The anniversary of the attack on the USS Cole is upon us. Monday, October 12th marks 20 years since the terrorist attack that claimed 17 brave Sailors and injured 39 others in port Aden, Yemen.
To commemorate the day and honor the memory of those lost, the USS Cole presented a challenge to the crew to create a logo. The winner of that challenge is FCA2 Emilio McPherson, attached to the guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67).
“I saw the competition for the logo design and instantly knew what I wanted to do,” said McPherson, an El Paso, Texas native who has been in the Navy for nearly six years. “Creating the logo, I knew I wanted a silhouette of the ship and 17 stars.”
The actual attacked happened on the port (left) side when terrorist, on a small dinghy, approached the ship and set off explosives, killing themselves in the process.
When it came to the orientation of the ship on the logo, McPherson had an idea of how he wanted it read and be interpreted.
“I had a few people tell me I should flip the ship around to show the side that was attacked,” said McPherson. However, “By keeping the ship heading right, I could show the Cole moving forward away from the attack and into the future while still asking people to remember what happened in the past.”
The Sailor, who is a self-taught artist, was able to see how serious this challenge was when it was presented.
“It means a lot to know that something I created is being utilized so widely and for something as big as this,” said McPherson. “My father actually teared up a bit when he found out that my logo was picked, so the magnitude of this isn't lost for me.”
McPherson’s leadership is also proud that he took the time to create the winning logo.
“I feel humbled and extremely proud of FCA2 McPherson,” said CMDCM Jorge Reyes-Velez, command master chief of the guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67). Reyes-Velez also added that, “FCA2 McPherson demonstrated this unique ability by harmoniously employing his valuable time as a technician with his creative human ability. The result is an excellent 20th anniversary remembrance scene that encompasses our commitment to the 17 warriors that paid the ultimate sacrifice aboard Cole.”
Creating a winning logo, which will be featured across multiple media outlets, while also being a standout Sailor is the kind of thing that makes others proud.
“FCA2 McPherson is an amazing technician always in search of the place where his help is needed the most,” said Reyes-Velez. “He illustrates flexibility and team work by selflessly volunteering for any and every additional task to be performed by his division or department. While on duty he never hesitates to train, all Sailors alike, to the standards of excellence onboard USS Cole; whether it be at noon or in the wee hours of the morning this energetic Sailor radiates positive energy and performs with a smile, his charisma is beyond reproach.”
It’s not only McPherson, though, that shows, and proves, time and time again what determination looks like.
“Sailors are the epitome of service and dedication,” said Reyes-Velez. “And on USS Cole the "Determined Warrior" spirit influences our actions in search of excellence while keeping in our forefront USS Cole's namesake, heritage and tradition.”
It’s that same spirit of service, dedication and determination that rang true in the hearts and souls of the brave Sailors who endured the attack on the USS Cole 20 years ago.
“It's… awe-inspiring to think about the people who fought to keep this ship afloat and the fact that 20 years later, we're still here,” said McPherson.