Senate mulls returning remains of USS Intrepid crew

House passes measure to repatriate remains of sailors buried in Tripoli
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A copy of an engraving of the destruction of the Fire Ship Intrepid.

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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.

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