The End of the Line?

The Navy has formally struck from its promotion list Cmdr. Kirk Lippold, the commander of USS Cole when it was attacked by suicide bombers in Yemen in 2000, reports the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. Lippold’s name had languished on the list since 2002, when the Navy’s two top leaders at the time—Secretary Gordon England and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark—approved his promotion to captain. Since then, wrote Lippold in a June 2006 letter to Air Force Magazine, his promotion has remained “in an undetermined status … due to political concerns.” Lippold took exception when our April article “The Second Sacking of Terryl Schwalier,” said he had not been “faulted.” He agreed that he was not faulted for the deadly suicide bombing, but said that a later investigation chastised him and his “entire chain of command” for their inability “to anticipate this new type of threat.” He noted that today’s military still has no defense against suicide terrorists. Lippold also noted that those in his chain of command had received promotions or were elevated to jobs with more responsibility.