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Trump invites father of slain USS Cole sailor to State of Union

The MV Blue Marlin transporting the USS Cole, October 31, 2000. (U.S. Navy/Released)
February 05, 2019

President Donald Trump will give his second State of the Union speech on Tuesday, and he has invited a list of special guests.

Tom Wibberley, the father of a U.S. Navy sailor killed in the USS Cole terror attack, is one of the 13 guests Trump invited to attend his address in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber, according to a White House press release on Monday.

Wibberley’s son, Craig Wibberley, was aboard the USS Cole when it was struck by a terrorist attack on Oct. 12, 2000. The ship was docked in Yemen’s Aden Harbor for refueling when a small boat filled with explosives was detonated aside the USS Cole.

Craig Wibberley and 16 other U.S. sailors were killed in the attack. Another 39 sailors were injured.

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It was the last major attack carried out by Al Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks the following year.

Last month, a U.S.-backed airstrike reportedly killed the terrorist behind the attack, Jamel Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi.

“Our GREAT MILITARY has delivered justice for the heroes lost and wounded in the cowardly attack on the USS Cole. We have just killed the leader of that attack, Jamal al-Badawi. Our work against al Qaeda continues. We will never stop in our fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism!” Trump tweeted on Jan. 6.

A predator drone reportedly struck Al-Badawi’s vehicle in an isolated attack as he was driving alone in the Ma’rib Governorate located in central Yemen.

Another mastermind behind the attack, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is awaiting trial at Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba. The delays have infuriated Tom Wibberley, who says the government is not holding anyone responsible for his son’s death.

“[Al-Nashiri has] been given every right that you and I have,” Wibberley told Herlad-Mail Media in October 2018. “As far as I’m concerned, when the CIA got done with him, they should have shot him and thrown him down a well and been done with him.”

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“They should be getting back on track,” he added. “This is the 19th anniversary and still all of this is going on. It’s ridiculous how this has been dragged out.”

A scholarship fund was created in Craig’s honor for computer science majors, a passion of his.

Trump’s other guests are those who have been touched by other major experiences relating to notable issues. The guests have been affected by drugs, illegal immigration, a mass shooting, illness, drug and human trafficking, bullying and more.

Members of Congress will also bring guests of their own to the speech, which will be broadcasted at 9 p.m. EST.