USS COLE, At Sea and GREAT LAKES, Ill -- The crew of guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) held a ceremony in memory of the 12th anniversary of the al-Qaida suicide attack on the ship, Oct. 12., while staff and students from Training Support Center (TSC), Great Lakes, Ill., did the same at BEQ 6301, the USS Cole's namesake barracks.
Both ceremonies honored the 17 Sailors who lost their lives and the 37 Sailors who were injured during the attack in Aden, Yemen, Oct. 12, 2000.
"For our Navy, Cole, her Sailors and their families, our war on terror began on October 12, 2000, at 11:18 in the morning," said Cmdr. Peter K. Nilsen, Cole's commanding officer. "Our ship stands for American resolve. It is part of history and a memorial for our fallen shipmates."
The crew of the Cole stood in formation as the names of the Sailors lost and injured that day were read aloud and bells struck in remembrance. The service concluded with a 21-gun salute and the playing of "Taps."
"As long as this building (USS Cole) is standing, I hope that the future Sailors will never forget what happened on the Cole on this day," said Chief Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical)(SW) Roman Sado.
New Sailors were reminded of the ultimate sacrifice that was made by those who have gone before them. The ceremony was lead in prayer by Cmdr. Lynn Peterson, command chaplain TSC, Great Lakes.
"The event was colored by the memories of people," commented Peterson. "I remember Sailors I met a few years after the attack who were still recovering from their injuries and felt that their sacrifices serve to consolidate our sense of purpose as a team."
After sharing some stories of heroism on the USS Cole, Capt. Peter R. Lintner, commanding officer for TSC challenged the attendees to reflect on the meaning of shipmate in the Navy and asked, "Will you be the one to dive in to the water for your shipmate?"
"[The] ship had been completely repaired and though there were no longer visible remnants of the attack, the 17 brass stars on the deck where the hole once was served as a constant reminder to every Sailor that had the privilege to follow their USS Cole predecessors," Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Bruce J. Pilgrim said of his first deployment on the USS Cole.
Cole, homeported out of Norfolk, Va., is currently deployed in the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility conducting theater security cooperation and maritime security operations.