It was twenty years ago today that a U.S Navy ship was attached in the Middle East. It was Thursday, October 12, 2000, while refueling at a port in Aden, Yemen, that the U.S. Navy destroyer U.S.S. 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 U.S.S. 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.

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The U.S.S. 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 U.S.S. Cole was launched on February 10, 1995 and commissioned on June 8, 1996.

There is a local tie to the U.S.S. Cole in that Sergeant Darrell S. Cole was the great uncle of Rick Cole, the long-time and now former owner of the Pier Restaurant in Quincy. If you see Rick, ask him about the U.S.S. Cole and he will be glad you asked and proud to tell you the story.

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