ITSN Tim Gauana was killed along with 17 other Sailors when the USS COLE (DDG 67) attacked by terrorist was refueling in Yemen’s Aden harbor. 39 other Sailors were injured in the attack. This was the deadliest attack against a United States naval vessel since 1987 when the USS STARK (FFG 31) was attacked.
ITSN Tim Gauana would have been 38 years old today.
The following is from the Daily Sun Staff:
By JUSTIN LEWIS/DAILY SUN STAFF
ENNIS – The flags flying over the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday were honoring an “American Hero” that was laid to rest that afternoon in Ennis.
Memorial services were held for Timothy Gauana, 21, of Rice, Wednesday at the Church of God in Ennis.
Gauana was one of 17 American sailors killed in a terrorist attack on the USS Cole Oct. 12.
Navy officials say that terrorists committed the suicide bombing that ripped a 30 foot by 40 foot hole in the hull of the USS Cole in the Port of Aden, Yemen.
The Reverend Edwin Lipsey of Waxahachie expressed apologies from Congressman Martin Frost for not being at the funeral in person, as Congress was in session. However, Frost stood on the Congress floor Wednesday and entered several paragraphs into record honoring Gauana.
The flags that flew over the capitol in honor of Gauana will be sent to his family along with certificates to authenticate the procedures.
The Rev. Lipsey cited a song that he heard on the radio that reminded him of Timothy Gauana. That song was Lee Greenwood’s anthem, “Proud to Be an American.”
“”Tim was definitely a man that was proud to be an American. He enjoyed the freedom that he had living in this great country of ours,” Lipsey said. “”He respected this freedom so much, he voluntarily joined the U.S. Navy in 1999 to defend this country to perpetuate this freedom that he enjoyed growing up as a child; the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom to choose decisions to better his life.
“He loved his freedom so much that he was willing to give his life for this freedom.”
Gauana was a 1997 graduate of Ennis High School where he played on the varsity baseball and basketball team. He joined the Navy in 1999 as a information systems technician.
Gauana’s family said Timothy joined the Navy to “better his life.”
“Freedom is not free,” said Rear Admiral John Costas. “It never has been such, and it never will be. Freedom is won by those who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way so that this great country of ours can live in freedom’s precious warmth and bask in liberty.”
Costas presented Sarah Gauana, Timothy’s mother, with the Navy Achievement Medal for Timothy Gauana’s efforts in rescuing a choking shipmate prior to the attack on the Cole.
Gauana’s mother was also presented with a Purple Heart, the oldest medal of the U.S. armed forces. It is given to servicemen who have been killed or injured by foreign hostility. Timothy Gauana received this medal posthumously following his death in the attack on the USS Cole.
Pastor Russell Mills of the Church of God in Ennis offered these words of strength and encouragement to the Gauana family and friends.
“Timothy will not be coming back to us,” Mills said. “There will be no sound of his footsteps in the kitchen, there will be no sound of his voice. He loved us, and he died protecting us. He paid the price to protect us. We are all American citizens, we all need American heroes like Tim.
“He isn’t coming back, we are not going to get him back. But he does have one request for you. That request is that, “You (the audience) please come to where I (Timothy Gauana) am.’ ”
Gauana’s family members and friends were visibly shaken through the service, as were the approximately 75 Navy personnel on hand for the service. Three of the Navy servicemen were shipmates of Timothy Gauana aboard the Cole.
“The strength of our country is built on those who are willing to sacrifice,” added Costas. “Tragically, some are called away too early in their young lives. Seaman Timothy Gauana was one of these young heroes in our society today. The best America has to offer, a true national treasure.”