The officer who commanded the USS Cole when it was attacked in Yemen in 2000 will not be promoted because he did not meet the standards expected of commanding officers, the U.S. Navy said on Monday.
Almost six years after the al Qaeda attack that killed 17 sailors while the American destroyer was refueling, Navy Secretary Donald
Winter pulled Cmdr. Kirk Lippold off a promotion list, saying he was not qualified to rise to the rank of captain, the Navy said in a statement.
Secretary Winter determined that CDR Lippold's actions as the Commanding Officer of USS COLE prior
to the attack on October 12, 2000 did not meet the high standard he expects of Commanding Officers, and, based on this, CDR Lippold was not the best and fully qualified for promotion to the higher grade, the Navy said.
The Cole was attacked and severely damaged when a boat filled with explosives pulled alongside it and detonated during a stop in Aden harbor. That led to a review of security procedures.
While a Navy investigation found security lapses on the Cole before the attack, it did not punish Lippold -- a decision supported by then-Defense Secretary William Cohen.
The Navy on Monday said Winter reviewed the findings and recommendations of that investigation in his decision to pull Lippold's name from the promotion list.