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DDG 67 Cole
"Determined Warrior"

The USS Cole was commissioned on June 8, 1996.

The dark blue and gold, on the shield of the Court of Arms, represent sea faring excellence and are traditionally associated with the Navy. Red, for blood and courage, denotes Sergeant Cole's valor and sacrifice. A trident symbolizes sea prowess and Cole's modern warfare capabilities. The three tines represent submarine, and air warfare capabilities. Three hand grenades commemorate Sergeant Cole's heroic one-man grenade attach against enemy emplacements during the assault on Iwo Jima. A broken chevron alludes to Sergeant Cole's breaking the enemy's hold, enabling his company to attain it's ultimate objective. The grenades also represent the traits courage, valor and honor, commemorating Sergeant Cole's fighting spirit and dedication.

A blue reversed star, on the crest, represents the Medal of Honor posthumously awarded to Sergeant Cole for his self-sacrifice and extraordinary heroism. The crossed navy sword and Marine Mameluke signify cooperation within and the fighting spirit of the Naval Service. A French horn combined with two swords underscores his service with the Marine Corps as a Field Musician and reminds us of his nickname, "The Fighting Field Musician." The laurel wreath is emblematic of honor and high achievement.

The Cole Bombing

At 11:18 on the morning of October 12, 2000, as USS Cole (DDG 67) was refueling in Aden Harbor, Yemen, suicide bombers detonated an explosive-laden boat directly against the port side of the ship. The resulting blast killed 17 Sailors, wounded 37 others, and tore a hole forty by sixty feet in the ship's hull.

In the aftermath of the explosion, the crew of USS Cole fought tirelessly to free shipmates trapped by the twisted wreckage and limit flooding that threatened to sink their ship. The crew's prompt actions to isolate damaged electrical systems and contain fuel oil ruptures prevented catastrophic fires that could have engulfed the ship and cost the lives of countless men and women. Skillful first aid and advanced medical treatment applied by the crew prevented additional death and eased the suffering of many others. The crew conducted more than 96 hours of sustained damage control in conditions of extreme heat and stress. Deprived of sleep, food and shelter, they vigilantly battled to preserve a secure perimeter and restore stability to engineering systems that were vital to the ship's survival The ship was part of the USS George Washington Battle Group, and was in transit from the Red Sea to a port visit in Bahrain when the ship stopped in Aden for routine refueling. The destroyer departed Norfolk for its deployment Aug. 8, 2000, and was scheduled to return home Dec. 21.

Cole was returned to the U.S. aboard the Norwegian heavy transport ship M/V Blue Marlin owned by Offshore Heavy Transport of Oslo, Norway.

Cole was towed out of Aden harbor Oct. 29, 2000, to deeper water by the Military Sealift Command's fleet ocean tug USNS Cataba (T-ATF 168). The process of loading Cole onto the transport ship required a water depth of at least 75 feet since it involved partially submerging Blue Marlin and maneuving Cole into position over Blue Marlin's deck. The transport ship was then raised, and Cole was lifted aboard. The destroyer was canted on Blue Marlin's deck to protect her propellers and her sonar dome.

The ship was off-loaded Dec. 13, 2000, from Blue Marlin in a pre-dredged deep-water facility at the shipyard of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Ingalls Operations.

Ingalls, in coordination with the Navy's Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Repair and Conversion (SUPSHIP) Pascagoula, recently completed repairs to the AEGIS destroyer, which included replacing more than 550 tons of steel on the exterior plating and major upgrades giving it more in common with the latest Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Additional, a passageway with 17 white stars embedded in blue tile and a plaque memorizing the lost crewmembers, pays tribute to those killed. The passageway is on the serving line on the ship's mess decks.

Planning for the repairs was begun while Cole was still in Yemen, with engineering assessments to determine the extent of repair required. Personnel riding M/V Blue Marlin during the six-week transit from the Arabian Gulf assisted in that assessment, which was completed by Ingalls and the Naval Sea System Command.

The decision to have Ingalls repair Cole followed a thorough review of the capabilities, costs and schedules associated with public and private shipyards, and included an assessment of how the selection would impact Cole sailors and their families. Ingalls was determined to be the shipyard best suited to make the repairs.

The selection of Ingalls allowed most of the work to be done by civilian workers experienced in building this type of ship. Ingalls was the builder of Cole. Most of the ship's crew will be able to remain in Norfolk, Va., living and working as a team based in existing pre-commissioning facilities.

After a successful 14-month effort to repair the damage, USS Cole (DDG 67) departed Pascagoula, Miss., on 19 April 2002, and returned to the homeport of Norfolk, Va.

