Posted by Curt on 12 October, 2015 at 11:30 am. Be the first to comment!


MaryBeth Glenn:

On October 12, 2000, the USS Cole was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden when it became victim to the deadliest attack against a U.S. naval vessel since the attack on USS Stark in 1987. A small boat loaded with explosives and two suicide bombers approached the port side before exploding, taking the lives of 17 sailors, and injuring 39 more, as they lined up for lunch in the ship’s galley. 15 years later, they are not forgotten.

To commemorate the anniversary, past and present crew members, family, friends, and civilians gathered at Naval Station Norfolk to remember the 17 heroes who lost their lives that day.


Almost a year after the attack, 9/11/01 would take place, and the rest of the nation would be awakened to the brutality of the same group who bombed the USS Cole. Al Qaeda was a threat to the United States long before they took thousands of lives in September 2001, and it would behoove us to remember that similar groups share their passionate hatred towards the people of our country.

To most of the country, the true meaning of the attack on Cole wouldn’t become apparent until Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists from the same group that struck DDG-67 flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon. But to the crew that deployed with Cole in the fall of 2000, the war started on Oct. 12, 2000. For many, the fight to heal — while still remembering their shipmates who passed — continues today.

The crew remained on the ship, in the stifling heat, for three weeks. They slept on deck above the grisly scene, and worked to save their ship.

Even as President Bill Clinton eulogized the dead at a ceremony in Norfolk Oct. 18, the crew was locked in a protracted battle to save the ship from sinking — a battle that would decide whether Cole would live to fight another day.

“Being surrounded by that … that death and that tragedy, was not a healthy thing,” Carlson said. “It was hard thing. So when we were inside — no light, no ventilation — it turned that ship into an oven. All the perishable stuff starts to smell.”

“I really want to think that was the majority of the odor was the food going over — there was lots of food down there. But it wasn’t just the smell of food.”

Many still barely find ways to cope with the trauma sustained upon the USS Cole.

“The experience, the enormity of what I saw, whenever I go back to think about what happened, I start to replay everything as if it’s in real time,” he said. “I think, OK this time if I go left, instead of right, or help this person instead of that person, maybe the outcome would change. That adrenaline and intensity — it’s as if no time has passed.”

After all this time the families of those lost, as well as the crew, keep in touch in order to offer comfort and encouragement.

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