All Sailors are taught in boot camp about the events that unfolded on Oct. 12, 2000, to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG-67) and are made to understand the importance of those events.
The story of the USS Cole made a significant impact on one United States Marine corporal who, at the time, was pregnant with her son. Paying tribute to her fallen fellow service members, she named her son in honor of their sacrifice.
"I thought it would be a beautiful living tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in that attack by naming my son Cole," she said. "I already knew at the time that I was having a boy. I thought it was a strong, fitting name to honor those who died as part of the attack and this country and military that I am so proud to have served."
At the time, she would not have expected that twenty years later, her son, Gunner's Mate Seaman Apprentice Cole Dean Broughton, would get to honor his namesake by serving aboard the decks of that same ship.
"I was surprised when I found out I was going to be on the very ship that gave me my name," said Cole Dean Broughton. "I feel honored being on the ship where 17 Sailors paid the ultimate price. I'm proud to be serving on a ship that has such a rich history."
Cole is observing the 20th anniversary of the bombing on Monday, Oct. 12, 2000. The anniversary event serves as a reminder of the Sailors' courage and resiliency who successfully fought the ship that day and as a way to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their nation.
On that fateful day, 20 years ago, al-Qaeda suicide bombers blasted a hole in the port side of the ship as it was refueling in Yemen, killing 17 Sailors and injuring another 37. For the next 96 hours, the Sailors aboard fought fires and flooding in an attempt to keep the ship afloat.
"The USS Cole symbolizes resiliency because it survived the bombing, made it back home, and was able to be brought back afloat so that it can still be used today," said Cole Dean Broughton. "The USS Cole symbolizes courage because of the Sailors aboard that kept it afloat with over 96 hours of damage control efforts that day. She was able to be kept afloat and be restored because of the determination of all the Sailors aboard. That's why we are the determined warriors."