On October 12, 2000, at 11:18 a.m., an 8,400-ton destroyer, the USS Cole, was rocked by an enormous explosion. The ship’s commander, Kirk Lippold, watched as tiles tumbled from the ceiling, mugs of coffee tumbled to the floor, and everything not bolted down seemed to float in midair. Lippold knew in a matter of moments that the Cole had been attacked. What he didn’t know was how much the world was changing around him.
Eleven months later, he was debriefed by the CIA and told about Osama bin Laden. By some unbelievable coincidence, that meeting occurred on the morning of September 11, 2001. In a scene that seems almost tailor-made for movie treatment, at the end of this early morning meeting about the looming threat of al-Qaeda, Kirk remarked, “I don’t think America understands. I believe it is going to take a seminal event, probably in this country, where hundreds, if not thousands, are going to have to die before Americans realize that we’re at war with this guy.” Mere moments later, the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The CIA agent who had debriefed him said, “Kirk, I can’t believe you said what you did this morning.”
The truth is that it wasn’t so unbelievable: Lippold had known for 11 months longer than the rest of the nation that al-Qaeda was at war with America. His story has remained untold—until now.
In this thrilling first-person narrative, Lippold reveals the details of his harrowing experience leading a crew of valiant sailors through the deadliest attack on an American vessel since 1987. He also explains how this event was overshadowed by 9/11, swept under the rug by bureaucrats and political operatives, who eventually attempted to lay blame for the attack on Lippold himself, denying him promotion and halting his career.
An essential volume that belongs side by side with The Looming Tower, Ghost Wars, and The 9/11 Commission Report, this book restores a crucial story that has until now been lost in the fog of the war on terror.
Commander Kirk S. Lippold, USN (Ret.), was the commanding officer of the USS Cole when it was attacked by al Qaeda in the port of Aden, Yemen, in October 2000. He and his crew distinguished themselves in the aftermath of that attack by saving the ship, which remains in service today. He received numerous military awards and retired from the Navy in 2007.
©2012 Kirk S. Lippold (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“This book and the story of the men and women that it recounts is an inspiration.” (William J. Perry, former US Secretary of Defense)
“Lippold delivers a personal, opinionated account of the last outrage before 9/11, which should have galvanized our leaders but didn’t.” (Kirkus Reviews)
The fact that CDR Lippold spoke the book. That was a bonus that allowed me to hear in his voice exactly what the words were saying.
The Crew of USS Cole
Teaching innovation to the whoops.
That moment when CDR Lippold was on his way back to the Pentagon. The enormity of the events and emotion from the last 11 months bubbled over. It takes a real Leader to deal with that the way he did.
I recommend this book to Audible listeners and people who have read the book. The words describe the best of Integrity, Responsibility, and Leadership, as it is practiced today by our US Military members. But hearing CDR Lippold's voice, you can feel the command presence, and know the integrity is for real as expressed in the written words.
Thank you Commander Lippold for a wonderful look into the amazing actions of your crew and self. I can only hope that the Navy learned from this cowardice act.
I had two special reasions to read this book which I highly recommend. I have a friend who was on the USS Cole at the time of the attack and only had a small percentage of the total picture of the event and its impact on the crew, captain and the U.S. Navy. This book is a very detailed, extremely honest and graphic, step-by-step explanation of the event from the ship's captain. I also live only a few miles away from where these ships are proudly built at Bath Iron Works.
My friend went though a very difficult time several years after the experience. He was stationed in the area that was hit and lost several friends and shipmates. By chance, he was assigned to a different duty that day and survived. He was overcome by guilt that he survived and his friends didn't. That is not uncommon and now he is dedicated to ensure that the USS Cole, the crew and, especially the 17 sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice, are never forgotten. He recommended this book to me.
I felt as if I were on the ship as events unfolded and Captain Kirk S. Lippold told his story and that of the crew's. I did not want to put it down but needed to at times. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. My friend told me that the ship never came close to sinking. I now understand the proud yet corrective tone in his voice when he said that. This is a story about heroes who gave their lives and heroes who saved their ship in unthinkable circumstances. It is deeply personal and the captain tells the names of the different crew members as the story unfolds. One might state that the level of detail can be overwhelming at times, I believe it makes the story that much more realistic and that much more valuable.
We often hear about 911, yet the details of the USS Cole are seldon heard. I hope this book will help change that. This story should be read and never forgotten.
Having the author narrate his own story personalized a story of heros and American values.
The author's account brought both pride and tears as I listened to a heart wreaching story of the men and women of the USS Cole and their heroic service to our country.
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