WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Navy Birthday ALMAR 037/00 message is being presented to all Marines from the Commandant. He states on October 12, a horrendous blast seriously damaged the USS Cole, killing precious American servicemen and women. Later the crew faced additional challenges as bulkheads gave way and the ship took on additional seawater. As expected, the crew of the USS Cole rose to the occasion and displayed extraordinary tenacity in saving their shipmates and their ship. Throughout this ordeal, these courageous sailors have demonstrated the fortitude and character that have made the U.S. Navy the best naval force in the world.
The brave men and women of the USS Cole were doing what Navy sailors have done from the very earliest days of our nation - going in harm's way in support of United States interests. While understanding the possible risks, they recognized that forward engagement enables world stability and peace. This mission has been a U.S. Navy core strength since its birth.
This terrible incident puts a somber note on what should have been a joyous occasion as we commemorate the U.S. Navy birthday for two hundred and twenty-five years, Navy sailors have focused on mission accomplishment and the success of our nation. The actions of the crew of the USS Cole, occurring while they faced the heartbreaking loss of their shipmates, certainly lived up to this reputation.
On behalf of all Marines, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the crew, family and friends of the USS Cole. We are heartened by the steadfast resolve of the crew of the USS Cole and are proud to stand firm alongside our Navy brethren in service to our nation.
J. L. Jones, General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps