On the morning of October 12, 2000, the USS Cole, under the command of Commander Kirk Lippold, docked in Aden harbor for a routine fuel stop in Yemen. At around 11:18 a.m. local time, a small craft approached the port side of the 8,400-ton destroyer . A blast — believed to have been caused by 400 to 700 pounds of explosives — rocked the ship.

Twelve years later, Americans should pause to remember the attack on the USS Cole and the 17 U.S. sailors who were killed and 39 others injured by the explosion.

The attack was one of only four attributed to al-Qaeda prior to 9/11. It remains one of the deadliest attacks against a U.S. Naval vessel.

Heritage recently had the honor to host Lippold to discuss his gripping and emotional story of that day and the courage of the crew in the perilous days that followed, which he recounts in “Front Burner: Al Qaeda’s Attack on the USS Cole.” Written in the first-person narrative, Lippold includes details of the attack and its aftermath.