Moored in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, the destroyer was approached by a small boat, which suddenly veered towards the ship and exploded, opening a massive hole in her side and killing 17 sailors.
Five years after they gave their lives in service to their country, they deserve to be remembered:
Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Kenneth Clodfelter
Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer Richard Costelow
Mess Management Specialist Seaman Lakeina Francis
Information Systems Technician Seaman Timothy Lee Gauna
Signalman Seaman Cherone Louis Gunn
Seaman James Rodrick McDaniels
Engineman 2nd Class Marc Ian Nieto
Electronics Warfare Technician 2nd Class Ronald Owens
Seaman Lakiba Nicole Palmer
Engineman Fireman Joshua Langdon Parlett
Fireman Patrick Howard Roy
Electronics Warfare Technician 1st Class Kevin Shawn Rux
Mess Management Specialist 3rd Class Ronchester Santiago
Operations Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Lamont Saunders
Fireman Gary Graham Swenchonis Jr.
Ensign Andrew Triplett
Seaman Craig Bryan Wibberley
Later investigation would recognize that the suicide attackers were affiliated with and aided by Al Qaeda.
The subsequent history of the USS Cole is interesting; she was brought home with much effort, repaired, and is back out there, somewhere, doing her duty.
But we failed her, and the seventeen who died.
Their deaths were the distant thunder, a warning of the coming storm.
We ignored the warning they died to give us.
(Thanks for the reminder, John and Alan.)