, , , , , , ,

The USS Stark incident occurred during the Iran–Iraq War on May 17, 1987, when an Iraqi jet aircraft fired missiles at the American frigate USS Stark. Thirty-seven United States Navy personnel were killed and twenty-one others were wounded. The Iraqi government later apologized for the attack.

Many Americans are at least vaguely aware of the fact that Islam has a long and violent history. Even when we focus just on attacks against the US, the events are numerous. But there are a few I’d like to take this occasion on the 10th Anniversary of the USS Cole, to remind us that this is a cruel and violent foe. Islam is not a religion of peace, as the politically correct crowd would have us all believe. The evidence of this is the lack of repercussion or accountability of the “radical element” by the “peaceful Muslims.”

USS Stark, a Perry class guided missile frigate, was under the command of Captain Glenn R. Brindel and was part of the Middle East Task Force. She was sailing off the Saudi Arabian coast near the Iran–Iraq War exclusion boundary, the area of sea off Iran and Iraq. The Iraqis attacked with a Dassault Mirage F1 armed with 1,500 pound Exocet missiles. It took off from the airbase of Shaibah at 20:00 and headed south into the Persian Gulf also along the coast. The aircraft was flying 5,000 feet above the water at 550 miles per hour. An AWACS plane on patrol nearby, with an American and Saudi Arabian crew, first detected the incoming Iraqi jet and informed the Stark which picked up the aircraft on radar, 200 miles out. When it came within view just before 10:00 pm, it was off the Stark’s port side beam.

The Iraqis attacked with a Dassault Mirage F1 armed with 1,500 pound Exocet missiles. On June 21, 2011, agreement was reached between the governments of the United States and Iraq regarding claims of United States citizens against the regime of Saddam Hussein. A fund of $400 million has been established by the Iraqi government to compensate prisoners of war and hostages in the first Gulf War, and those killed or injured in the 1987 attack on the USS Stark. The US State Department was establishing a mechanism to process applications for compensation.

According to reports, Captain Brindel was not alarmed according to witnesses, and he ordered his radioman to send a message at 10:09, “Unknown aircraft, this is U.S. Navy warship on your 078 for twelve miles. Request you identify yourself.” When the message was not responded to, a second was sent but still there was no reply. At 10:10 Captain Brindel was informed that the Iraqi aircraft had locked his Cyrano-IV fire-control radar onto the ship, then the F-1 fired a missile from twenty-two miles away and a second at fifteen miles. Suddenly the jet banked left and began to withdraw. Stark’s search radar and ESM systems failed to detect the incoming missiles and it was not until seconds before the first hit that the Americans realized they were under fire. The first Exocet came in at just over ten feet above the sea and struck the port side hull near the bridge. It failed to detonate but rocket fuel ignited and caused a large fire which spread throughout the post office, the store room and the combat operations center.

The second Exocet struck the port side as well and exploded, leaving a ten by fifteen foot hole in the frigate’s side. Electronics for the Stark’s Standard missile defense went out and Captain Brindel did not order his men to return fire. The AWACS plane was still in the area and just after witnessing the attack, it radioed a nearby Saudi airbase to send aircraft for an interception but the ground controllers did not have the authority to order a sortie so the Iraqi jet escaped unharmed. The USN rules of engagement applicable at the time allowed the STARK to defend herself after sufficiently warning the hostile aircraft. Twenty-nine men were killed in the explosion and fire, and eight sailors died later of wounds. Twenty-one others were wounded. Of the thirty-seven dead, two Americans were lost at sea.

Throughout the remainder of the night and the following day, the Americans fought the fire which burned for almost twenty-four hours. Captain Brindel also ordered the starboard side flooded so as to keep the hole on the port side above water, this helped keep the frigate from sinking. A distress call was sent out after the first missile hit, it was received by USS Waddell, which was in the area. The Waddell arrived after the fire was under control and provided an escort for the Stark as she slowly made her way to Bahrain. The incident became the first and last successful anti-ship missile attack on a United States Navy warship.

The USS Cole will be placed aboard the Norwegian heavy transport ship M/V Blue Marlin and transported back to the United States for repair. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer was the target of a suspected terrorist attack in the port of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000, during a scheduled refueling. The attack killed 17 crew members and injured 39 others.

Oct. 12, 2000: USS Cole Attacked in Yemen [VIDEO link]

Ten years ago today, the US was struck by yet another “terrorist” hit as the USS COLE On the morning of Thursday, October 12, 2000, USS Cole, under the command of Commander Kirk Lippold, docked in Aden harbor for a routine fuel stop. Cole completed mooring at 09:30. Refueling started at 10:30. Around 11:18 local time (08:18 UTC), a small craft, seen routinely around the ships, approached the port side of the destroyer. Two men stood and seemed to salute and immediately, an explosion occurred, creating a 40-by-40-foot gash in the ship’s port side.

Prior to the attack on the USS Cole, members of al-Qaeda attempted an attack on USS The Sullivans while in port at Aden, Yemen on 3 January 2000 as a part of the 2000 millennium attack plots. The plan was to load a boat full of explosives and explode near The Sullivans. However the boat was so overladen that it sank, forcing the attack to be abandoned. Later, al-Qaeda repeated this type of attack successfully bombing the USS Cole on 12 October 2000.

The USS Cole is towed away from the port city of Aden, Yemen, into open sea by the Military Sealift Command ocean-going tug USNS Catawba on Oct. 29, 2000. Cole will be placed aboard the Norwegian heavy transport ship M/V Blue Marlin and transported back to the United States for repair.

According to former CIA intelligence officer, Robert Finke, the blast appeared to be caused by explosives molded into a shaped charge against the hull of the boat. Around 400 to 700 pounds (200–300 kg) of explosive are said to have been used. The blast hit just below the ship’s galley, where crew were lining up for lunch, blowing it up through the deck above it. The crew fought flooding in the engineering spaces and had the damage under control after 3 days.

17 sailors were killed and 39 were injured in the blast. The injured sailors were taken to the United States Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near Ramstein, Germany, and later, back to the United States. The attack was the deadliest against a U.S. Naval vessel since the Iraqi attack on the USS Stark on May 17, 1987.

*NOTE: Much of this information is from Wikipedia under the links to the 3 US ships: USS Stark, USS The Sullivans, USS Cole.

Lest we forget …
In honor of the lives sacrificed in these incidents for FREEDOM’s sake.