USS Cole (DDG-67)
USS Cole (DDG-67) was laid down on 28 February 1994 at Pascagoula, MS, by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Litton Industries; launched on 10 January 1995; sponsored by Mrs. Lee Perry, wife of Secretary of Defense William J. Perry; and commissioned on 8 June 1996 at Port Everglades, FL, Commander M. Stewart O'Bryan in command.
On 8 August 2000, with Kirk S. Lippold in command, Cole was deployed with guided missile frigate Simpson (FFG-56) and Military Sealift Command (MSC)-manned oiler USNS John Lenthall (T-AO-189) from Norfolk to the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean. On 12 October, while Cole refueled at Aden, Yemen, two al-Qaeda terrorists brought an inflatable Zodiac-type speedboat that carried a bomb alongside the destroyer, port side amidships, and detonated their lethal cargo. The explosion blew a 40-foot wide hole in Cole, but the crew’s valiant damage control efforts saved her.
The attack killed 17 Sailors: 31-year-old Lt. j.g. Andrew Triplett; 35-year-old ETC Richard D. Costelow; 30-year-old EW1 Kevin S. Rux; 21-year-old HT2 Kenneth E. Clodfelter; 24-year-old EN2 Mark I. Nieto; 24-year-old EW2 Ronald S. Owens; 32-year-old OS2 Timothy L. Saunders; 22-year-old MS3 Ronchester M. Santiago; 19-year-old MSSN Lakeina M. Francis; 21-year-old ISSN Timothy L. Gauna; 22-year-old SMSN Cherone L. Gunn; 19-year-old ISSN James R. McDaniels; 22-year-old SN Lakiba N. Palmer; 19-year-old ENFN Joshua L. Parlett; 19-year-old FN Patrick H. Roy; 26-year-old FN Gary Swenchonis Jr.; and 19-year-old SN Craig B. Wibberley. In addition, 37 of their shipmates sustained wounds.
The ships that supported Cole during Operation Determined Response from 12-31 October 2000 included: amphibious assault ship Tarawa (LHA-1); dock landing ship Anchorage (LSD-36); amphibious transport dock Duluth (LPD-6); guided missile destroyer Donald Cook (DDG-75); guided missile frigate Hawes (FFG-53); and Military Sealift Command (MSC)-manned tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF-168); along with Marines of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), and British frigates Cumberland (F.85) and Marlborough (F.233).
Cole carried out emergent repairs and on 29 October stood out of Aden. The following day, MSC-manned heavy lift vessel Blue Marlin loaded the destroyer on board and sailed her to Pascagoula for extensive repairs, reaching that port on 13 December. Cole’s crewmembers were flown to Rhein-Main AFB Germany, and from there to Norfolk, VA. Cole’s Sailors then completed convalescent leave through 1 December, and the ship returned to the water on Christmas Eve and continued repairs and maintenance into 2001. On 12 October 2001, the USS Cole (DDG-67) Memorial was dedicated at Naval Station Norfolk to honor the memory of the victims. The Navy subsequently enhanced global force protection training during crucial transits, and Sailors qualified to fire M60 and Browning M2 .50 caliber machine guns to defend against assaults by low-slow flying aircraft and small boats.
USS Cole Memorial at Naval Station Norfolk
USS Cole In Memoriam—Honoring Those Lost
USS Cole Memorial Dedication
At 1118 on the morning of 12 October 2000, as USS Cole (DDG-67) was refueling in Aden Harbor, Yemen, suicide bombers detonated an explosive-laden boat directly against the port side of the ship. The resulting blast killed 17 Sailors, wounded 37 others, and tore a hold forty by sixty feet in the ship’s hull. In the aftermath of the explosion, the crew of USS Cole fought tirelessly to free shipmates trapped by the twisted wreckage and limit flooding that threatened to sink the ship. The crew’s prompt actions to isolate damaged electrical systems and contain fuel oil ruptures prevented catastrophic fires that could have engulfed the ship and cost the lives of countless men and women. Skillful first aid and advanced medical treatment applied by the crew prevented additional death and eased the suffering of many others. Drawing upon their Navy training and discipline, the crew heroically conducted more than 96 hours of sustained damage control in conditions of extreme heat and stress. Deprived of sleep, food, and shelter, they vigilantly battled to preserve a secure perimeter and restore stability to engineering systems that were vital to the ship’s survival. By their sacrifice and bravery in the fact of daunting adversity, the crew of USS Cole personified Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
Published figures for the number of Sailors injured in the USS Cole explosion range from 37 to 47—the official number is 37. Discrepancies among the numbers reflect inclusion of evacuated Sailors whose conditions were not a direct result of the explosion and/or those whose injuries did not meet the threshold for award of the Purple Heart.
