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USS Cole Legion of Merit

The Secretary of the Navy

Washington D.C. 20350-1000

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit
(Gold Star in lieu of the Second Award) to

Commander Kirk S. Lippold

United States Navy

for service as set forth in the following


For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding achievement while serving as Commanding Officer of USS Cole (DDG-67) from 12 to 31 October 2000. Following a terrorist attack on 12 October 2000, Commander Lippold's clarity of thought and levelheaded demeanor provided focus to the crew in the chaotic aftermath of the attack. Uncertain of the danger topside and at great personal risk, he hastened to the scene of the attack to ascertain security requirements and direct emergency actions. After establishing a robust security perimeter, he proceeded to the Central Control Station to prioritize damage control measures. Commander Lippold confidently directed actions to prevent the ship from sinking, to contain thousands of gallons of leaking fuel oil, and to isolate damaged electrical distribution systems that threatened to set the ship ablaze. He courageously led his crew through more than 96 hours of sustained damage control efforts. Commander Lippold personally ensured the expeditious evacuation of 33 wounded Sailors and provided inspirational leadership in an extremely hostile environment. Concluding 19 days of work in extreme heat and unbearable stress, he proudly led his ship out of Aden, Yemen, and prepared it for transit back to the United States. By his outstanding leadership, commendable innovation, and inspiring dedication to duty, Commander Lippold reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

For the President,

//Gordon R. England//

Secretary of the Navy

Published: Fri Oct 02 12:35:47 EDT 2020