Attack on the USS Cole (October 12, 2000)

2015 ceremony commemorating the 15th anniversary of the attack on the USS Cole

Sailors participate in a ceremony commemorating the 15th anniversary of the attack on the USS Cole.


On Thursday, October 12, 2000, the USS Cole, commanded by Kirk Lippold, arrived in Port of Aden, Yemen to refuel. Shortly after it moored, a small craft approached the ship and detonated an explosion, blowing a 40-by-60-foot gash into the side of the warship.The blast hit the vessel's galley, where many of the crew had lined up for food. Seventeen sailors were killed, with an additional 39 wounded. 

The British Royal Navy frigate HM Marlborough diverted course and steamed quickly to the Cole's aid, bringing supplies and medical equipment. Quick damage control saved the vessel, and after it was determined that the keel remained sound, the U.S. Navy tugged the Cole out of the harbor.

The attack was the deadliest on a U.S. vessel since the attack on the USS Stark in 1987, and one of the most significant terrorist incidents prior to 9/11. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, and in 2007, a federal judge found the government of Sudan liable for facilitating it. 

Four crewmen from the USS Cole rest at Arlington. They are: 

​Richard D. Costelow
Section 60, Site 7732

Cherone L. Gunn
Section 60, Site 7733

Kenneth E. Clodfelter
Section 60, Site 7734

Ronald S. Owens
Court 5, Section M1, Column 2, Niche 5