Navy to honor memory of 17 sailors killed in 2000 jihadi attack on destroyer Cole
Monday marks 20 years since 17 sailors were killed in a jihadi bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole while in a Yemeni port.
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer was conducting a scheduled refueling in Aden Harbor the morning of Oct. 12, 2000 when a motorized dinghy filled with explosives approached and detonated, ripping a 40-foot hole in the starboard side of its hull.
The ship’s engine room, galley and living quarters were badly damaged. In addition to those killed, 38 more were wounded in the blast.
“We let our guard down,” retired Navy Capt. Joe Bouchard told 13NewsNow. “The Navy and all the services were in the post-Cold War lull. … We were not really prepared for the kind of attack that happened to the Cole.”
At the time, Bouchard was commanding officer of the Cole’s homeport of Naval Station Norfolk.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation determined the attack was carried out by members of al-Qaida.
The refueling stop was scheduled in a four-hour window, suggesting the terrorists had to have known about the ship’s presence ahead of time. The Cole had broken away from other warships in the Arabian peninsula, there to enforce trade sanctions against Iraq.
The attack on the Cole wasn’t the first time Al-Qaida targeted the U.S. In December 1992, the jihadi group conducted three bombings targeting U.S. troops in Aden. In 1993, al-Qaida aided the warlords who shot down U.S. helicopters and killed 18 U.S. soldiers in Somalia. In August 1998, the group also carried out the bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, killing some 300 people and injuring more than 5,000.
Source: 8kun Notables, Navy to honor memory of 17 sailors killed in 2000 jihadi attack on destroyer Cole