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VETERAN OF FOREIGN WARS

THE USS COLE

Home
THE CROSS OF MALTA
MEMORIAL DAY...
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
"LEAST WE FORGET"
THE EVIL AXIS
THE FORGOTTEN WAR
THE VIET NAM WAR
THE CAMPAIGNS
THE BALKINS
THE GULF WAR DESERT STORM
THE USS COLE
SOMALIA
AFGHANISTAN
IRAQI FREEDOM
GREAT LINKS
GREAT LINKS II

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"If, as it now appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act. We will find out who was responsible and hold them accountable. If their intention was to deter us from our mission of promoting peace and security in the Middle East, they will fail utterly. The alternative to the peace process is now no longer merely hypothetical. It is unfolding today before our very eyes," Clinton said.

Those who perpetrated this act of terror should also never forget that America's memory is long and our reach longer."

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Attack on the USS Cole

(October 12, 2000)

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At 11:18 on the morning of October 12, 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 hole forty by sixty feet in the ship's hull.

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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 their 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. The crew 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 The ship was part of the USS George Washington Battle Group, and was in transit from the Red Sea to a port visit in Bahrain when the ship stopped in Aden for routine refueling. The destroyer departed Norfolk for its deployment Aug. 8, 2000, and was scheduled to return home Dec

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While the ship was refuelling offshore, a small craft with two men on board - presumed to be suicide bombers - approached the ship and exploded. The small boat is believed to have been packed with 400-700 pounds of explosives, and the blast blew a 40-foot hole in the side of the USS Cole.

The attack, organized by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist organization, was carried out by suicide bombers Ibrahim al-Thawr and Abdullah al-Misawa.

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The destroyer's rules of engagement, as approved by the Pentagon, kept its guards from firing upon the small boat loaded with explosives as it neared them without first obtaining permission from the Cole's captain or another officer. Petty Officer John Washak said that right after the blast, a senior chief petty officer ordered him to turn an M-60 machine gun on the Cole's fantail away from a second small boat approaching. "With blood still on my face," he said, he was told: "That's the rules of engagement no shooting unless we're shot at."

"In the military, it's like we're trained to hesitate now. If somebody had seen something wrong and shot, he probably would have been court-martialed." Petty Officer Jennifer Kudrick said that if the sentries had fired on the suicide craft "we would have gotten in more trouble for shooting two foreigners than losing 17 American sailors."

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The USS Cole was lifted aboard the Norwegian heavy transport ship M/V Blue Marlin and towed back to the United States.

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Father God,
We Come before you and ask that you comfort the Families of these precious Men and Women
who have lost their lives, while Serving their Country on the USS COLE
In Jesus Name,
Amen

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IN THEIR HONOR

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I Am the American Sailor 

Hear my voice, America! Though I speak through the mist of 200 years, my shout for freedom will echo through liberty's halls for many centuries to come.

Hear me speak, for my words are of truth and justice, and the rights of man. For those ideals, I have spilled my blood upon the world's troubled waters.

Listen well, for my time is eternal - yours is but a moment.

I am the spirit of heroes past and future

I am the American Sailor.

I was born upon the icy shores at Plymouth, rocked upon the waves of the Atlantic, and nursed in the wilderness of Virginia.

I cut my teeth on New England codfish, and I was clothed in southern cotton.

I built muscle at the halyards of New Bedford whalers, and I gained my sea legs high atop the mizzen of Yankee clipper ships.

Yes, I am the American Sailor, one of the greatest seamen the world has ever known.

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The sea is my home and my words are tempered by the sound of paddle wheels on the Mississippi, and the song of whales off Greenland's barren shore. My eyes have grown dim from the glare of sunshine on blue water, and my heart is full of star-strewn nights under the Southern Cross.

My hands are raw from winter storms while sailing down around the Horn, and they are blistered from the heat of cannon broadsides while defending our nation.

I am the American Sailor, and I have seen the sunset of a thousand distant, lonely lands.

I am the American Sailor.

It was I who stood tall beside John Paul Jones as he shouted, "I have not yet begun to fight!"

I fought upon Lake Erie with Perry, and I rode with Stephen Decatur into Tripoli harbor to burn the Philadelphia.

I met Guerriere aboard Constitution, and I was lashed to the mast with Admiral Farragut at Mobile Bay.

I have heard the clang of Confederate shot against the sides of Monitor.

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I have suffered the cold with Peary at the North Pole, and I responded when Dewey said, "You may fire when ready Gridley," at Manila Bay.

It was I who transported supplies through submarine infested waters when our soldier's were called "over there".

I was there as Admiral Byrd crossed the South Pole.

It was I who went down with the Arizona at Pearl Harbor, who supported our troops at Inchon, and patrolled the dark deadly waters of the Mekong Delta.

I am the American Sailor, and I wear many faces. I am a pilot soaring across God's blue canopy, and I am a Seabee atop a dusty bulldozer in the South Pacific.

I am a corpsman nursing the wounded in the jungle, and I am a torpedoman in Nautilus deep beneath the North Pole.

I am hard and I am strong.

But it was my eyes that filled with tears when my brother went down with the Thresher, and it was my heart that rejoiced when Commander Shepherd rocketed into orbit above the earth. It was I who languished in a Viet Cong prison camp, and it was I who walked upon the moon.

It was I who saved the Stark, and the Samuel B. Roberts in the mine infested waters of the Persian Gulf.

It was I who pulled my brothers from the smoke filled compartments of the Bonefish, and wept when my shipmates died on Iowa, and White Plains. When called again, I was there, on the tip of the spear for Operation Desert Shield, and Desert Storm.

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I am the American Sailor.

I am woman, I am man, I am white and black, yellow, red and brown. I am Jew, Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist. I am Irish, Filipino, African, French, Chinese, and Indian.

And my standard is the outstretched hand of Liberty.

Today, I serve around the world; on land, in air, on and under the sea.

I serve proudly, at peace once again, but with the fervent prayer that I need not be called again.

Tell your children of me.

Tell them of my sacrifice, and how my spirit soars above their country.

I have spread the mantle of my nation over the ocean, and I will guard her forever. I am her heritage, and yours.

I am the American Sailor.

-Attributed to MCPO Gene Wallace

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