Cole Explosion Death Toll Rises
By James Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 2000 -- Three more sailors have died
in an apparent terrorist attack against the USS Cole in
Aden, Yemen. This brings the death toll to seven. Ten more
sailors are missing.
The Navy has identified those killed or missing. Those
Electronics Technician First Class Richard Costelow,
Morrisville, Pa.; Signalman Seaman Recruit Cheron Ouis
Gunn, Rex, Ga.; Seaman James Rodrick McDaniels, Norfolk,
Va.; Seaman Recruit Lakiba Nicole Palmer, San Diego;
Operations Specialist Second Class Timothy Lamont Saunders,
Ringold, Va.; Ensign Andrew Triplett, Macon, Miss. and
Seaman Apprentice Craig Bryan Wibberley, Williamsport, Md.
Those listed as missing are:
Hull Maintenance Technician Third Class Kenneth Eugene
Clodfelter, Mechanicsville, Va.; Mess Management Specialist
Seaman Lakeina Monique Francis, Woodleaf, N.C.; Information
Systems Technician Seaman Timothy Lee Gauna, Rice, Texas;
Engineman Second Class Mark Ian Nieto, Fond Du Lac, Wis.;
Electronics Warfare Technician Third Class Ronald Scott
Owens, Vero Beach, Fla.; Engineman Fireman Joshua Langdon
Parlett, Churchville, Md.; Fireman Apprentice Patrick
Howard Roy, Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y.; Electronics Warfare
Technician Second Class Kevin Shawn Rux, Portland, N.D.;
Mess Management Specialist Third Class Ronchester Mananga
Santiago, Kingsville, Texas and Fireman Gary Graham
Swenchonis, Jr., Rockport, Texas.
While not confirming a terrorist attack, Chief of Naval
Operations Adm. Vern Clark said he can't imagine what else
could have caused the damage.
Cohen said that while the United States could not
definitively prove terrorism, "If ... we determine that
terrorists attacked our ship and killed our sailors, then
we will not rest until we have tracked down those who are
responsible for this vicious and cowardly act."
Cohen extended his sympathies to the families of those
killed, missing or wounded in the incident. "All Americans
can be proud of the men and women who protect our country
around the world," he said during a Pentagon news
conference. "The world is safer because of their service,
and their dedication to our ideals of freedom and security
makes their loss even more painful."
The 35 sailors injured in the incident have all been
medically evacuated, Navy officials said. French transports
evacuated 11 sailors to a hospital in Djibouti. The other
22 are being evacuated to a Landstuhl Army Hospital in
The search is still underway for the sailors listed as
missing in the explosion.
An FBI team is on its way to Aden. "The team consists of
evidence collection experts, investigators and forensics
experts," said Steven Barry, supervisory special agent in
the FBI's National Press Office. The agents come from field
offices, headquarters and the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.
Barry said the team would be able to assess whether the
incident was an act of terrorism.
The FBI team will work with agents from the Naval
Investigative Service. The FBI Legal Attache based in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is also on the site. "Three P-3
Orion's with medical personnel, Explosive Ordnance disposal
specialists and Navy investigators are in Yemen to begin to
determine a cause for the incident," Navy officials said.
Navy officials said flooding aboard the ship is contained,
and the Cole is listing to port at 4 degrees. Two Navy
ships are en route to Aden and expect to arrive there Oct.
The CNO said the Cole followed all security procedures when
it arrived in Yemen. "Their threat condition posture was
threat condition Bravo," Clark said during a Pentagon news
conference Oct. 12. "I have talked to the [commander Fifth
Fleet in Bahrain] a number of times today and reviewed the
bidding on this, and they were in the posture that they
were required to be in for this threat condition and
entering this port, which would include armed personnel
U.S. ships have refueled in Aden 12 times in past year,
Navy officials said.
Cohen said the attack would not stop the United States from
its search for peace in the region.
"The United States is a global power with global
responsibilities, and as a result, we face global risks,"
he said. "In the wake of this tragedy, I want to be very
clear about one point. We will continue to protect our
national interests around the world, in the Middle East,
and elsewhere. No one should doubt our resolve to remain a
force for peace and for stability, and no one should assume
that they can force us to retreat. No one should assume
they can attack us with impunity."