Twelve years ago today, while crewmembers on board the USS Cole were lining up for chow, a small boat carrying some 1,000 pounds of explosives rammed the massive destroyer directly outside the galley. Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 others injured in the blast that left a 40 x 40 ft hole in the hull. The crew worked valiantly to save the ship. It first limped into Guantanamo Bay - where I later stood on the dock it pulled into -and then on to its shipyard for full repairs. President Bill Clinton vowed to hold the perps accountable. Of course, it was Al Qaeda (whose fellow travelers now teach their minions how to inflict civilian carnage). The ship's commander at the time of the attack, CDR Kirk S.Lippold, has written a thoughtful reflection for the U.S. Naval Institute blog. He writes, in part, While the 10th anniversary may be significant, for those us who saved a ship from sinking and worked tirelessly to prevent our shipmates from dying, every anniversary is just as important as the last.
I think I can speak for all who remember when I say, our spirits are sober this 12th of October.
The Navy has compiled a beautiful tribute video.