Remembering the Cole
Ten years ago, al-Qaeda recruits piloted a small boat loaded with explosives alongside the USS Cole while it was docked in Aden, Yemen. The ensuing blast killed 17 US sailors and injured dozens more. We reconstruct the events of that day, and we examine America's security in the days and decade after the attack.


"There was a thunderous explosion. You could feel all 505 feet and 8400 tons of guided missile destroyer violently thrust up and to the right."
– Kirk Lippold, retired US Navy Commander

That guided missile destroyer was the USS Cole. And the explosion on October 12, 2000 was a terrorist attack. The blast tore a 40-foot hole in the side of the ship, and killed seventeen sailors. "We will find out who is responsible," vowed President Clinton, "and hold them accountable." The U.S. found out al-Qaeda was responsible, but did not hold them accountable: no missile strikes, no court trials. Ten years gone, the Cole bombing is still an open wound. "The nation reacted to 9/11," says Commander Lippold, "but before 9/11 there was 10/12."

Sailors aboard the USS Cole tell their stories about surviving the attack on October 12, 2000.
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Jordana Gustafson reports on crewmembers’ efforts to save wounded shipmates and to keep the ship from sinking.
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Deborah Amos looks back at the investigation into the Cole bombing. She examines the difficulties US authorities faced as the they worked the Cole case, and the critical evidence they uncovered.
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Anton Gunn remembers the day his brother, Cherone Lewis Gunn, was killed aboard the Cole.
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Deborah Amos speaks with Dr. Philip Zelikow, Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, about the continuing search for justice and the connections between 10/12 and 9/11.
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Sailors, family members and investigators reflect on seeking closure ten years after the attack.
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Video Extra

Jesse Neal, a sailor on the USS Cole, had just woken up from a nap when a blast tore through the hull of the ship. Instead of joining his best friend in the engine room, he hit snooze on his alarm, which saved his life. His friend wasn't so lucky.

In the years following the attack, Neal mourned the loss of his best friend and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He eventually left the Navy, and soon found a way to channel his grief and anger: TNA wrestling.


Featured Experts

Philip D. Zelikow
Professor Zelikow has held major positions in both academe and government, and is an award-winning author. Professor Zelikow is currently Professor of History at the University of Virginia. Previously, he was the Director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs, Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, and Counsel at the U.S. State Department, a deputy to Secretary Rice.


Remembering the Cole / Executive Producer: Aaron Lobel / AAM Producers: Monica Bushman, Sean Carberry, Jordana Gustafson, Matt Ozug, Chris Williams. With editing by Martha Little / Web Producer: Javier Barrera / Photo: Wikipedia.

Host: Ray Suarez / Length: 51 minutes / Airdate: Oct 2011

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