|From: Kramer, C. YN2
Sent: Thursday, October
19, 2000 12:07 PM
To: ENG DEPT; NAV/ADMIN
DEPT; OPS DEPT; SUPPLY DEPT; WEPS/CS DEPT
Subject: USS COLE
and her crew
One of my friends in Norfolk,
forwarded me this letter that was sent to his command. It was written
by an officer who flies SH-60B’s off the USS Hawes. I thought you
might like to read it.
v/r, YN2 Kramer
"It wasn’t until a few days ago though,
that we started doing something that I feel may be the first thing I’ve
seen in my short Naval career that has truly made a difference. Right
now we’re supporting the USS COLE and her crew in Aden. When the
attack occurred we were a day away. Just by luck we happened to be
on our way out of the Gulf and headed towards the Suez and could get here
in a relatively short amount of time. I know what you all have seen
on CNN, because we have seen it too.
I just want you all to know that what
you see doesn’t even scratch the surface. I’m not going to get into
it for obvious reasons. But I will tell you that right now there
are 250+ sailors just a few miles away living in hell on Earth.
I’m sitting in a nice air conditioned state room, they’re sleeping out
on the decks at night. You can’t even imagine the conditions they’re
living in, and yet they are still fighting 24 hours a day to save their
ship and free the bodies of those still trapped and send them home.
As bad as it is, they’re doing an incredible job. The very fact that these
people are still functioning is beyond my comprehension.
Whatever you imagine as the worst,
multiply it by ten and you might get there. Today I was tasked to
photo rig the ship and surrounding area. It looked so much
worse than I had imagined, unbelievable really, with debris and disarray
everywhere, the ship listing, the hole in her side. I wish I had
the power to relay to you all what I have seen, but words just won’t do
it. I do want to tell you the first thing that jumped out at me -
the Stars and Stripes flying. I can’t tell you how that made me feel...even
in this God forsaken hell hole.
Our flag was more beautiful than words
can describe. Then I started to notice the mass of activity going
on below, scores of people working non-stop in 90 plus degree weather to
save this ship. They’re doing it with almost no electrical power
and they’re sleeping (when they can sleep) outside on the decks because
they can’t stand the smell or the heat or the darkness inside. They
only want to eat what we bring them because they’re all scared of eating
something brought by the local vendors.
Even with all that, the USS COLE and
her crew is sending a message guys, and it’s that even acts of cowardice
and hate can do nothing to the spirit and pride of the United States.
I have never been so proud of what I do, or of the men and women that I
serve with as I was today. There are sixteen confirmed dead sailors
who put it on the line for all of us, and some of them are still trapped
Please take a minute to pray for their
families and say a word of thanks for their sacrifice - one made so that
we can live the lives that we do. All of you that serve with me,
thank you. All of you that have loved ones that serve, thank you."
Please feel free to pass this on to
those you think will appreciate it.