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Quincy Man Remembers USS Cole Attack 17 Years Ago

USS Cole Attack Suspect Arrested
U.S. Navy, Getty Images

On Thursday, October 12, 2000, while refueling at a port in Aden, Yemen, the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole was attacked by a two suicide bombers navigating a small motorboat full of explosives. The explosion killed 17 crew members and wounded 39 others.

Witnesses later said the boat came so close prior to the explosion that sailors aboard the USS Cole exchanged greetings with the two suicide bombers, who stood at attention just before the explosives, detonated. The explosion blew a hole 40 feet wide in the side of the ship.

The ship, which was carrying a crew of 293, was in route to the Persian Gulf to help enforce an oil embargo against Iraq. The attack represented the first major international terrorist attack on a U.S. facility since the 1998 bombings of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The USS Cole was named in honor of Marine Sergeant Darrell S. Cole, a machine-gunner killed in action on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, during World War Two. The USS Cole was launched on February 10, 1995 and commissioned on June 8, 1996.

There is a local tie to the USS Cole in that Sergeant Darrell S. Cole was the great uncle of Rick Cole, the current owner of the Pier Restaurant in Quincy. Ask Rick about the USS Cole and he will be glad to tell you the story.

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