The USS COLE Memorial dedication ceremony was conducted at Naval Station Norfolk Virginia on 12 Oct 2001, commemorating the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack in Aden, Yemen . The Memorial honors the 17 sailors who lost their lives and the crew for their heroic actions to save the ship. The Memorial was made possible because of contributions to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society from thousands of private individuals and businesses across the country. The Memorial design began as a vision of USS COLE crewmembers. The ship then joined forces with Navy architects and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society to bring to life their vision. The memorial is a gift of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society to the Navy. This Memorial will fulfills an important objective of the Memorial Fund for USS COLE set up by the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and the Navy.

Med 2004

Cole departed along with USS Thorn (DD 988) and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) Nov. 29, 2003. During the deployment, Cole was part of NATO's Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean (SNFM), serving with nine ships from Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece and Turkey. She conducted more than 1,000 vessel queries, served as SNFM Strait of Gibraltar escort commander, and carried out four maritime interdiction boardings in support of the global war on terror.

Cole took part in one of the largest NATO exercises in history, Mare Aperto 2004, and Dogfish 2004. Mare Aperto 2004 included 37 ships from six nations and encompassed every area of surface warfare. Exercise Dogfish, an anti-submarine warfare exercise, included NATO coalition warships and submarines from Germany, Italy, Turkey, Greece, United Kingdom and France.

Cole also visited Souda Bay, Crete; Aksaz, Turkey; Toulon, France; Rota and Valencia, Spain; and Augusta Bay, Cagliari; and Genoa, Italy. Cole Sailors also attended Christmas Eve midnight mass at the Vatican with Pope John Paul II.

USS Cole (DDG 67) returned to its homeport of Norfolk, Va., May 27.

Baltops 2005

COLE departed for Baltops 2005 in May 2005 and returned to Philadelphia, PA for a short port visit before returning to Norfolk, VA in July 2005.

Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) "Operation Bold Step"

COLE participated in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) "Operation Bold Step" in late July 2007. Dwight D. Eisenhower strike group consisted of CSG 8, CVW 7, DESRON 28, guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68), guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Cole (DDG 67), the guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman (FFG 69) and the fast-attack submarine USS Boise (SSN 764).

Darrell Samuel Cole

USS Cole is the first warship named for Sergeant Darrell S. Cole, USMC (1920-1945). Sergeant Cole was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his conspicuous gallantry in the campaign at Iwo Jima.

On August 25, 1941, Cole enlisted in the Marine Corps for the duration of the National Emergency. Following boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, he was appointed to the Field Music School for training as a Marine Corps Field Musician (a bugler). He was unhappy in his role of Field Musician, because he had joined a fighting outfit to fight. He had applied for a change in rating, but was refused due to the shortage of buglers. He completed instruction and was transferred to the First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. On August 7, 1942, he reached the shores of Guadalcanal for the first American offensive of World War II, where he had an opportunity to fill in as a Machine Gunner in the absence of the regular gunner.

Cole completed his first overseas tour of duty and returned to the United States in February 1943 where he joined the First Batallion, Twenty-Third Marines, a part of the Fourth Marine Division at Camp Lejune, North Carolina. When the unit moved to California he again asked for relief as a Field Musician and for permission to perform line duties. Due to the shortage of buglers in the Marine Corps, his request was disapproved.

During the first engagement of the Fourth Division at Roi-Namur in the Kwajalein Atoll, Cole, again forsaking his bugle, went in to action as a Machine Gunner. Later, during the battle for Saipan, Cole was actually assigned to a machine gun unit and was even designated as a machine gun section leader. During the battle his squad leader was killed and Cole, although wounded, assumed command of the entire squad. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for ".his resolute leadership, indomitable fighting spirit and tenacious determination in the face of terrific opposition." He was also awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action.

A few days after the battle of Saipan, Cole again led his squad ashore in the invasion of the neighboring islands of Tinian. He continued to build his reputation as "The Fighting Field Musician."

After the Marianas campaigns, he resubmitted his request for a change of rating. This time his request was approved. He was redesignated Corporal "line" and was subsequently promoted to Sergeant in November 1944.

On February 19, 1945, Sergeant Cole led his machine gun section ashore in the D-Day assault of Iwo Jima. Moving forward with the initial assault wave, a hail of fire from two enemy emplacements halted his section's advance. Sergeant Cole personally destroyed them with hand grenades. His unit continued to advance until pinned down for a second time by enemy fire from three Japanese gun emplacements. One of these emplacements was silenced by Cole's machine guns. When his machine guns jammed, armed only with a pistol and one hand grenade, Sergeant Cole made a one-man attack against the two remaining gun emplacements. Twice he returned to his own lines for additional grenades and continued the attack under fierce enemy fire until he had succeeded in destroying the enemy strong points.

Upon returning to his own squad, he was instantly killed by an enemy grenade. By his one-man attack and heroic self-sacrifice, Sergeant Cole enabled his company to move forward against the fortifications and attain their ultimate objective.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:54:47 ZULU