IBEW Local Helps
Repair USS Cole
October/November 2001 IBEW Journal
symbol of Americas defiant spirit against terrorism is ready
for action, thanks largely to the efforts of hundreds of members
of IBEW Local 733, Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The same terrorist network that launched the September 11
attacks also zeroed in on the USS Cole, a Navy guided missile
destroyer, in October 2000 in Yemen, killing 17 crew members.
Though the ship sustained serious damage, it has been fixed
with the help of marine electrical journeymen members of the
IBEWsome of the same members who built the ship in the mid-1980s.
Local 733 Business Manager William "Chico" McGill
reported on September 14, the final day of the 36th International
Convention, that repairs were completed. "It is with
pride that I stand in front of this convention to state that
the USS Cole was floated off our shipyard last week and will
be going back into commission to serve this great country,"
McGill told applauding delegates.
Local 733 members, who call the Cole "The Determined
Warrior," were key to getting the Navy ships systems
functioning. And they were vital to the effort to move the
damaged ship from the Mississippi port, where it was taken
for repairs, inland on flat rail cars with the "translation
crew" to the Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula in January
Once the Cole was safely secured on land, Local 733s members
replaced 275 miles of cable, used to power everything from
the ships radar, weapons systems and strategic defense mechanisms
to the galley and berthing areas. "The technologies that
are onboard make it an electricians dream," McGill said,
citing the steam-power generation and distribution network.
"Its a floating city."
Measured at 505 feet long and weighing 8,950 tons, the USS
Cole operates with battle groups and aircraft carriers in
"high-threat areas." Weapons onboard the ship include
the Tomahawk missile and the Aegis, the worlds foremost naval
weapon system. The Cole can launch surface-to-air, surface-to-submarine
and surface-to-surface missiles.
The ship was re-launched and will soon be ready to return
to active duty. After the completion of logistics and supply
support outfitting, the USS Cole will be turned over to its
crew for training and recertification. The destroyer will
be delivered ready for duty with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet at
Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia, next April.