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USS Cole off Yemen Following Saudi Frigate Attack

USS Cole (DDG-67) on Jan. 16, 2017. US Navy Photo

USS Cole (DDG-67) on Jan. 16, 2017. US Navy Photo

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post said the U.S. was set to institute new sanctions on Iraq, that is incorrect. In fact, the U.S. is set to institute sanctions against Iran.

The U.S. has sent a guided missile destroyer off the coast of Yemen on a presence operation following a suicide boat attack on a Saudi frigate this week, a defense official confirmed to USNI News.

USS Cole (DDG-67) is now operating in the Gulf of Aden south of the Bab al-Mandeb strait that links the gulf to the Red Sea as of Friday, the official said.

U.S. 5th fleet officials did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

The destroyer was positioned in reaction to the Monday attack in which a Houthi explosive-laden suicide boat rammed into a Saudi Al Madinah-class frigate in the Red Sea killing two Royal Saudi Naval Forces sailors.

The move was first reported by Reuters on Friday.

The shift in Cole’s position is similar to the tasking of U.S. warships in October following the attack on the UAE leased logistics ship HSV Swift.

On Wednesday, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said as a result the attack on the frigate in the Red Sea — and the Sunday test launch of a ballistic missile outside of Tehran — was now, “on notice.”

“These are just the latest of a series of incidents in the past six months in which Houthi forces that Iran has trained and armed have struck Emirati and Saudi vessels, and threatened U.S. and allied vessels transiting the Red Sea,” read the statement.
“In these and other similar activities, Iran continues to threaten U.S. friends and allies in the region.”

On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Treasury Department announced a new series of sanctions on Iran.

The Norfolk-based Cole left on an independent deployment in December to Europe and the Middle East.

Cole and its crew were the victim of a similar suicide boat attack when it was docked in Yemen in 2000. The attack killed 17 sailors and injured more than 30.

  • Alpha

    Love seeing the Cole in action. Damn fine crew to keep her alive after that hit she took.

  • PolicyWonk

    How unfortunate, that after all this time, especially given the littoral nature of this mission, that neither of our mighty “littoral combat ship” classes are able to provide even one iota of value to the USN (or the taxpayers).

    • old guy

      The Hunk-A-Junk class is only good for the yards and the Congressional crooks, who take campaign money (read BRIBES) to promote crap like them and DD1000 and V-22.

  • Tired_Libertarian

    I can see the crew saying “Go ahead. Try it again and see what happens this time.”

  • Western

    Glad to see the Cole back in service. Anyone know what the current rules of engagement are for that area?

    • Aubrey

      Hopefully they start at “Shoot first” and end at “.”

    • Gen. Buck Turgidson

      lock and load would be a start

  • CBCalif

    Perhaps the most interesting or surprising aspect of this matter is that it is a single ship deployment. There was a time when the U.S. Navy could / would deploy at least a Destroyer Squadron for this type of mission along with the needed AO’s etc over the horizon. Our opponents are quite aware of the meaning of a one ship deployment — and it is not that America is a strong nation.

    • TheEvilBlight

      In about 50 years we’ll be where Britain is now.

      • old guy

        If we can’t overcome the raging, raving, ridiculous, anti-American leftists in the Democratic (and Republican) parties, and the infinite damage done already by our globalist ex-prez Abomination, I agree with you.

  • Steven D.

    This article incorrectly states a new round of sanctions on Iraq. The sanctions were on Iran.

  • Ed L

    Anyone remember when our US Navy when DESRON 12 was homeport in Athens Greece. Our Amphibious squadron was in the LEVANT when the Greek/Cypriot war went going. I was 20 years old at the time and standing condition 3 watches on our MT 32. All of a sudden 4 destroyers lead by the USS Sampson DDG-10 came into view. They must have been doing over 20 knots and all 4 slide into assigned stations (rather handsomely) around our squadron. Impressive.

  • tpharwell

    Here we go again, turning one of our ships in to a target for the sake of another nation involved in a war of its own choosing. The last time was under one president. This time is under another who despises him and thinks that every thing he did was wrong while in office.

    Do we want to get more deeply involved in the Saudi-Yemen war than we already are ? Then what are we waiting for ? Why waste time waiting to see if the Houtis will bite, and needlessly hazard the ship ? (Once or twice again.) Why don’t we just declare war on Yemen right now, start bombing ourselves, and send in the Marines ? After all, we are better at those sorts of things than the Saudis, aren’t we ?

    What is the best case scenario here ? Nothing happens ? Or, we get attacked ? And if attacked, the ship successfully defends itself, as did the Mason – or not ? If nothing happens, should the Cole be told to leave, or ordered in a little closer ? If it is attacked, best case scenario is it gets some live fire practice. Worst, our new President has an excuse for entering another Middle East war. Last week, it was al Qaeda. Next week, will it be their sworn enemies ?

    • TheTruth

      I feel your frustration but I’ve also felt the trillions of dollars getting sucked out of our pockets just for Iraq and Afghanistan. Wars, although had been historical job creators, I don’t believe have the same return on investment as they did back in the 70’s. Billions and billions on the various platforms with tax revenue not able to cover the cost run ups, I think the American people don’t want another Iraq for the rest of this century. Time for the Saudis to pick up the tab for this round.

  • old guy

    Rules of engagement……GUNS FREE!!!

    • Gen. Buck Turgidson

      and loaded

  • Gen. Buck Turgidson

    Hopefully deck sentrys will have more then unloaded M14s,,,the left says today there are no terrorists in and from yemen,,17 kia,,twice that wia,,no concern for military or Veterans also