Commander Kirk S. Lippold, USN (Ret.), was the commanding officer of the USS Cole when it was attacked by al-Qaeda in the port of Aden, Yemen, in October 2000. He and his crew distinguished themselves in the aftermath of that attack by saving the ship, which remains in service today. His personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal. He retired from the navy in 2007 and has since served as senior fellow for the advocacy group Military Families United, a nonprofit organization that serves families who have lost loved ones in conflict, as well as those still serving in our armed forces today. He lives in Nevada.