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    USS Cole Honors their Heroes

    2019 USS Cole Memorial

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Milham | Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile-destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67)...... read more read more

    The guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) crew, past and present, gathered alongside families and guests today, to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the ships bombing.

    More than 30 Gold Star family members joined the Cole crew and guests for the ceremony held at the USS Cole Memorial at Naval Station Norfolk. The remembrance ceremony honored the 17 shipmates who perished in the attack, forever to be remembered as Cole Heroes, who set the standard for the “Determined Warrior” culture the Cole crew strives daily to maintain.

    Capt. Mikal Phillips, Fire Control Officer aboard at the time of the attack, provided the keynote address.

    “Honoring Cole heroes is far more than just a ship’s event but part of our national and Navy-wide mourning,” he said.

    “This day represents reaffirmation of our solidarity to our fallen shipmates and not just for Cole families, but across all the armed services. It is important to come back and remember them, and remember that their families remember them every day, that their shipmates and brothers in arms remember them every day as well.”

    “We remember the sacrifices of those who lost their lives that day and we honor them and their families,” added Cmdr. Ted Pledger, Cole commanding officer. “We humbly pay tribute to the men and women who fought to save their ship and shipmates.”

    During today’s ceremony, a wreath was again laid for the fallen heroes. Another 21-gun salute pierced the silence along the waterfont. A lone bugler offered taps. But, appropriately, the 19th such ceremony had at its core once again, a tolling of the bell and a reading of the names of the 17 heroes whose lives were lost that fateful day.

    “For the Gold Star families who lost loved ones in the attack on USS Cole, my most sincere regret is that there are no words that can begin to capture or ease the emotion and grief you must feel in the absence of your loved ones,” said Phillips.

    “You gave us your heroes and they gave their lives for our nation and our way of life that debt cannot be repaid.”

    Deployed to the Middle East in 2000, Cole stopped for refueling in the port of Aden, Yemen. At approximately 11:18 a.m., a small boat came alongside the ship. Suddenly, a highly explosive bomb detonated alongside Cole. The explosion blew a massive 40-by-60 foot hole on the port side of the ship, taking the lives of 17 Sailors and injuring 39 others. Cole’s Sailors courageously fought fires and flooding for the following 96 hours.

    Their actions prevented further loss of lives and kept the ship afloat.

    In commemoration, the Cole Memorial includes 17 low-level markers that stand for the youthfulness of the Sailors, whose lives were lost. Three tall granite monoliths – each bearing brass plaques – stand for the three colors of the American flag. A set of brown markers encircling the memorial symbolizes the darkness and despair that overcame the ship on Oct. 12, 2000. Additionally, 28 black pine trees were planted nearby to represent the 17 Sailors and the 11 children the heroes left behind.

    This was the first year the ceremony was live streamed via the USS Cole’s official Facebook page.



    Date Taken: 10.12.2019
    Date Posted: 10.12.2019 15:09
    Story ID: 347573
    Location: US

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