Battleland

Remember The Cole…

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Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter, Richard Costelow, Lakeina Monique Francis, Timothy Lee Gauna, Cheron Luis Gunn, James Rodrick McDaniels, Mark Ian Nieto, Ronald Scott Owens, Lakiba Nicole Palmer, Joshua Langdon Parlett, Patrick Howard Roy, Kevin Shawn Rux, Ronchester Mananga Santiago, Timothy Lamont Saunders, Gary Graham Swenchonis Jr. Andrew Triplett, Craig Bryan Wibberley.

Those are the 17 U.S. sailors who were killed aboard the U.S.S. Cole 10 years ago today as their ship took on fuel in the Yemen seaport of Aden.

The grim anniversary is worth noting for several reasons:

– The Navy has dramatically changed how it defends its vessels while in port.

– The top story in today’s English-language Yemen Post declares:

U.S. May Set up Naval Base in Yemen to Face Al-Qaeda Threat – Envoy

The U.S. may build a naval base in Yemen to face Al-Qaeda, but for the time being, there is still a chance to tackle the terrorist threat before building the base, after Yemen realized early the threat, the U.S. ambassador said on Monday.

At a press conference held at the headquarters of the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate, the newly appointed envoy to the country Gerald Feierstein said the U.S. is committed to providing Yemen with financial and technical assistance and necessary equipment to face Al-Qaeda threat and secure its borders.

– There remains a sense among U.S. national security experts that a more aggressive response to such an attack on a U.S. warship was warranted. “We long ago realized that if the American government had not let the Cole attack go unanswered, and if our investigation had not been so constrained, we could have undermined Al Qaeda and perhaps even averted the 9/11 attack,” writes former FBI agent Ali H. Soufan in today’s New York Times.

– Soufan adds that the U.S. inaction is “an insult to the 17 dead sailors, their families and our national honor.”

But he’s wrong there. Last December, Johann Gokool, 31, of Homestead, Fla. — who lost a leg in the attack and left the Navy with a 100 percent disability because of his wound and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, died in bed, apparently during one of the violent night-time panic attacks he suffered ever since the Cole blast.

 

Petty Officer 3rd Class Johann Gokool / U.S. Navy

 

He talked about the explosion all the time. “Anybody who would listen, he would talk,” his sister, Natala, told the Miami Herald after her 31-year-old brother’s death. “He didn’t like to be in public in strange places…He’d be stuck in his room for days. He lived like an owl.”

So let’s have Johann join his shipmates, where he belongs:

Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter, Richard Costelow, Lakeina Monique Francis, Timothy Lee Gauna, Johann Gokool, Cheron Luis Gunn, James Rodrick McDaniels, Mark Ian Nieto, Ronald Scott Owens, Lakiba Nicole Palmer, Joshua Langdon Parlett, Patrick Howard Roy, Kevin Shawn Rux, Ronchester Mananga Santiago, Timothy Lamont Saunders, Gary Graham Swenchonis Jr. Andrew Triplett, Craig Bryan Wibberley.

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