On October 12, 2000, suicide bombers, part of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, exploded a small boat alongside the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole as it was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden.

The blast ripped a 40-foot-wide hole near the waterline of the Cole killing 17 American sailors and injuring 37 more. The crew valiantly fought the fires on the ship and was able to save it from sinking. The Cole was then towed out to sea, where it was eventually returned to the United States. Its repairs took nearly three years. 

 

A Cowardly Attack

On August 8, 2000, the USS Cole, commanded by Kirk S. Lippold, was deployed with the guided-missile frigate USS Simpson (FFG-56) and Military Sealift Command (MSC)-manned oiler USNS John Lenthall (T-AO-189) from Norfolk to the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean.