It has been a hectic day, but I can’t let it go by without marking the sixth anniversary of the USS Cole jihadist bombing. Catching up on my reading after my road trip, I was disturbed at how little mention the anniversary received today. The 17 sailors who were murdered:
Hull Maintenance Technician Second Class Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter, 21, of Mechanicsville, Va.
Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer Richard Costelow, 35, of Morrisville, Pa.
Mess Management Specialist Seaman Lakeina Monique Francis, 19, of Woodleaf, N.C.
Information Systems Technician Seaman Timothy Lee Gauna, 21, of Rice, Texas
Signalman Seaman Cherone Louis Gunn, 22, of Rex, Ga.
Seaman James Rodrick McDaniels, 19, of Norfolk, Va.
Engineman Second Class Marc Ian Nieto, 24, of Fond du Lac, Wis.
Electronics Warfare Technician Second Class Ronald Scott Owens, 24, of Vero Beach, Fla.
Seaman Lakiba Nicole Palmer, 22, of San Diego, Calif.
Engineman Fireman Joshua Langdon Parlett, 19, of Churchville, Md.
Fireman Patrick Howard Roy, 19, of Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y.
Electronics Warfare Technician First Class Kevin Shawn Rux, 30, of Portland, N.D.
Mess Management Specialist Third Class Ronchester Manangan Santiago, 22, Kingsville, Texas
Operations Specialist Second Class Timothy Lamont Saunders, 32, of Ringgold, Va.
Fireman Gary Graham Swenchonis Jr., 26, Rockport, Texas
Ensign Andrew Triplett, 31, of Macon, Miss.
Seaman Craig Bryan Wibberley, 19, of Williamsport, Md.
The USS Cole is currently patrolling the Persian Gulf.
Donations to Cole family members:
Contributing to the USS Cole Memorial Fund
At the request of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society has agreed to be the conduit through which public donations (individual, group, and corporate) for USS Cole (DDG 67) victims and their families may be channeled. The Society will administer this fund in compliance with the parameters drafted and approved by the active duty Navy leadership, with input from the commanding officer and crew of USS Cole.
Anyone interested in making a donation should make checks payable to Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, or simply NMCRS, and include “For USS COLE” in the lower left corner of the check (the memo).
Mail all donations to:
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
801 North Randolph Street, Suite 1228
Arlington, VA 22203-1978
Family members are suing the Sudanese government. Their action alleges that the East African nation’s government provided financial and training support to al-Qaida, including the Yemeni militants who planned the attack on the Norfolk-based destroyer in the Aden, Yemen, harbor on Oct. 12, 2000.
Survivors of the Cole attack remember:
On Oct. 12, 2000, aboard the listing, grey metal hulk of the USS Cole, Navy Petty Officer Second Class Timothy Lamont Saunders, from Ringold, Va., clung to the tattered shreds of his young and promising life. Moments prior, Saunders and his shipmates were rocked by an act of terror when their ship – home to some 320 Sailors – was punctured by an explosion that left a 40 foot by 60 foot opening in the port bow of the Cole. In the flooding and flames, chaos and death, Saunders’ good friend, Gregory Powe, found him alive.
Navy Petty Officer First Class Powe, like Saunders, was an operations specialist serving aboard the USS Cole when, on the way to a port visit in Baharain, the ship stopped in the Port of Aden, Yemen, at a year-old Defense Fuel Support Point. Amongst the other small vessels buzzing around the harbor like flies, a small rubber craft piloted by two men separated from the rest and pulled alongside the Cole. According to witnesses, the men rose to their feet, came to attention, and detonated an unknown amount of explosives. The blast crippled the ship, killing 17 service members and injuring another 39…
…In the aftermath, Powe and the other survivors of the attack would live lives of valor under dire circumstances – residing next to one another above decks on coarse, woolen blankets, their bodies becoming blackened by soot from still-burning fires. They worked together to save the Cole and prepare the ship for repairs, preserving the battleship for another round of fighting in the Global War on Terrorism.
Today, the USS Cole is taking the fight to the enemies of freedom. Like an aging prize fighter, the Cole has absorbed its share of punches but remains on its feet and in the ring, a source of pride to the Sailors and Marines that make up the strike group, said Powe, who now serves aboard the USS Iwo Jima.
“I’m proud of the Cole. I’m proud of bringing it back to life and I’m proud of the training that kept it from sinking,” said Powe. “Even though 17 were lost, it felt like we saved more because of the training that we have.”
“It’s just an extension of that fact that we’re not going to quit,” said Russell, who is also currently serving aboard the Iwo Jima. “We’ll rebuild and we’ll be back. We’ll come back with a bigger punch, too.”
The bombing of the USS Cole was a deliberate act of war by al-Qaeda, and it went ignored and unavenged by the Clinton Administration. I’m sure he pointed his finger as he said “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.” Except he did nothing.
On November 3, 2002, under the Bush Administration, the CIA fired a AGM-114 Hellfire missile from a Predator UAV at a vehicle carrying Abu Ali al-Harithi, a suspected planner of the bombing plot. Also in the vehicle was Ahmed Hijazi, a U.S. citizen. Both were killed. This operation was carried out on Yemeni soil.
On September 29, 2004, a Yemeni judge sentenced Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Jamal al-Badawi to death for their roles in the bombing. Al-Nashiri, believed to be the operation’s mastermind, is currently being held by the U.S. at an undisclosed location. Al-Badawi, in Yemeni custody, denounced the verdict as “an American one.” Four others were sentenced to prison terms of five to 10 years for their involvement, including one Yemeni who had videotaped the attack.
On February 3, 2006, 23 suspected or convicted Al-Qaeda members escaped from jail in Yemen. This number included 13 who were convicted of the USS Cole bombings and the bombing of the French tanker Limburg in 2002. Among those who reportedly escaped was Al-Badawi. For more on this, please read this article on the escape by Jane Novak, of Armies of Liberation.
And Clinton is still pointing his finger.