Inside USS Cole Attack

A Navy destroyer’s refueling stop in a little-known country on the tip of the Arabian peninsula 20 years ago today led to a deadly attack by the Sunni Jihadi group al-Qaeda. It was the escalation of their war on the U.S., which wasn’t fully prepared for what Osama bin Laden had in mind.
On Oct. 12, 2000, an explosion rocked the hull of guided-missile destroyer Cole as it sat for refueling in the Port of Aden, Yemen.
The 40-by-60-foot hole created by the explosion left all able-bodied sailors battling fires and flooding for 96 hours just to stay afloat. Seventeen sailors were killed, and another 37 injured by the blast.
“We were standing there speaking one moment, and then the next moment we were on the deck on the other side of the shop and it was dark, the room was starting to fill up with smoke and we couldn’t breathe so well,” said Senior Chief Damage Controlman William Merchen in a Navy press release. He was one of several crew members quoted in the release.
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