USS Cole Infographic
USS Cole Artifacts
- United States Navy Flag from USS Cole (DDG-67)
- United States Marine Corps Flag from USS Cole (DDG-67)
- Mess Management Specialist T-Shirt from USS Cole (DDG-67)
- Mess Deck Tray from USS Cole (DDG-67)
- Memorial Dedication Program (3.4 MB pdf download)
- Senate Resolution USS Cole (DDG-67)
- Navy Unit Commendation (13 KB pdf)
- Investigating Officer’s Report (14 MB pdf)
- US Special Operations Forces (SOF): Congressional Research Service Report for Congress
- Terrorist Attack on USS Cole: Background and Issues for Congress
- USS Cole Command Operations Reports
- Sergeant Darrell Samuel Cole, USMCR
- H-055-3: Attack on USS Cole (DDG-67) – October 2000, by Samuel J. Cox, Director NHHC
- USS Cole (DDG-67) Commissioning (1996) ─ Part 1
- USS Cole (DDG-67) Commissioning (1996) ─ Part 2
- Attack on USS Cole (DDG 67) ─ Firsthand account by Chief Petty Officer Sean Taitt
- President Clinton Addressing the Press on the USS Cole Attack
- USS Cole (DDG-67) Crew Served Weapons Shoot
Starboard bow view of the U.S. Navy (USN) Arleigh Burke-class (FLIGHT I) guided missile destroyer (AEGIS), USS Cole (DDG-67), underway off the coast of Puerto Rico conducting Combat System Ship Qualification Trials with Naval Sea System Command (NAVSEA). (National Archives photo 6640522)
USS Cole (DDG-67) being towed from the Aden harbor, Yemen. (National Archives photo 6612203)
Commander Kirk Lippold, USS Cole (DDG-67). aboard Cole following the October 12th terrorist attack on the ship while refueling in Aden, Yemen. (National Archives photo 6611612)
Former crew members of the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole embrace before the beginning of the tenth anniversary remembrance ceremony of the terrorist attack on Cole. The Norfolk-based ship was damaged by a suicide bombing while refueling in the Port of Aden in Yemen, killing 17 and wounding 39 Sailors. Cole returned to the fleet in 2002 and has deployed four times since the attack. (Photo by Lt.j.g. Michael Eric Quisao)
Members of a Navy honor guard from the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole practice rendering colors before a memorial service at the USS Cole Memorial at Naval Station Norfolk. The Norfolk-based ship was damaged by a suicide bombing while refueling in the Port of Aden in Yemen, killing 17 and wounding 39 Sailors. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Julie Matyascik)
USS Cole is lifted by MV Blue Marlin, a Norwegian dry dock vessel, off the coast of Aden, Yemen on October 31, 2000. The American destroyer was bombed by suspected terrorists in the port of Aden, Yemen, October 12. Blue Marlin will transport the damaged warship back to the United States. (National Archives photo 6610002)
The crew of the Arleigh Burke-class USS Cole (DDG-67), escort their wounded ship aboard Navy tug vessel, USNS Catawba, to a staging point in the Yemeni harbor of Aden awaiting transportation by the Norwegian-owned semi-submersible heavy lift ship MV Blue Marlin back to their homeport, during Operation Determined Response, on October 29, 2000. (National Archives photo 6610001)
Master Chief Hospital Corpsman (HMMC) James Parlier, USS Cole (DDG-67), Aden, Yemen. (National Archives photo 6611611)
Cmdr. Mikal Phillips, USS Mason (DDG-87) commanding officer, and retired Command Master Chief James Parlier place a wreath at the Cole Memorial during USS Cole (DDG-67) commemoration at Naval Station Norfolk. Phillips was the fire control officer and Parlier was the CMC aboard during the attack. More than 150 former and current crew members, along with relatives, family members and naval officials, gathered together to pay tribute to the 17 Sailors killed and 39 wounded in the attack on the ship 14 years ago.(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber O'Donovan/Released)