MESSAGE TO THE FLEET - 20 YEAR REMEMBRANCE OF THE ATTACK ON USS COLE (DDG 67)

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ROUTINE 
R 051136Z OCT 20 MID200000189231U 
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC 
TO NAVADMIN 
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC 
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NAVADMIN 270/20 
 
MSGID/NAVADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/CNO// 
 
SUBJ/CNO MESSAGE TO THE FLEET - 20 YEAR REMEMBRANCE OF THE ATTACK ON USS COLE 
(DDG 67)// 
 
RMKS/1. At 1118 local time on 12 October 2000, the guided-missile destroyer 
USS COLE (DDG 67) was the target of a suicide attack by terrorists during a 
routine refueling stop in Yemen's Aden Harbor. Seventeen U.S. Navy Sailors 
were killed and 37 were injured in the blast, which tore a 40-by-60 foot hole 
in the ship's hull. The crew of COLE fought valiantly for more than 96 hours 
to save their ship and shipmates. Their actions are the reason why COLE 
remains a vital part of our Navy today. 
 
2. As a Navy, it is important, and I am directing that we observe a moment of 
silence at 1118 (local) that day to recognize the twentieth anniversary of 
this attack. We will pause to remember those who were tragically lost, pay 
tribute to the heroic actions of the crew, and reflect on our responsibility 
to carry their proud legacy forward. 
 
3. Twenty years later, it is important to recognize how these acts of bravery 
and heroism were nothing short of extraordinary. Immediately following the 
blast and uncertain of the possibility of further explosions, COLE Sailors 
courageously ran to the scene and rescued severely injured and trapped 
shipmates, saving them from further injury and probable death. Well-organized 
and disciplined despite the chaotic conditions, they prevailed through 96 
hours of sustained damage control efforts by dewatering the ship, plugging 
the inrush of further flooding, shoring ships structures, and securing 
exposed electrical power sources. The example set by the COLE Sailors is 
clear: a well-trained crew, even after a devastating blow, can rise to the 
occasion and save their ship. 
 
4. The 17 Sailors who gave their lives that day are, no doubt, heroes. When 
their country called, they answered. And, for that, we are eternally 
grateful. 
Our responsibility is to honor them by remembering their sacrifices and 
ensuring they are never forgotten. The most powerful way to honor these 
sacrifices though, is our continued demonstration of resolve in the face 
of threats to our nation and its citizens. 
 
5. For Sailors today, you should embrace your responsibility to honor the 
legacy of the COLE heroes.  Their actions epitomized our Navy's fighting 
spirit - heroism, toughness, selfless sacrifice, and tenacious resolve to 
never give up. They carried forward our Navy heritage of fighting with Honor, 
Courage, and Commitment. Using their example as a guide, I am confident our 
Navy's proud legacy will live on for generations to come. 
 
6. Our Navy is second to none. The American people count on you and so do I. 
Honored to be your CNO. 
 
7. Released by Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.// 
 
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