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    Warrior Mentality: A commemoration to remember and honor the 20th anniversary of the 17 Sailors who were lost from the terrorist attack on October 12, 2000

    Warrior Mentality: A commemoration to remember and honor the 20th anniversary of the 17 Sailors who were lost from the terrorist attack on October 12, 2000.

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Dowell | 201015-N-TJ319-1003 PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Oct. 15, 2020) Command Master Chief (Ret.) James...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jessica Dowell 

    Naval Medical Forces Atlantic

    Naval Medical Forces Atlantic
    Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jessica L. Dowell

    PORTSMOUTH, Va.--“I felt the 85-ton ship lift up from under my feet,” said Command Master Chief (Ret.) James Parlier, Jr., while recounting the terrorist attack on the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) where he was assigned as the command master chief. “The sound was deafening. I saw the bulkheads ripple.”

    October 12, 2000, USS Cole arrived in Yemen’s Aden Harbor to complete a refueling. At 11:18 a.m. suicide bombers approached the port side of the ship in a small boat carrying explosives, and detonated its load leaving a 40-foot by 60-foot hole near the waterline. The attack killed 17 Sailors and injured 39. It was attributed to al Qaeda and foreshadowed the attack on the United States less than one year later on September 11, 2001.

    Parlier, now 63, has dedicated his life to spreading awareness of the horrific events of that day. He emphasizes the importance of training and how quickly a situation can change. He remarked on how the focus of the fleet should always lie on maintaining the warrior mentality and to hold true the Navy core values.

    Parlier volunteered his time to attend a socially distanced event to speak with Sailors assigned to Naval Medical Forces Atlantic (MEDLANT) and Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), October 15. His address to the room was a call to action. He stressed the need for initiative, action, and thinking outside of the box as well as critical thinking and treating every training evolution like a real-world event whether at sea or shore side.

    “When you are out there you think you are invincible, then something like this happens and you find out just how vulnerable you are,” said Parlier.

    Parlier joined the Navy in 1978 when he was 21 years old. As a hospital corpsman, Parlier served more than 20 years, nine of which were spent as an independent duty corpsman.

    “You are going to have to do what you can, and what is right to save Sailors and Marines,” said Parlier. “At that moment I wasn’t just a CMC anymore, I was a corpsman.”

    Luckily, unscathed by the blast, Parlier remembers immediately stepping into action. The ship was placed into general quarters by word of mouth as all systems onboard were rendered inoperable. With the help of a hospitalman, he manned the aft battle dressing station.

    “Their wounds were horrific, but we treated them just as we were trained, and within our skill level,” said Parlier. “Those that we could not treat were sent to the missile deck where the ship’s doc was also treating patients.”

    Among his remarks of sorrow and disbelief for the lives lost, he praised the Sailors assigned to the Cole that day. He believes it was the repetitive training, the focus on practical application, and the initiative of the crew that kept the ship afloat. Parlier placed a strong emphasis on training regardless of how monotonous it may seem, for when the call arrives, the response should be mechanical.

    “You don’t ever give up the ship,” said Parlier. “We are warriors fighting for our ship.”

    He presented his call to action to think about that concept as a corpsman and as a leader. He pressed the importance of living by the Navy’s core values and of the corpsman oath.

    “Master Chief Parlier’s presence today shows his dedication and continued love for Sailors,” said Command Master Chief Dennis Hathorn, MEDLANT command master chief. “As we continue to chart the globe and keep our focus as a Navy, I’m grateful for him and his willingness to share his story of the USS Cole. I believe this will remind us of our past and help us maintain our warrior culture, the most powerful leadership tool we all have is our personal experience.”

    Parlier thanked attendees for allowing him to tell his story from the heart and share what was experienced that day and the days after.

    Rear Adm. Darin Via, MEDLANT commander, thanked Parlier for his continued leadership and example, presenting him with his command challenge coin, certificate of recognition, and photo of NMCP to the once-member of the team.

    Naval Medical Forces Atlantic, headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, provides well-trained medical experts, operating as high-performance teams, to project medical power in support of naval superiority. Led by Rear Adm. Darin K. Via, the command ensures the warfighter is medically ready; makes certain medical forces are manned, trained, and equipped to meet the operational mission; and increases the survivability of those who go in harm’s way.



    Date Taken: 10.15.2020
    Date Posted: 10.16.2020 10:03
    Story ID: 381060
    Location: PORTSMOUTH, VA, US 

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