NORFOLK -- Twelve years after terrorists attacked the USS Cole, killing 17 and injuring 39, the ship’s former commanding officer says a day doesn't go by that he doesn’t think of his crew.
Retired commander Kirk Lippold, who now lives in Nevada, says the years and miles have done nothing to diminish his memory of them and of what happened that day in the Port of Aden, Yemen.
“I think of those we lost on my crew every single day, “ he said. “And I think it’s a very good day to pause and reflect on not only those who made a great deal of sacrifice for our nation, but also those young men and women who dug down deep, did what they needed to do to save the USS Cole and their shipmates."
At Naval Station Norfolk there was no formal ceremony marking the occasion. Instead, sailors celebrated the Navy’s 237th birthday.
However, Navy Mid Atlantic Region Commanding Officer, Rear Admiral Tim Alexander, said it is important to remember the Cole.
“And it just exemplifies who we are as an organization, we’re forward deployed, sometimes in harm’s way, and sometimes things happen that are difficult to deal with,"he said. “But the crew of the ship rose to the occasion, saved the ship and we’ve moved on from there. But we will never forget.”
The Cole has long since been repaired, and has deployed overseas numerous times. The ship is now in the Mediterranean Sea doing the nation’s business.