Craig Bryan Wibberley, a Seaman Apprentice in the U.S. Navy, was only 19 when he was killed on board the USS Cole in a terror attack off the coast of Yemen on October 12, 2000.
His memory will be honored at the State of the Union tonight. President Trump invited his father, Tom Wibberley, to attend the address.
Here’s what you need to know.
Craig Wibberley Was Killed on Board the USS Cole, Which Was Bombed off the Coast of Yemen in 2000
Craig Wibberley was on board the destroyer USS Cole when suicide bombers blew a hole in the side of the ship on October 12, 2000. The ship had been refueling at Aden, Yemen at the time of the attack. 17 sailors were killed and 39 others were hurt. The attack was attributed to Al Qaeda.
At the time of his death, Wibberley had been accepted to the Navy Information Technician School. The White House said Wibberley’s commander had also planned to recommend him for Officer Candidate School.
Tom Wibberley told the Herald-Mail in 2009 that he wishes the nation paid more attention to October 12, 2000. “I know everyone looks at Sept. 11 as the beginning of the war on terrorism. Really, today was.”
An Alleged Mastermind of the USS Cole Bombing Was Killed in an Airstrike in January 2019
On January 1, 2019, the United States military located one of the alleged masterminds of the bombing and launched airstrikes. U.S. Central Command confirmed a few days later that Jamal al-Badawi had been killed in the strike. Al-Badawi was captured in Yemen shortly after the USS Cole attack but escaped from custody, according to the FBI. He was apprehended again in 2004, but escaped once more in 2006 and had been on the run ever since.
President Trump shared the news on Twitter: “Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole. We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi. Our work against al Qaeda continues. We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!”
Craig Wibberley Enjoyed Computer Science & His Family Started a Scholarship Fund in His Honor
Craig Wibberley grew up in Williamsport, Maryland, and graduated from Washington County Technical High School in Hagerstown. He wanted to pursue a career in computer science and joined the Navy as an opportunity to further his training.
His family started the Craig Bryan Wibberley Memorial Scholarship Fund in his honor following his death. Each year, four students at Washington County Technical High School are awarded $1,000 scholarships to help them pursue careers in computer science.
In the news release from the White House listing the State of the Union guests, Wibberley was described as a young man who had loved fly fishing, snow skiing, and working with his father on old Corvettes. He would be nearly 40 years old today.