The guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) crew, families and guests gathered together at Naval Station Norfolk to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the ship’s bombing, with a wreath-laying and “Roll Call of Heroes,” Oct. 12.
The remembrance ceremony honored and celebrated the 17 shipmates who perished in the attack, as well as the resolve and warfighting attitude the “Mighty Cole” continues to embrace.
(On this day in 2000, the USS Cole is attacked by terrorist while refueling at Aden, Yemen. The Cole was struck on the port side by a small rubber dinghy loaded with explosives, blowing a 40 by 40 foot hole in the vessel. Courtesy of We Are The Mighty and YouTube)
Deployed to the Middle East, on this day in 2000, Cole stopped briefly for refueling in the port of Aden, Yemen.
At approximately 11:18 a.m., unknown to Cole security, a small boat with terrorists aboard came alongside the ship. Suddenly, a highly explosive bomb detonated alongside Cole.
The explosion was so massive, it crumbled a 40-by-60 foot hole on the port side of the ship, taking the lives of 17 Sailors and injuring 39 others.
Cole’s Sailors courageously fought fires and flooding for the following 96 hours to keep the ship afloat.
(Store Keep Chief Petty Officer Sean Taitt relates his experience on USS Cole (DDG 67) when it was attacked in Aden, Yemen on 12 October, 2000. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy and YouTube)
Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic Rear Adm. Jesse A. Wilson Jr., provided the keynote address.
“The memories of that day are unforgettable…as we pause to honor our lost shipmates and celebrate the lives they lived, let us also remember who they were,” said Wilson.
“They were parents, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.”
“They were United States Navy Sailors, forward deployed, who volunteered to serve our nation and defend our freedoms when they were attacked.”
“It is that service and their sacrifice, that we honor here today.”
These are the names of those killed in the attack 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
(Friends and family along with service members both past and present will gather at the USS Cole Memorial at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Oct. 12, in remembrance of the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) attack. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy and YouTube)
The Cole’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. David P. Wroe, also provided remarks.
“Cole is a very special ship, we serve every day in honor of our predecessors who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” said Wroe.
“On this day, we take a moment to briefly reflect on the Sailors who valiantly fought to save Cole.”
“Their sacrifices will forever be honored.”
“The spirit, honor and courage represented by the Cole heroes lives on in our Navy core values and in our determination to defend our great nation,” said Wilson.
For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/surflant/.