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Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic

21st Cole Commemoration Held Aboard Naval Station Norfolk

by Lt. j.g. Teren Donovan, SURFLANT Public Affairs
12 October 2021

NAVAL STATION NORFOLK (Oct. 12, 2021) Retired Master Chief Sonar Technician Paul Abney, a USS Cole survivor, speaks to chief petty officer selectees at the USS Cole Memorial. Cole friends, family and shipmates gathered on board Naval Station Norfolk for the 21st remembrance of the USS Cole terrorist attack. Seventeen Sailors lost their lives and another 39 sustained injuries while the crew worked for 96 consecutive hours to keep the ship afloat. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob Milham)
SLIDESHOW | 4 images | 2021 USS Cole Remembrance Ceremony NAVAL STATION NORFOLK (Oct. 12, 2021) Retired Master Chief Sonar Technician Paul Abney, a USS Cole survivor, speaks to chief petty officer selectees at the USS Cole Memorial. Cole friends, family and shipmates gathered on board Naval Station Norfolk for the 21st remembrance of the USS Cole terrorist attack. Seventeen Sailors lost their lives and another 39 sustained injuries while the crew worked for 96 consecutive hours to keep the ship afloat. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob Milham)
 A commemoration ceremony marking the 21st anniversary of the bombing of USS Cole (DDG 67) was held this morning at the Cole Memorial aboard Naval Station Norfolk.

With the ship unavailable and the crew unable to participate in person during the annual commemoration, the remembrance event was videotaped by the Cole crew in advance, shared today online and at the Memorial site before a solemn gathering of Gold Star families, friends, and former Cole Sailors.

Cmdr. Vincent Libasci, III, Cole commanding officer, expressed his pride in respecting the legacy of Cole’s fallen by serving aboard the ship and helping to maintain its warfighting readiness.
"There is no better way to honor the lives of the shipmates we lost and the heroes who saved the ship during those sweltering days in October 2000 than by continuing Cole's mission at sea, contributing to security and freedom around the world, as our heroes laid down their lives to do," he said. 

"They are the perfect examples of duty, courage, and sacrifice, inspiring us each and every day. We shall never forget them."

The tribute included a pre-recorded remembrance event complete with traditional Cole Commemoration elements, including a benediction, ceremonial reading of the names and tolling of the bell for each of the Cole heroes who perished in the attack, along with a 21-gun salute and taps.

Additionally, a 21st Cole Commemoration wreath was placed adjacent to the Memorial, which as always, was a gathering place for solemn reflection.

The guided-missile destroyer’s crew, diverted by operational commitments at sea, prepared the recording Sept. 15 so as to properly honor the occasion and to “Always Remember.”

SURFLANT mans, trains and equips assigned surface forces and shore activities, ensuring a capable force for conducting prompt and sustained operations in support of United States national interests. The SURFLANT force is composed of nearly 80 ships and more than 30 shore commands.
 
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USS Cole (DDG 67)

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