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Library receives Cole documents

March 08, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hundreds of pages of memos, reports, interviews and diagrams that were part of the government investigation into the October 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole can now be found at the Washington County Free Library.

Williamsport resident Thomas Wibberley, whose son Craig was one of the 17 sailors killed in the attack, recently donated his copy of the report to the library.

"I just figured that with the whole incident, and Craig being from this area, (the library) would be a good place for them instead of me just putting them in the attic," Wibberley said.

"I felt the library was the ideal place for the report to be so generations to come can research what happened," he said.

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Craig Wibberley and Patrick Roy, of Keedysville, were killed Oct. 12, 2000, when terrorists in a small boat pulled up alongside the USS Cole as it refueled in a Yemen harbor, and blew a hole in the Navy ship. Wibberley and Roy both were 19.

Thomas Wibberley said the families of the service members killed in the attack were given copies of the report about a year ago.

The Wibberleys' copy is in the General Reference Service department on the second floor of the library in downtown Hagerstown. The department generally is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment in the afternoons.

Library Director Mary Baykan said the report eventually will be moved to the library's Western Maryland Room.

The documents fill four large three-ring binders, one small binder and three thin blue folders.

The documents include summaries of interviews with sailors who were on the USS Cole and reports from high-ranking Navy officials. Most of the documents have some sections or lines blackened out.

The documents are a "valuable addition to our collection," Baykan said.

"What happened on the Cole is now a major part of our local history," she said, noting that while he was in high school Craig Wibberley did an internship at the library.

"(The documents) will be an archival record of what happened to the Cole, and be available for others to research this in the future," she said.

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