USA — Navy Honors Killed, Injured in USS Cole Attack

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2010 — Navy offi­cials, cur­rent and for­mer crew mem­bers and fam­i­lies of the fall­en gath­ered today at Nor­folk Naval Sta­tion, Va., to remem­ber the 17 sailors killed and 39 oth­ers wound­ed in the al-Qai­da attack on the USS Cole 10 years ago today.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Cole arrives in Naples, Italy, for a scheduled port call while deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility, Feb. 23, 2010. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class William Pittman
The guid­ed-mis­sile destroy­er USS Cole arrives in Naples, Italy, for a sched­uled port call while deployed to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of respon­si­bil­i­ty, Feb. 23, 2010.
U.S. Navy pho­to by Pet­ty Offi­cer 2nd Class William Pittman
Click to enlarge

Sui­cide bombers launched the sur­prise Oct. 12, 2000, attack on the Arleigh Burke-class, Aegis-equipped guid­ed mis­sile destroy­er as it was anchored in Aden, Yemen, for a rou­tine refu­el­ing stop. The attack­ers det­o­nat­ed an explo­sive-laden boat against the ship’s port side, tear­ing a 40-by-40-foot hole in the hull and send­ing sea­wa­ter gush­ing into the engi­neer­ing compartment. 

The attack was the dead­liest assault against a U.S. naval ves­sel since the Iraqis attacked the USS Stark on May 17, 1987. 

Retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lip­pold, the Cole’s com­man­der dur­ing the attack, recalled the impact of the blast. 

“There was a thun­der­ous explo­sion. You could feel all 505 feet and 8,400 tons of guid­ed mis­sile destroy­er vio­lent­ly thrust up and to the right,” Lip­pold said dur­ing a recent radio inter­view. “Lights went out, and with­in a mat­ter of sec­onds, I knew we’d been attacked.” 

Dur­ing today’s cer­e­monies, Navy Adm. J.C. Har­vey Jr., com­man­der of USS Fleet Com­mand, salut­ed the Cole crewmem­bers’ quick response and val­or as they fought to keep the ship afloat and tend­ed to the wound­ed while defend­ing against a feared fol­low-on attack. 

Har­vey said the attack under­scores the impor­tance of always being trained and pre­pared, and he praised the sense of vig­i­lance that has been passed down to sub­se­quent USS Cole crews. 

After 14 months of upgrades and repairs fol­low­ing the attack, the USS Cole made an over­seas deploy­ment in Novem­ber 2003. The ship lat­er deployed to the Mid­dle East in June 2006. The USS Cole, which recent­ly returned to its Nor­folk home­port after a deploy­ment that took it through the Gulf of Aden, shows no vis­i­ble evi­dence of the dead­ly attack that occurred a decade ago. But below its decks are reg­u­lar reminders, includ­ing a black­ened U.S. flag that sur­vived the attack and 17 gold stars that line the ship’s “Hall of Heroes” passageway.

As a ship’s bells rang 17 times dur­ing today’s cer­e­monies, the names of the fall­en 17 sailors were read aloud: 

  • Pet­ty Offi­cer 2nd Class Ken­neth Eugene Clod­fel­ter, 21, a hull main­te­nance tech­ni­cian from Mechan­icsville, Va.; 
  • Chief Pet­ty Offi­cer Richard Costelow, 35, an elec­tron­ics tech­ni­cian from Mor­risville, Pa.; 
  • Sea­man Lakeina Monique Fran­cis, 19, a mess man­age­ment spe­cial­ist from Woodleaf, N.C.;
  • Sea­man Tim­o­thy Lee Gau­na, 21, an infor­ma­tion sys­tems tech­ni­cian from Rice, Texas; 
  • Sea­man Cherone Louis Gunn, 22, a sig­nal­man from Rex, Ga.; 
  • Sea­man James Rodrick McDaniels, 19, of Nor­folk, Va.; 
  • Pet­ty Offi­cer 2nd Class Marc Ian Nieto, 24, an engine­man from Fond du Lac, Wis.; 
  • Pet­ty Offi­cer 2nd Class Ronald Scott Owens, 24, an elec­tron­ics war­fare tech­ni­cian from Vero Beach, Fla.;
  • Sea­man Lak­i­ba Nicole Palmer, 22, of San Diego, Calif.; 
  • Sea­man Joshua Lang­don Par­lett, 19, an engine room fire­man from Churchville, Md.; 
  • Sea­man Patrick Howard Roy, 19, a fire­man from Corn­wall on Hud­son, N.Y.;
  • Pet­ty Offi­cer 1st Class Kevin Shawn Rux, 30, an elec­tron­ic war­fare tech­ni­cian from Port­land, N.D.;
  • Pet­ty Offi­cer 3rd Class Ron­ches­ter Man­an­gan San­ti­a­go, 22, a mess man­age­ment spe­cial­ist from Kingsville, Texas.; 
  • Pet­ty Offi­cer 2nd Class Tim­o­thy Lam­ont Saun­ders, 32, an oper­a­tions spe­cial­ist from Ring­gold, Va.; 
  • Sea­man Gary Gra­ham Swen­cho­nis Jr., 26, a fire­man from Rock­port, Texas; 
  • Ensign Andrew Triplett, 31, of Macon, Miss.; and 
  • Sea­man Craig Bryan Wib­ber­ley, 19, of Williamsport, Md. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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