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  1. #1

    Default 9/11 Recollections

    I was a Staff Sergeant in the USAF stationed at Luke AFB, AZ on September 11, 2001. I was assigned to the 56 Equipment Maintenance Squadron, Munitions Flight, Storage element. I was leaving our home with the kids at approximately 0600 local time. I heard on the radio that the second tower of the World Trade Center had been hit and told my wife.

    I dropped the kids off at the child care center on base and reported to work as normal. At that time (0615), everything was still fairly normal on base and around the city. All scheduled work was put on hold until it was decided what course of action would be taken. Everyone was crowded around TV's for about an hour. THREATCON DELTA (the highest security status) was implemented.

    From that time on for the rest of the day, was frantic and hectic activity. Barricades erected, roads closed, vehicles searched. As a ranking E-5 in Storage, I was directed to break out all of the base's live air to air missiles (several hundred) out of the storage facility and transport them to a holding area to be prepped for transport and delivery to the flightline. The 310th FS had a NORAD tasking for air defense during contingencies, so every F-16 assigned was prepped, loaded with live ordinance, and launched on what became NOBLE EAGLE sorties.

    Once that was complete, we had short periods of quiet and more hectic jobs. I remember looking across Phoenix and noticing how quiet it was. Little car traffic, NO commercial aircraft to/from Sky Harbor. I could see KC-135 tankers launching and recovering from their base about 15 miles away. I had lost my voice by then, from yelling over the sound of fork lifts, trucks, etc. It was long past nightfall and we continued to do jobs as they were assigned.

    My wife had picked up the kids from school around 10 that morning, as had everyone else. I didn't leave the base until nearly 2330 that night. I got home and hugged my family for a long time. I tried to sleep, then later got up for the next day. I hope to never have another day like that again.
    84 Capri RS Turbo
    Vinemont, AL (formerly El Mirage, AZ)
    USAF (Ret)

  2. #2
    FEP Super Member gr79's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SE Michigan


    Thank you for posting the interesting behind the scenes story.

    Was in a Canton MI. Walmart shopping after work about 9am. Walking past the TV section, seen it live.
    Thought it was a new interesting what if drama preview movie until I noticed in awe the CNN live logo.
    Watched the rest at the Lakepointe Yacht Club in Livonia MI. Headed home after 1 WTC N tower collapsed.
    Strange mystery timeline of events in NYC. Neighbor was upset, convinced later that morning we were at war.
    Sadly ranks up there with the Shuttle accidents and the where were you when's.
    Was eerily quiet outside workplace for days. No aircraft lights at night.
    Warehouse is very close to Detroit's Metro Airport and in the normally busy landing flight pattern.

    Dangerous situations sure bring out the true normally hidden public and personal reactions ranging from panic to brave acts of help.
    Good to know how others react and handle perceived or real danger before the fact, before it is too late.

  3. #3
    FEP Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Elizabethton, TN


    I was headed to Memphis, TN for a job interview. Sad day indeed.

  4. #4
    FEP Power Member Ray Dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013


    We had a tv in the office I shared with the head of maintenance to check on winter school closings for his boys.
    We were glued to it most of the day. Then on the phone with my wife many times too.
    Because of those events we will never be able to repeat our experience during our honeymoon.
    We had married in August of 2000 and visited Niagara Falls Canada.
    I was amazed that we could walk across the Rainbow Bridge and reenter the US and then return to Canada
    on our word that we were US citizens. Now you need a passport just because a group from some foreign nation was pissed at us.
    86 Mustang LX 3.8 Convertible (bought new
    84 Capri (needs help)
    05 Volvo XC90 DD( The Swedish Tank)...................Used to own
    08 Magnum (The Roadie Wagon)...........................Too many. the good ones
    95 Saturn SL2 (Kid's Ride).................................65 Chevelle SS, 69 Torino GT
    94 Saturn SL2 (now parts for above) ................39 Willys Overland, 69 Fleetwood, 86 Saab 900
    65 Galaxie 500 XL 390 auto (Waiting for funds)..81 Mustang T-Roof hatch, 88 Lincoln LSC,

  5. #5


    I was working in a plant in WNW Pa and was making my morning rounds. It was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky and warm with low humidity. After stopping at my office which was in the back of the plant, I headed for the front office. The company was having a meeting of the national sales reps and they had all flown in on Monday and were gathering in the front office. Someone came out as I was headed in and said the WTC had been hit by an airplane. I thought it was just a Cessna or whatever. No, a full airliner. Oh. Went into the office and someone had set up a tv set. Reception was poor but showed the second strike. What a sick feeling.

    We had paid for a golf outing that started late in the morning. Decision was made to go ahead with it as we were finding out that air traffic was shut down and no one was going to fly home. The company president, thought it was a terrible idea, as if we could do anything to change the situation. I merrily drove to the golf course thinking I'd need gas on the way home and planned my route home to go past a station. My golf game was horrible. As usual. After dinner, headed for gas. Got to where I could see the station and there were cars in line for several hundred yards. Oh boy. Didn't think about the panic. Drove home holding my breath. Early 90's Buick Century with the 2.8 V6. It got me home and to the station nearest my house, which was a little out of the way, the next morning. Girl behind the counter said the attack hadn't done anything to their delivery schedule. It was just people panicking.

    The sales reps that had rental cars drove home for the most part. Those that didn't had to wait a few days. One of my maintenance guys was in a fire department north of town. His brigade had to spend a week in Shanksville to help with the cleanup there. Said there wasn't anything left bigger than a dime. Smell was horrible. The Methodist summer camp nearby, Camp Allegheny, served 200 meals 3 times a day for several weeks for the cleanup crews. I was with our youth group the next spring to see the site. They had a parking area about 100 yards uphill from the impact area. Big burned V in the ground. Very sad.

    But life goes on. Hard to believe it's a just history lesson for kids in school now.

    As always, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you, it's what you think you know that just ain't so."

  6. #6


    That morning I was driving to work and the sky was so blue! It was sunny and a cool ocean breeze was blowing in my open window as I crept thru traffic and it was just a gorgeous California day. Did not look at phone or TV or listen to radio, I was completely unaware. Got to work all smiles and powered up on a few espresso shots, walked in with "It's a beautiful day people!" Wish I had a pic of the looks I got. When told the news I had a hard time processing it, had to see the video to really register. And the sky was that incredible blue because all commercial air traffic was grounded, beauty born out of evil. I didn't lose anybody but I know a couple who did. Nope, not forgetting. Or who, or why.

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