On Oct. 12, 2000, the USS Cole (DDG 67) was attacked by a small watercraft, exploding on the portside of the U.S. Navy ship, killing 17, and leaving 39 injured.
The U.S. Navy has changed since that terrorist attack in 2000, creating a squadron that would prevent such attacks from happening again. The Navy formed the Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron, which consists of Navy personnel from different rates in order to conduct security patrols while the ship is in port.
Maritime Expeditionary Squadron 4 provides harbor defense for U.S. naval assets picking up or dropping off supplies in the port of Djibouti.
As Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bruce Hernandez, a MSRON 4 boatswain’s mate from Queens, N.Y explains it, when supply lines are cut off, that’s when there’s mission failure. So it’s the job of the Maritime Expeditionary Squadron to ensure that those who need the supplies get it so they can complete the mission.
“We will do what it takes to complete the mission,” Hernandez said.
U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. John Connors, MSRON 4 intelligence officer from Greenwich, Ct. , said when the squadron arrives on station, the assets in port need to be defended every minute of every hour of every day. Then when the U.S. vessels are in port, MSRON sailors are out on the water with weapons at the ready, 24 hours a day, seven days a week in any weather conditions.
“Overcoming the adverse weather is something you have to do,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Lincoln May, MSRON 4 electrician’s mate from East St. Louis, Ill. “You just get used to it.”