9/11 STORIES: A "Day of Infamy"

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9/11 2001 will stay with me forever, as my "Day of Infamy."

When I ran the Electronic Warfare organization at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB OH, every September we conducted our annual "EW Usersí Review" (later "EW Customer Review" and now "Sensors Directorate Briefing to Industry"). On the morning of September 11th, 2001, a Captain from the Foreign Technology Division (now National Air and Space Intelligence Center {NASIC}) was providing a threat briefing, as part of the initial group of briefings to the 250-300 gathered attendees in the AFIT Auditorium during the first crash into one of the Twin Towers. One of my staff came up to me in the front of the Auditorium where I always sat to introduce the speakers and asked me to follow him to the back of the Auditorium. When there, he told me about what was unfolding in New York, initially. By then we had live video of what was happening in New York. I returned to my seat to collect my thoughts and decide how best to inform the attendees what was happening. The presenter finished his presentation and I went to the podium. In as calm a voice as possible I told everyone what was occurring. I had the real time TV pictures of New York displayed on the projection screen for everyone to view. We saw the second aircraft crash into the second tower.

I informed them that Wright-Patterson AFB was placed on Threat Condition DELTA and that no one was permitted to enter the base, leave the base or for that matter, leave AFIT for the near future. The remainder of the classified symposium and all peripheral events surrounding the Conference were suspended. I told them that I would provide additional information within the hour.

Many in the room who had loved ones who worked in the "Twin Towers" attempted to reach them. Few, if any, succeeded. For the next several hours, attendees contacted rental car agencies and anyone they knew who could provide transportation (remember that all airline flights were suspended for a few days). Later that day, personnel were permitted to depart Wright-Patterson. Many drove rental cars hundreds of miles for the next few days to return to their homes (yes most of these were one way, not roundtrip, rentals).

People could not believe what they were seeing. More fear and uncertainty, then immediate anger took place. For weeks after the cancelled events, I received feedback from attendees, regarding how everyone associated with the Conference professionally conducted themselves in the wake of this national tragedy.

I postponed my retirement by a year to complete "unfinished business" associated with helping the Air Force mitigate this from ever happening again. Sadly, my father passed away a few months before I finally did retire and missed my retirement events.

The stigma of September 11th, 2001 will remain with me forever. A person who used to represent Hughes Aircraft and attended some of our reviews, Mr. Stan Hall, was on Flight 77 that day that crashed into the Pentagon and lost his life. He is remembered to this day by the AOC Business Development Award being named in Stanís honor.

Our world will NEVER be the same in America due to this National Tragedy.  
SRC, Inc.
ITT Electronic Systems
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