Cole’s bell ‘picked’ and recovered
Here we see the original brass bell from the USS Cole (DD-155), a Wickes-class “four-piper” destroyer laid down in the last year of the Great War, named for Maj. Edward Ball Cole, a Marine killed at Belleau Wood, and commissioned in 1919.
The hard-charging vessel helped evacuate refugees from the Greco-Turkish War, looked for survivors of the wreck of the airship Akron, and served on FDR’s risky Neutrality Patrol in the early pre-Pearl Harbor days of the U.S. involvement in WWII.
Once the balloon went up took part in the Torch Landings– where Cole raced in with two other four-pipers and landed 175 raiders drawn from the Army’s 47th INF Rgt under Vichy French fire at Safi, Morocco.
Notably, this landing took place exactly 76 years ago today, on 8 November 1942.
She also escorted 7 convoys across the North Atlantic and took part in the invasion of Sicily. For her wartime service, she picked up a Presidential Unit Citation (for the Safi action) and three battle stars.
Decommissioned 1 November 1945, Cole was sold for scrap in 1947 and her bell, seen above, placed in storage by the Navy.
Well, it was apparently loaned out and then fell off the map for 70 years.
Last year, the guys from American Pickers came across it at a location in New Hampshire and, after doing the research, have it back to the Navy.
I met the guys from the show a couple years ago in Louisiana when I literally bumped into them while combing through an antique store for militaria. Great guys and good on em.