Lakiba Nicole Palmer was born on March 12, 1978. She graduated from San Diego High School in San Diego, California, in 1996, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Nov. 3, 1997.
After completing Basic Training in Great Lakes, Illinois, on Dec. 29, 1997, Palmer was a student at Surface Warfare School Command, also at Great Lakes, completing training on Feb.11, 1998. She reported to USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) on Feb. 23, 1998, and then to Transient Personnel Unit in Norfolk, Virginia, on Feb. 5, 1999. She was stationed at Naval Station Norfolk from April 23, 1999 to July 8, 1999, and then with Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads, Virginia, until May 12, 2000. She reported to USS Cole (DDG 67) on June 2, 2000.
Palmer was killed in the line of duty when a terrorist bomb was detonated along the port side of the ship while it was refueling in Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000.
Seaman Apprentice Palmer was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, and the rank of seaman.
Sources: USS Cole (DDG 67) Med Cruise 2000 (Aug. 8–Nov. 3, 2000) Cruise Book in the collection of the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Navy Department Library. Awards and citations are sourced from the service member’s official military personnel file and listed in the Navy Department Awards Web Service site and may not be complete.