Broken Arrow Man Safe After Explosion On U.S.S. Cole


Sunday, October 15th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


A Broken Arrow family waited 11 hours after the U.S.S Cole destroyer attack on Thursday to find out if their son was alive.

Ray and Sharon Toney say it was the longest 11 hours of their lives. But, it was worth it to find out Aaron, a sailor on the ship, not only survived, but only had scrapes and bruises.

Aaron Toney's family thought the worst when they saw the first pictures from Yemen, and started hearing about the dead.

“The list kept getting larger and larger, and I was really scared he was going to be on that list," Ray Toney, Aaron’s Father.

For eleven hours they prayed for their 21-year-old son.

Every sound of a car coming near their Broken Arrow driveway, they prayed it wasn't someone from the Navy.

"It was real rough, it was real rough on my wife, she was a bundle of nerves and so was I," says Toney.

Aaron's mother is uncomfortable talking about the eleven hours she waited before they found out he escaped with only some cuts and bruises.

When Aaron signed up for the Navy during his senior at Bixby his parents knew he would be in some of the tense regions of the world. But, they say you still can't prepare for the shock when something happens.

“We're just living day to day," says Ray.

The Navy assigned Aaron Toney to the U.S.S. Cole from the start of the career.

Aaron's good friend Rocky Johnson also sat by the TV and worried when he heard about the attack.

“When they talked about the people dying it was a shock. Almost disbelief that it could happen to somebody that I know," says Johnson.

As a nation mourns the deaths of 17 sailors, Aaron’s friend calls him a hero. Aaron's family says he volunteered to stay with the destroyer. They just want him out of that region.

"He sounds a little bit better than when he called the first time. He's disoriented, he hasn't been getting enough sleep, he's not eating well and we're hoping the next few days he'll come back," says Toney.

Come back to America, where he'll receive a hero's welcome from his family.

The 33 sailors who were being treated for in Germany arrived home Sunday.

The Toney's don't know when their son Aaron is heading back to his base in Virginia.