|SLUG: 2-267916 U-S / Ship (L)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE= U-S SHIP TRAGEDY (L ONLY)
BYLINE= ALEX BELIDA
INTRO: The U-S Defense Department is vowing not to give in to terrorists by curtailing military deployments abroad. V-O-A Pentagon Correspondent Alex Belida reports the pledge comes following an apparent terrorist attack on a U-S destroyer in Yemen.
TEXT: Officials are still calling the explosion on the U-S-S Cole an "apparent" terrorist attack, one apparently carried out by the crew of a small boat sent out to assist the destroyer as it came into the port of Aden.
But there seems little doubt that it was anything other than a deliberate attempt to claim American lives. U-S Navy divers who have examined the stricken ship's hull have confirmed there was an explosion outside the vessel, ruling out any on-board problem.
Investigators, extra security teams and other support personnel are now flocking to Aden to assist in the bombing probe as well as damage control efforts.
Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon says lessons will be drawn from the incident. But he makes clear the there will not be any pulling-back of U-S naval or other forces overseas.
/// BACON ACTUALITY ///
Clearly, we will do our best to learn from this tragedy. But it doesn't mean we can stop deploying our ships to areas around the world where we're trying to bring stability and it would be an absolute victory for terrorists, if they are behind this attack, if we pulled back and stopped doing our job in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world and we are not going to give them that victory.
// END ACTUALITY //
/// OPT /// Still, Mr. Bacon vows efforts to improve security aboard ships like the Cole.
/// OPT BACON ACTUALITY ///
We're going to continue to do our work but we will try to do it better and more safely. That is what we have been working on in force protection. It's a constant battle to make it better and we will continue that battle.
/// END ACTUALITY /// /// END OPT ///
Navy officials describe the ship's crew as tired after their exertions to keep the Cole afloat and distraught at the loss of shipmates.
But they say the flooding aboard the destroyer has been controlled and some power and communications restored. (Signed)