Title: United States Marine Corps Flag from USS Cole (DDG-67)
Accession #: NHHC 2001-90-4
Circa: 12 October 2000
Size: 48 x 72
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
On October 12, 2000, USS Cole made a routine stop in the port city of Aiden, Yemen to take on fuel. The ship had been moored to the refueling station for just under two hours when the crew began to gather near the galley in anticipation of lunch being served. The 1 Main Circuit, or ships loudspeaker, was heard to announce a call to pass trash over to a garbage scow that had pulled alongside the ship. At approximately 1115 a small boat, assumed at the time to be another garbage scow, pulled along the port side of USS Cole and detonated explosives. The blast ripped a forty by sixty foot hole through the hull and into the passageway and compartments near the galley.
Sailors promptly responded to damage control and casualty assistance. The Secretary of the Navy awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for exceptionally meritorious service in saving the ship and lives of crewmembers. Despite their best efforts, 17 sailors were killed and another 39 were injured.
This US Marine Corps flag was located on the ship’s quarterdeck during the attack. The fly end of the flag remains soot-stained from the explosion. There are some slight abrasions and tears throughout the piece.
The flag was transferred to Naval History and Heritage Command in 2001, along with several other objects while the ship was undergoing repairs in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The damaged and smoke scarred national ensign remains on board USS Cole, as a poignant reminder of that day.