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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Where were you on 09/11/01?

I put this out to our readers at Corpsman.com, I asked them to send me a 1 to 2 paragraph blurb explaining where they were and what they were doing on that fateful day.

I am going to display the responses un-edited.  This was supposed to be the lead story today, but with the tragic loss of our 2 Doc’s this week, I am going to move it to our Ships library section.  I am sure you understand.–D/C

My 9/11 story goes like this, I was assigned as I&I Staff with HQBN 1 /14 in Alameda CA, as the BN Medical Chief.  On my way into work, I was listening to the radio when they were talking about a plane hitting the tower.  Right before I turned into our parking lot at our site, the 2nd hit. 

Our LTCOL Triplett was walking up to the building when I was driving by and I stopped and told him what had happend.  He told me to park immediately and to get inside and to get all SNCO’s to his office with Maj Gann.  1 hour later we were strapped at Threatcon-Delta.  Our military lives had changed forever.

I remember it well. I was on my way to a veterans meeting in Long Beach, Washington, about 140 miles from my home. I left really early because I was going to meet a friend of mine in Long Beach for breakfast before the start of the meeting. Did not have a cell phone. Was listening to music on the car radio when it was interupted with a message that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York. Soon afterward came the news of the 2nd plane crash. It was at this point that I had driven out of range of the radio station I was listening to and searched for about 10 minutes before I could get another station to bring me up to date.
When I got to Long Beach, I called my friend. We met, had a simple breakfast together and said a prayer for those killed and missing. (Not that it mattered at the time, but our meeting was cancelled.)
amedicalmoose  HMC (SW) USN Ret–
Sept 11,2001

I was in the garage and was watching TV when the first plane hit and everyone said it was an accident…..immediately when the second one hit it became obvious we were at war…….America will never be the same.
USN 1970

On the morning of 9 September 2001 I was finishing up my chores as shift
changed at the fire station. I went into the kitchen to prepare my
morning breakfast(egg sandwhich) when one of the guys yelled from the
living quarters. As we all ran into the living quarters to see what all
the fuss was about we saw the second plane approaching the second tower
and to our amazement, crashed into the building. As we stood in shock
and silence we couldn’t believe what we just saw. The phone rang which
scared us out of our paralyzed state to the tune of our Fire Chief
putting us on the highest alert status.


My wife and I were getting ready for work. We had just heard something on the radio about a plane possibly crashing into one of the world trade center towers. I turned on the TV to watch what was happening while I ironed my shirt. It was then that I saw the 2nd plane come into the picture, go behind the tower and then the explosion out the other side. No plane. It was difficult to believe what I had just seen on live TV. The newscasters were confused, I was confused, it was just difficult to understand what was happening right then. The news got worse as we drove to work. We began to understand that we were being attacked.

One other vivid memory was a few days later, when the restriction on flights had been lifted, we were at a flag football game of our son’s when a large jet flew over on its way to the airport. It was the first we had seen since 9/11. Everyone stopped and looked up to watch. Something that normally would have been background noise had become a significant event in our lives.

God bless America!



Rob Martens
Proud Father of Nathan
HN Robert Nathaniel Martens (FMF) USN
3/6 India co,1st platoon, 2nd Marine Division
My Son, My Hero
Killed September 6, 2005 – Al Qaim, Iraq
Please Visit www.fallenheroesazmemorial.com

I was hauling a load of liquid hydrogen, my wife called and asked if I was listening to the radio, I wasn’t. I told her that was nothing to joke about ,she then went on to explain what she was watching on the news, she was crying as she told me this. I got back to the terminal , and all the other drivers were gathered around the TV. We knew this was going to change a lot things in this country. Very sad day.

I was unlocking my building @ MCAS Miramar. A student was
waiting by the door and he asked me if I heard about the plane that
crashed into the WTC. Recalling that a B-25 once struck the empire state
building back in the 40’s I thought something similar had happened.

As I turned on the tv in one of the class rooms, The first plane
strike was being replayed. I sat down on a table dumbstruck. The other
planes started hitting and I recall that the news was saying something
about San Diego as a possible target. I called my wife and told her to
lock the doors and leave the phone clear. Threat-con Delta was set and
we waited. Nobody on or off the base; that was a long and sad day.

– Doc Oconnor

Username: withoutsight7

I was a Senior in high school and I walked into my first period English
class with no idea what had happened. All of the TVs were on throughout
the entire school and I remember briefly glancing at one and thinking to
myself, “Wow, the airplane stunt in that movie looks real.”
Of course I then discovered it wasn’t a movie at all, but rather an
attack on our country. My father had been in the Army for 20 years so I
had been raised with devout love and dedication to our nation and its
freedoms. Seeing thousands of innocent Americans die engulfed me with a
myriad of emotions; Some of which I never knew I could feel. I knew that
our country would never, ever be the same.
I didn’t join the Navy until 2005, but while I was attending FMTB in
2008, I remember watching a “motivational movie” they show to all of the
wanna be Devil Docs. A scene of that horrendous day flashed upon the
screen and I immediately had chills. It powerfully reaffirmed why I
decided to serve my country.

As a Corpsman, I was stationed at Naval Hospital Great Lakes, but I was assigned to USS Red Rover Medical Clinic, checking recruits for three (3) years. That was my first duty station. On 9/11, I was covering Battle Stations as a Corpsman. I remember a Chief telling me” Hey Doc, we are going to war”… How right he was!!!
As soon as, everything started I was gone, to my second duty station, Camp Lejeune 2/2 Marine Division-Warlords.
Shipped to the sand box, Iraq.

