of U.S. sailors the pirates imprisoned on land.
First thing - I don't think it was wise to bring this public this early. Gadaffi loyalists may get ideas - as things can happen in that part of the world.
Their ship, the USS Intrepid, caught fire prematurely either by accident or because it was hit by a shot from the enemy, and all 13 men perished.

The commandos’ bodies were recovered by the residents of Tripoli.

According to accounts, the remains were fed to dogs, then the U.S. prisoners of war were forced to bury what was left.
One final note that was brought up by a colleague that is spot on; stop using the term SEAL when talking about these Sailors.

I'll let the hyperbole of the author of the article using the word "stealth" go by - but these Sailors are just that, "Sailors."

Before leaders were overtly risk adverse and hyper-focused on narrow specialization - and at a time when "battlemindedness" was assumed and "hybrid Sailor" made as much sense as "wet water" - such missions are what Sailors did when called on.


Throwing the SEAL term around does a disservice to today's SEALS, the Sailors from over two centuries ago - and for that matter all Sailors serving today.

A lot of people harumphed last decade at the concept of a "Naval Infantry Battalion" to help out in Iraq (it could have been useful for USN should have taken control of the Al-Faw/ Umm Qasar area with such, taking the BA/NMP from shore positions and civilian bloat, as we have had "Naval Infantry" within living memory - but such is life) - but for thousands of years Sailors have done such missions.

They didn't need a fancy title - funny little things to pin on their uniform or anything as patronizing as that - all they needed was a good officer to give them the best kit he could and say, "Follow me."

So, stop with the silly SEAL and commando references. These are Sailors - that should be good enough for us. It was good enough for them.

49 comments:

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

There are few statuses higher than Sailor, USN, it's right up there with U S Marine.

XBradTC said...

It wasn't all that long ago I was an avid reader of the "Landing Party Manual."

LT B said...

Aaaaah, not in the Global Force for Good though.  Sailors are touchy, feely, sensitive MOOTW entities.  They go ashore to deliver aid and good will!

sid said...

Back in the day...

Sailors performing their mission.

As for Naval Infantry...

A long and rich history...

Now largely ignored.

(I'm sure this one will be buried Stalin-like by the Diversity Bubbahs before too long)

sid said...

(for those who won't deign to open the links)

And for those who think that these newfangled "Influence Squadrons" are somehow, something new...

Sailors performed as infantry a lot: at least 66 landings and operations ashore on distant stations during the 19th century; 136 instances in the Caribbean and Central America during the first three decades of the 20th century; numerous times on China Station and elsewhere. Using sailors as infantry ashore was what the Navy’s primarily did during the Seminole Wars and the War with Mexico. It was the Navy’s most valuable contribution during the Philippine Insurrection. Operations ranged from election security, pacification, peacekeeping, land convoy escort, protection of roads and railroads, occupation, and guard duty to large-scale major combat operations against regular Army forces.

XBradTC said...

Soooo.... That first link?

The Safety Officer is gonna be ALL over them for not wearing their reflective safety belts.

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

Since it appears we will bringing all deployed forces home soon, let's do it on a "longest overseas first" basis.

Arlington seems about right, keep the crew together, and a provide monument at least as good as the ones the Army nurses in Cuba got. You know, the ones who volunteered to prove the mosquito vector for the spread of yellow fever, and did, at the cost of their lives.

The topmost word on the stone should be the ship's name. 



 Eventually, we should get around to the Marines buried with their helmets on, now under the town dump on Tarawa.

Mike M. said...

I've long maintained that helping the Army ashore in iraq and Afghanistan was OK...but the business of parceling Navy personnel out as IAs was a wretched, pernicious practice that robs the Navy of all honor and credit.

A proper Naval Brigade should have been formed.

MTM said...

Unfortunately, our CJCS and CNO do not want to bring them back. Just another example of failed leadership.

Marine6 said...

Say what?

Squidly said...

If not a VA cemetary overseas, then why are we leaving these fallen heroes in foreign lands?  Was one thing when we had the likes of Wheelus AFB and there was (hopefully) someone detailed to maintain this hallowed plots, but another thing now... How is this different from the work that JTF-FA does?

Bring them home.

CDR Salamander said...

Awwww, come on.  Can you at least put us above "Airman?"  O:-)

Old Farter said...

There is an American cemetary in Tunisia.

http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/na.php

Bubba Bob said...

