USS Cole (DDG 67) Book of Condolences

"Survive and Thrive in Chaos"

Rear Admiral John Morgan sent this letter to one of the Washington newspapers, with copies to the shipyards (Bath Iron Works and Ingalls Shipbuiling) that build Arleigh Burke class destroyers. Rear Admiral Morgan was the "plankowner" Commanding Officer of USS Arliegh Burke (DDG 51).

-Andrew Toppan


The tragedy that has befallen USS COLE (DDG67) has many sides. Sometimes in strange ways, tragedies can also capture the goodness of an institution like the Navy.

As the first Captain of the first ship of this class of Destroyers, I have a different perspective when I look at the damage to COLE. Having stood on the first piece of steel laid in these ships; having touched and traced every engineering system in these ships; and having served as the Captain of one of these ships longer than any officer in the Navy; I see three things when I look at the sea flooding freely into COLE’s port side. I see:

    1. A Great Captain
    2. A Great Crew
    3. A Great Design, Engineering, and Shipbuilding Team

Imagine a 40-foot gash in the side of a ship at the waterline, yet the ship is steady with only a 4-degree list! TITANIC sank by striking a stationery iceberg. A single torpedo with less explosive power than the sophisticated terrorist bomb has sunk many a ship. Yet, COLE absorbed devastating damage and stayed steady. Here’s why:

In the next few days I will inevitably mourn as I watch the flag draped coffins of American sailors coming home from important and courageous duty in far away places. But as I mournfully stare at those American flags, I will know one thing - That Captain; that Crew and their fallen shipmates; those engineers; and those shipbuilders - they are the stars in the field of blue.

Rear Admiral John Morgan, U.S. Navy

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