USS COLE (DD – 155): OPERATION TORCH
Sunday, 8 November 2009
“U.S.S. COLE (155)
“SPECIAL ARTICLE FROM AFRICAN FRONT DESCRIBING AMERICAN ASSAULT LAST SUNDAY. EDITORS NOTE: WRITTEN BY WALTER LOGAN WITH U.S. TASK FORCES IN SAFI, FRENCH MOROCCO. NOVEMBER 9TH (DELAYED).
“A squadron of destroyers on a suicide mission paved the way for capture of this strategic port 140 miles down the coast from the French port of Casablanca. They raced into the harbor in the predawn yesterday [Sunday, 8 November 1942] and took over the docks before the French knew what hit them. Then they held off counterattacks until wave of our assault troops established beachheads; “I watched action from the signal bridge of a transport anchored a few miles offshore with my heavily armed bodyguard Lieut John H Wheldon of the army public relations. Our men crowded the starboard rail waiting for gunfire or the vertical searchlight signals indicating the docks were captured. The suicide ships [USS BERNADOU (DD – 153) and USS COLE (DD – 155)] began moving at four am and through the dark and calm sea. The first destroyer [ USS BERNADOU] began moving at fullspeed and went through Minefields without detection. It rounded the Safi breakwater before the shore batteries detected it.
“Searchlights flashed and tracer bullets began arching toward the destroyers. They fired back with all guns blazing as it headed directly for the beach. Huddled below decks were 150 assault troops. The Captain maneuvered the first destroyer [USS BERNADOU] full astern as they closed to shore where it struck some rocks. Assault troops began climbing down the nets. Other destroyers followed close behind the lead ship. French fire was heavy but American troops drove forward silencing nearby batteries on the cliffs overlooking the tiny harbor. I could see flashes lighting up the sky and red tracer floating toward us. Another destroyer meanwhile [USS COLE] wheeled into the docks and the men climbed ashore and began pushing inland.”