 I always thought the abbreviation for naval infantry was USMC.

LT B said...

Airman, the most patriotic civilians I know!!!

CDR Salamander said...

Only ot those who do not read history.

leesea said...

There ARE navy commands trained as naval infantry at LeJuene's School of Infantry, they are RivRons One and Two.

And while not striclty conducting infantry ops, the Riverines surely were properly used in Iraq.  They will also be used in other countries rivers and soil.

Anonymous said...

Well said Sir, very well said.

murphy said...

...Congressmen running around saying "earliest SEALs"...?

Just proves 99% of the US House are clueless Morons, Idiots and Criminals who are wannabe Senators :-E

Anonymous said...

beat me to it, CDR.

Salty Gator said...

not all of RIVRON's sailors attend SOI anymore. Similarly, there was another initiative during the founding of NECC to send some of the younger petty officers, chiefs and junior officers to RANGER; however that has totally gone away as well.  NECC was supposed to be Naval Infantry, but quickly devolved into the customs / coastal warfare / catch-all mucus membrane that it is today.

Salty Gator said...

Naval Infantry..........well, in keeping with the War of 1812 centennial furthcoming, and to throw a little Fullbore into our wednesday, let's reflect on the battle of Bladensburg, shall we?  Commodore Barney, his Sailors and Marines, making a heroic defense of Washington while the Army and Militia were "off to the races."

The effort ultimately failed, but these fine men made a name for the Naval Infantry that should never be forgotten.

Outlaw Mike said...

<span>'First thing - I don't think it was wise to bring this public this early. Gadaffi loyalists may get ideas - as things can happen in that part of the world.'</span>
<span></span>
<span>You got THAT one right. Muslims already have utter contempt for live infidels, and they would literally crap on dead ones, if they could. Just look at what has become of British cemeteries in Iraq, or Jewish cemeteries in the mahgreb.</span>

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

Ahem.  An Airman is a nonrated sailor in training for an aviation rating who works (or should work) within Naval Aviation. They are subdivided into 3 categories, Recruit, Apprentice, and the full grown Airman.  When sufficiently trained to perform the duties of an enlisted aviation rate with basic competence he becomes a striker and is referred to by the specialty as well, to wit, Aviation Bosun's Mate Airman.

Enlisted persons in the AF are almost all Sergeants, for some reason. The lowliest enlisted outside of recruit training in the AF are referred to (I think) as "Airmen Second Class", but I may be out of date on that, I confess I do not keep up with matters AF, in general. I do not believe that a second class airman is a Sergeant in Air Force parlance.  There are many titles, formal and informal, for AF enlisted personnel but one is generally not rude if using the title Sergeant.

 No sailor is a second class Airman. QED.  But we all knew that.

As for the AF, it remains a puzzle wrapped in an enigma whose purpose and output, when self described, use words which I am not sure mean what AF seems to think they mean. They sometimes offer free rides on airplanes to sailors on leave I am told, and I have universally been advised to avoid the hard boiled eggs in the box lunches somtimes provided on such flights.

If encountered on a navy ship, an AF person is best considered lost and in need of a guide. Explaining compartment numbers does not seem to help them, and directions (port, starboard, forward, aft) seems to puzzle them.

AF bases are generally well paved, and often have very pretty flower beds and well tended lawns, unlike Navy Bases (see also: "abomination of desolation/pier parking").

Grumpy Old Ham said...

Grandpa B,

As (apparently) the last resident USAF puke here, let me help you out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Air_Force_enlisted_rank_insignia

You are correct from a historical basis -- there used to be Airmen Third Class, Airmen Second Class, and Airmen First Class.  A very early version of the Diversity Mafia declared that the terms "Second Class" and "Third Class" were somehow demeaning, and replaced those rank titles with "Airman Basic" and "Airman", leaving only "Airman First Class" as a now unique oddity in the rank title structure.

Personally, I don't think the USAF should have done away with the distinction of E-4 Sergeants with NCO authority.  You can thank the Front Porch's favorite CSAF, Gen Skeletor McPeak, for that one.

FWIW, when I toured a carrier in Norfolk many moons ago, the directional names did not confuse me too much but your compartment numbering system did have me scratching my head a little.  :)

Over the past 5 years or so, there has been a trend, possibly prompted by some unofficial or official style guide, to refer to all USAF personnel in written documents as "Airmen" with a capital "A".  IMNSHO this is simply a cheap attempt to assert without proof that USAF personnel have the same bonds and esprit de corps as Marines.  Heck, even the Army is getting in on that with their incessant use of "Soldiers".  Pretty pathetic in both cases.

