The USS Cole is heading to the Middle East for the first time since terrorists bombed the Navy ship in Yemen's port of Aden nearly six years ago, killing 17 sailors.
The guided missile destroyer is one of seven ships with 6,000 sailors and Marines leaving next week to conduct maritime security operations in support of the war on terrorism, the Navy announced Friday. They will be gone six months.
The ships will deploy to the Fifth Fleet's area of responsibility, which includes the Persian Gulf, and once there will receive additional assignments, Kafka said. He said he could not give details about where the ships will go, for security reasons.