Craig Wibberley Honored at State of the Union Address

Craig Bryan Wibberley

Craig Bryan Wibberley.

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

File of USS Cole and aftermath of terrorist attackAPTN At sea – File 1. Front view of USS Cole sailing 2. Various interior shots of crew at work on board 3. Aerial shot of USS Cole sailing APTN Aden, Yemen – October 13, 2000 4. Various of USS Cole in Aden harbour after explosion with white cover over hole in side of ship APTN Aden, Yemen – Overnight October 12-13, 2000 5. Night shots of ambulances carrying US casualties to hospital (AUDIO MUTE) APTN Aden, Yemen – October 13, 2000 6. Various of soldiers patrolling US military site during state of high alert 7. Sniffer dog and handler checking for explosives under car APTN Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre, Germany – October 14, 2000 8. Various of wounded USS Cole crew arriving on bus APTN Ramstein, Germany – October 13, 2000 9. US Air Force plane carrying coffins taxiing 10. Various of US military personnel carrying coffins of dead USS Cole crew off plane APTN Pentagon, Washington DC, USA – January 19, 2001 11. William Cohen walking into briefing room 12. SOUNDBITE: (English) Defence Secretary William Cohen "We must constantly search for and find the so-called seams in our forced protection plans before our enemies do. In the case of Cole, we did not do so. We were not complacent, but the terrorists found new opportunities before we found new protections." US Department of Defense Gulf of Aden, Yemen – October 12, 2000 13. Still of USS Cole with hole on starboard side 14. Close-up still of USS Cole with hole on starboard side STORYLINE: Shortly after noon on October 12, 2000 in the port of Aden, two suicide bombers detonated a dinghy full of explosives alongside the warship USS Cole, blasting a hole in her side and killing 17 US sailors. The 8,600-ton, 505-foot (154-metre) guided-missile destroyer – one of the world's most advanced – had been moored in the middle of the Yemeni capital's harbour for refuelling when the terrorist attack occurred. The explosion ripped through the ship's half-inch steel hull, destroying the engine room and mess where sailors had been eating lunch. The incident placed U-S forces in Aden and around the world on a state of high alert. Wounded crew members were flown to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in Germany, a U-S military facility. Coffins of the dead sailors were also transported to Germany, before being returned to the United States. The United States believes exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden is behind the Cole attack. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, for which bin Laden is also the prime suspect, investigations by the F-B-I into the Cole blast have taken on a new resonance. The Yemeni government said in October 2001 that it was ready to begin a trial against eight suspects. But the United States has asked Aden authorities to postpone the trial to allow its investigators more time to find those who funded and organised the attack. Yemeni officials announced as recently as October 10, 2001 that they had detained a ninth suspect. On January 19, 2001 – a day before leaving office – U-S Defense Secretary William Cohen cleared the military chain of command of negligence in the Cole bombing. In a warning even more chilling in the wake of the September 11 attacks, Cohen stated that weaknesses – or "seams" – in military protection plans needed to be found before other terrorists took advantage of them. You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/b8fea43fb15125ae5dd91f61e7525a8e Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork2015-07-30T11:13:42.000Z

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

Tom Wibberley.

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.