DeltaBravo said...

Add to that the Italian cemetery in Somalia... not to mention what they do to MUSLIM cemeteries of other sects.  They're like jackals. 

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Likewise, if encountered on a Navy ship, a Marine is best considered to be embarked, or he is trying to steal something.  Or both.  Two responses are appropriate. 

1.)  "The chow line is open."

or

2.)  "Shouldn't you be lifting/sleeping?"

Anonymous said...

Greetings:

And John Wayne's "Fighting SeaBees", too.  Men with little guns count too.

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

I suspected something like that had been perpetrated, since the three stripers changed from airman first class to sergeant somehow (if memory serves). Much of my brain housing group's contents is now not so long term stowage for information chiefly useful "on a historical basis". Thanks for the correction.

Wasn't McP King of the one engine one crewmember only crowd, and didn't he try to shift to some cross between a pan am and a new coast guard uniform?

As for titles, I still think wearing "pinks" with round shoulder patches, and being proud  soldiers in the world's greatest army might be a truly bracing simplification and efficiency measure for the USAAF in exile (if and only if big Army sends a card "Come home, all is forgiven"), as long as the Nav gets NATS back. Keep the enlisted sleeve rank insignia design, 9 stripes is just too cool for the redoubtable Chief Master Sgts.
I only mention this to add my small part to balance in interservice unsolicited advice. ;)

The tulip beds really are very pretty. 

MR T's Haircut said...

Hell it could have been done when Wheelus was still in our control and Khadaffi was a Corporal!

MR T's Haircut said...

Might want to read up on the term.. not Marines...

Grandpa Bluewater. said...

URR:   On ships so equipped, the Barbershop and gedunk are other favorite locations for Marines, and spitshining shoes and fixtures in the marine head are other favorite (and approved) activities. Cleaning weapons is of course an involuntary bodily function and not to be commented upon.

The standard assumption is that attempted theft is either in planning or progress at all times. Stencilling equipment and caught in the act are terms with the same definition, however this is normally equally true of sailors in different departments of amphibious ships, in my limited experience

Embarked Marines are not usually fully awake unless preparing to assault something off the ship, or when a heist is in progress.  

Always happy to have all y'all embarked, in my day at least.

Squidly said...

And a particular Rep from the Bronx who allegedly sends out questionable pics...

Anonymous said...

There's also no dairy on the paleo diet, you may need to supplement if you stop eating processed foods. That means that bacon, sausage as well as other compounds that can lead to weight gain, and risk of numerous chronic diseases in my published research article # 24. If you answered yes to any of the Black Berry user base, according to Robb Wolf, biochemist and author of" The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf.

Here is my website how to lose weight

Anonymous said...

Hі thеre, juѕt beсame alеrt to уour blog through
Gοogle, аnԁ found that it's truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

My web page ... fast payday loans

Anonymous said...


Just desired to say I'm ecstatic I happened upon your web site!

Anonymous said...


What's up, nice web page you've got at this time there.

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much! It is an superb internet site.

Anonymous said...


Your posts is extremely important.

Anonymous said...


Merely wanted to point out Now i am glad I came onto your website!

Anonymous said...


You have terrific info at this point.

Anonymous said...


Good website you have got going here.

Anonymous said...


I love the info on your web site. Regards.

Anonymous said...


You've got good knowlwdge on this web-site.

Anonymous said...


Thanks pertaining to offering this type of good articles.


http://www.notebookchek.pl/zlewozmywaki-2.html

Anonymous said...


Great page, Continue the useful job. Many thanks.

http://www.noclegi-polski.pl/katalog/dom/kuchnia/zlewy-kuchenne.html

Anonymous said...

additional reading tramadol online overnight no prescription - take tramadol high

Anonymous said...

finasteride 5mg propecia over 40 - how do i buy propecia pills

Anonymous said...

The LT automatic would be the better option which comes
at a dealer's price of $13, 754. 0 went in the S2 model and with 211bhp these florida used cars don't hang about.
Just keep in mind the service cost of transferring data
to the data center for accessibility.

my webpage used car dealerships in orlando fl (http://margoabney.edublogs.org)