Thursday, September 11, 2008


Seven years ago I was on the 10th floor of the Army Materiel Command (AMC) Building just off the beltway in Alexandria. It was just another typical day, when I heard on the radio that an airplane had hit one of the twin towers. I notified the director of safety so he would have situational awareness and I turned on the TV. While I was watching the TV I saw another plane plow into the tower. This called for another notification to the safety director. And then, there was a report that that the Pentagon had been hit. I went into the 10th floor conference room and looked out the window and could see smoke billowing over the hill that stood between our building and the pentagon. Shortly, we all heard the voice of the General John G. Coburn, the commander of AMC. Very calmly and authoritatively, he said that we probably had heard about the recent events and that he was going to release us to go home. This engendered some discussion in the safety office and during this I got a phone call from my wife who wondered why I hadn’t left the building yet - Aren’t you scared?” She was a nurse in Fairfax and they were in lock down, awaiting patients from the Pentagon as rescue workers began the triage to distribute them to various locations. She wanted me to pick up our infant daughter and the school age children. I related to her that we in the safety office were discussing our next move. One critical need was to man the Operations Center that night. It was decided that Loren would take job, so I went home picking up my daughter along the way and later picked up my other children.

Reviewing those events, I can see that a lot of ad hoc-spur of the moment decisions were made. Fortunately, we had a lot of cool heads. But the lesson learned is that it is important to review scenarios, to review options, and be prepared to execute well thought-out plans when necessary.

1 comment:

Dave/Sherry said...

A day I will never forget and still makes me quiver to reflect. America is a great place with humantarian efforts that overshadow calamities. God bless our freedom fighters.