Front Burner: Al Qaeda's Attack on the USS Cole

Front Burner: Al Qaeda's Attack on the USS Cole

by Kirk Lippold

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Overview

On October 12, 2000, eleven months before the 9/11 attacks, the USS Cole docked in the port of Aden in Yemen for a routine fueling stop. At 1118, on a hot, sunny morning, the 8,400-ton destroyer was rocked by an enormous explosion. The ship’s commander, Kirk Lippold, felt the ship violently thrust up and to the right, as everything not bolted down seemed to float in midair. Tiles tumbled from the ceiling, and the ship was plunged into darkness, beginning to sink. In a matter of moments Lippold knew that the Cole had been attacked. What he didn’t know was how much the world was changing around him.

The bombing of the Cole was al Qaeda’s first direct assault against the United States and expanded their brazen and deadly string of terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East. In this gripping first-person narrative, Lippold reveals the details of this harrowing experience leading his crew of valiant sailors through the attack and its aftermath. Seventeen sailors died in the explosion and thirty-seven were wounded—but thanks to the valor of the crew in the perilous days that followed, the ship was saved.

Yet even with al Qaeda’s intentions made clear in an unmistakable act of war, the United States government delayed retaliating. Bureaucrats and politicians sought to shift and pin blame as they ignored the danger signaled by the attack, shirking responsibility until the event was ultimately overshadowed by 9/11.

Front Burner captures a critical moment in America’s battle against al Qaeda, telling a vital story that has—until now—been lost in the fog of the war on terror.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610392341
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 04/09/2013
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 408
Sales rank: 291,086
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Commander Kirk Lippold was the commanding officer of the USS Cole during Al Qaeda's attack in October 2000. Lippold's personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon, among others. He retired from the Navy in 2007 and remains active in current events and national security affairs. He lives in Carson City, Nevada.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Damage to the USS Cole xv

USS Cole: Killed in Action xvii

USS Cole: Wounded in Action xix

Introduction: Nightmare xxi

1 Destination USS Cole 1

2 Deployment to the Middle East 23

3 A "Routine" Refueling Stop 37

4 Attacked 47

5 Saving the Ship 61

6 Saving the Wounded 73

7 The Bucket Brigade 107

8 Assessing the Damage 135

9 Recovering the Fallen 151

10 Recovering From Stress 169

11 Underway Again 201

12 M/V Blue Marlin and USS Tarawa 217

13 Investigation and Responsibility 231

14 The Long Journey Home 267

Epilogue 297

Appendix Threat Condition Measures 337

Notes 347

Index 351

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