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

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

4.4 5
by Kirk Lippold
 

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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

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
William J. Perry, 19th Secretary of Defense

"Front Burner is a personal story of loss, and pain - but it is also a story of courage, determination, respect, honor, and integrity that each and every man and woman on the USS Cole demonstrated that day, on September 11, 2001 and indeed today. This book and the story of the men and women that it recounts is an inspiration.”

Kirkus Reviews
“Lippold delivers a personal, opinionated account of the last outrage before 9/11 which should have galvanized our leaders but didn't.”

Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

“Compelling and poignant… [Lippold] ends his main narrative on a high note, writing, ‘The crew of USS Cole saved their ship and their shipmates. All of them are my heroes.' Reading this book or passing the somber Cole memorial at Norfolk Naval Station, one can feel only that they are our heroes as well.”

Huntington News
"Front Burner" is an important work of military history and stands as an essential recounting of a critical moment in America's battle against Al Qaeda.”
 

Kirkus Reviews
A meticulous history of the USS Cole attack and America's response, which Lippold, the ship's commander at the time, considers shamefully weak, laying the groundwork for what followed. On Oct. 12, 2000, suicide bombers attacked the Cole in the port of Aden in Yemen, killing 17 crewmen and injuring twice as many. Eleven months later, 9/11 captured our attention, but the Cole attack remains a vivid memory for the ship's commander. After reviewing his 20-year career in the peacetime Navy, Lippold cuts to the immense explosion, which everyone first assumed was a refueling accident. There follows nearly 200 pages of exhaustive description of the devastating damage, the crew's heroic response, which saved the ship from sinking, and 20 days of assistance, repairs, politics and investigation that did not end when the Cole returned to the United States. In the final 100 pages, the author recounts the fate of the ship (repaired), the lives of the survivors and bereaved and the many inquiries: into the crime, into the Navy's antiterrorism policy and into Lippold's conduct. Traditionally, losing a ship ends its commander's career. Not concealing his resentment, Lippold recounts several historical exceptions and then describes in painful detail how his superiors absolved him of blame but surrendered to political pressure. He was repeatedly denied promotion and retired in 2007. Unlike many military memoirs, this one shows little partisan bias, as the author expresses equal contempt for the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. While the best examination of our failure to take al-Qaeda seriously remains Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower (2006), Lippold delivers a personal, opinionated account of the last outrage before 9/11 which should have galvanized our leaders but didn't.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781610392341
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
04/09/2013
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
408
Sales rank:
235,744
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet 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.

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