5 Years On

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Of course you’d have to be in a coma not to know that today is the 5th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. The news networks are outdoing themselves with an orgy of oneupmanship dragging out tapes of their coverage that day.

Took a few minutes to follow this thread on Fark which asks “Where were you 5 years ago when you heard?”. I was really taken by this posting:

I was in the crystal clear air over the Chesapeake Bay.

Was doing a routine check ride out of NAS Oceana with 4 other aircraft. We were flying with open com that day when the center cancelled our checks & directed us to preselected defensive coordinates out over the Atlantic. Thought this was odd but it wasn’t too unusual to escort a perceived hostile aircraft vectoring from Europe to a commercial airport on the east coast. Since we were just doing routine checks I queried how far out the hostile was since we didn’t have a great fuel state & no weps on the rails. The tone the controller came back with & the fact they were sending us out into the Atlantic with no fuel let me know something major bad was up. Thinking just a drill because our controller guys sounded sorta young & scared, I queried again asking specifically what’s the nature of the incoming hostile & was told the US was being attacked, sorta thought for a second, killer tomatoes, because the attack thought was just so hard to fathom, without prompting I was told the WTC in NYC & the Pentagon had been attacked by terrorists using commercial air liners & there were more hostiles in the air & that the Whitehouse has authorized lethal force to take down commercial aircraft [wtf]. At one time there were up to 10 planes incoming that were considered hostile. After some talk among us 5 we vectored to our given coordinates. My second thought was my family is behind me in VA Beach not too far from Base which could make a great target. We asked the controller if he could check on our families which is forbidden during lockdown events like this but he said he would try but for right now they seemed to be going after the Whitehouse & the Capital.

After many tanker refuel, & many intercepts & escorts we were finally cleared to RTB [return to base] around 2300 hrs [11pm est]. A full load of weps were loaded onto all of our aircraft but we were told to grab some sleep & report back @ 0600 on the 12th.

8 days later our squadron was on the Roosevelt headed to the Med planning sorties into Afganistan.

I remember everything about the day of 911. What I had for breakfast, what I said to my wife when I had left her half asleep that morning, what my squadron buddies were joking about. I remember escorting US commercial airliners so close I could see the scared faces looking out of the windows back at me. I remember removing my shoulder US flag patch to hold up to the canopy to the foreign airliner’s pilots we were escorting to land in Canada. I remember flying over the Pentagon & seeing the huge fire & smoke. But most of all I remember coming home to my family late that night, to a quiet house with the tv still on in the den to look at the news for the 1st time, 14 hours after it had happened. I sat there, after I had checked on all the kids, next to my wife just watching the news & talking all night about how our lives had just changed. We had talked about Jihad before but never knew it would happen on this large a scale. My wife, normally a forgiving sweet person that wouldn’t hurt a fly, kept looking at me with tears in her eyes saying “Brian make em pay, make em pay for for they’ve done.”

I remember hearing about it around 11am and heading off to the local bar for lunch to catch some of CNN’s coverage. Ended up staying there all day and then rushing home and watching well into the night. I can’t remember a stranger day in my entire life.