Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Tripoli Port Explosion & American Suicide Bombers
This explosion at the port of Tripoli is said to have been an accident. The location is situated within a half mile of the Old Protestant Cemetery where five of the men of the USS Intrepid are buried. The Intrepid exploded in Tripoli harbor on September 4, 1804 killing Lt. Commander Richard Somers, Lt. Henry Wadsworth (uncle of Longfellow), Lt. Joseph Israel and ten volunteer seamen. Their remains were buried in two graves outside the walls of the old castle fort on what is now Martyr's Square by Dr. Jonathan Cowdery, chief surgeon of the captured frigate USS Philadelphia.
These US sailors, the Navy SEALS of their day, were on a special, suicide mission to destroy the anchored pirate fleet, but the Intrepid exploded prematurely, killing all 13 men.
In a sense they were American suicide bombers.