[Rendering of the guided missile destroyer USS COLE
At 1118 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. Drawing upon their Navy training and discipline, the crew heroically 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. As a permanent symbol of that strength and resolve, steel from the ship's damaged hull is forged into this plaque. By their sacrifice and bravery in the face of daunting adversity, the crew of USS COLE personified Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
Dedicated October 12, 2001.