On the morning of October 12, 2000, the USS Cole was docked in Yemen’s Aden harbor. Just before noon that day as the ship was refueling in the port, a small boat carrying two suicide bombers pulled along the Cole’s port side and detonated hundreds of pounds of explosives. The blast tore a hole 40 x 60 ft. in the ship’s hull. Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 more were injured in the attack.
This was one of our nation’s first encounters with Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network al-Qaeda. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the last. However, as a testament to American fortitude and perseverance, the near-crippling attack did not take down the USS Cole. It was towed back to the United States for repairs in Mississippi.
It quietly re-entered the water on September 14, 2001, just days after the September 11th attacks and it remains in service today.
Unfortunately, the more things change the more they stay the same. Earlier today, on the 16th Anniversary of the Attack on the USS Cole, a missile was fired at another US ship off the coast of Yemen. Thankfully the attack failed.
We would like to recognize the seventeen sailors that lost their lives on the USS Cole:
Chief Petty Officer Richard Costelow, Morrisville, Pennsylvania.
Signalman Seaman Recruit Cheron Luis Gunn, Rex, Georgia.
Seaman James Rodrick McDaniels, Norfolk, Virginia.
Seaman Recruit Lakiba Nicole Palmer, San Diego, California.
Operations Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Lamont Saunders, Ringgold, Virginia.
Ensign Andrew Triplett, Macon, Mississippi.
Seaman Apprentice Craig Bryan Wibberley, Williamsport, Maryland.
Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class, Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter, Mechanicsville, Virginia.
Mess Management Specialist Seaman Lakeina Monique Francis, Woodleaf, North Carolina.
Information Systems Technician Seaman Timothy Lee Gauna, Rice, Texas
Engineman 2nd Class Mark Ian Nieto, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Electronics Warfare Technician 3rd Class Ronald Scott Owens, Vero Beach, Florida.
Engineman Fireman Joshua Langdon Parlett, Churchville, Maryland.
Fireman Apprentice Patrick Howard Roy, Cornwall on Hudson, New York.
Electronics Warfare Technician 2nd Class Kevin Shawn Rux, Portland, North Dakota.
Mess Management Specialist 3rd Class Ronchester Mananga Santiago, Kingsville, Texas
Fireman Gary Graham Swenchonis Jr., Rockport, Texas