Michael Abatziz

I was at work when a client came in and told us a plane had hit the World
Trade Center.  We assumed it was a small plane but turned on the office TV
to check it out and when we saw what it was, just couldn’t believe it.   We
spent the rest of the day listening to the news.


84angel==> Where was I 9-11-01 I was at home with no ged or high school diploma with a 1month old baby. Once they actually said what had happened I knew I wanted to defend my country because I had someone to protect. At that moment I picked up the phone to join the navy they said give myself sometime since I just had my baby, get my Ged, and then decide what i wanna do because its possible i would be going to war. I spoke to my mom about it and she cried and left me to come back later to tell me she was proud of me and said its my decision. Though i didn’t join right away i did eventually and i don’t regret my decision.

Hello there!
On sep 11 2001, I was stationed at  Naval Hospital Guam. It was after midnight over here when I got a call from my sister in Hawaii. When I answered the phone, all she keep saying was ” We are being bombed!” Since it was midnight and I just woke up from a sound sleep, it’s seems unreal to me until I turn on the TV and saw what was happening! At that time, I was staying in the barracks with no roomate so when everything really sinked in, I was kinda afraid but very thankful that I am actually safe living within the base.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise – Psalm 111:10
                                     karen – in guam

I was still going to high school at Brethren Christian at the time. I was only a Sophmore at the time and when I was about ten minutes from pulling into the school parking lots was when I ran across the news report. The report was not hard to find. I sat in the car for a few minutes listening in disbelief. I then heard the bell ring for first period and I ran to class to find that no one had started anything of the morning routine yet. No one had said the pledge of alligence  or the morning prayer. But everyone was listening to the news. No one asked what was going on, the entire school knew… America was under attack. There was a sense of restlessness through out the school. Every period came and went with the professors teaching the lesson plan but were obviously distracted, and not a single student asked a single question in any subject. Everyone was in a rush to get back home to see the news. When I got home, I watched with my family, in absolute
 horror. Life went on but my parents remained glued to the news for the next three weeks.

Username: USSailor07

HM3 Brownfield, Michael, J
USS Frank Cabel AS40

I was there; across the river in New Jersey. I was supposed to be having Breakfast at 09:00AM in the Tower Restaurant. Luckily and Thanks to God they ALL over slept!.

In vermont interviewing for job saw newscast and first plane crashed into building

Being 8 years military police I recognized it was an attack underway

I called my wife who had given birth thru c section two weeks previous and was bedladen

Told her we were under attack and stay close to TV and radio

After 2nd plane hit I had a choice to make – go to NYC to help or go home to care for my family

God Family Country

I had to take care of my family and glad I did


Chief: I was working at Pfizer, Inc. during that morning when news came that an aircraft had crashed into one of the twin towers. Thought an odd occurence, but when the second aircraft crashed into the other tower, this old goat said to himself “this is war”! bacsimike

Dear Corpsman.
On 9/11 I was in Phoenix AZ which is 3 hours difference in time.  My alarm had just gone off and I kept hitting nooze but the station kept saying Oh my God looks like a plane his the Tower.  So I got up and turn on the TV in the Living room and called for my brother to come quick something terrible has happened.  We were both standing watching as the 2nd plane hit the Tower 2.  We were both in shock.  We started calling everyone to wake up and watch TV America is under attack.
It took us a week to find our cousin who lives across the street from Tower 1.  Our Aunt had fallen on 9/9/01 and broken her hip, she had flown home to Oklahoma City (yes our family had already been through the Murray Building Bombing so we were very worried)  All of our family make it through 9/11 and OKC.  Some of our friends were not so lucky.  I left the house after the Towers collapse and met my colleagues at the Bowling Alley to see if I could assist with our Teens I had just retired from Teaching so I was worried about how the kids would react.  I also tried to give blood but they were so backed up they asked us to come back in a few days which I did.

Kathy Upchurch
National President Emeritus
Gold Star Wives of America

I was stationed in Newport, RI a couple hours into the normal morning routine in acute care (sick kids, sick officers..) when it went down. Made many phone calls to family on the west coast and then friends on the west coast while it was going on and then we went into T/C Delta and closed everything except my clinic where a skeleton crew stayed through closing. Many begged and pleaded the OIC to deploy over to help but NE clinics were told to stay put in case evacs were to happen and utilize us for that. We stood that posture until the the main damage was done and sifted through, in the end none of us were utilized. I went over 3 weeks later to get a look at everything and see Dave Letterman. Very solemn town than it was a month prior, very dark and quiet.

Doc B 8425
On 9/11 I was at the VA hospital taking care of patients as a Physician Assistant when I heard about the Twin Towers.  I, as well as most of the patients and staff, were shaken and work kind of came to a halt for a while.  I had a friend that lost his life that day.  The nation lost many friends, family, sons, daughters, moms and dads.

I was in eight grade; I am youngin’ I know. I was standing in front of Mr. P’s desk talking to him, and one of my peers says that a plane crashed into one of the towers. Two things run my head, first weird because I saw a low flying plane just 15 minutes prior (and living near an air port I never seen one approach from that angel so in retrospect it was probably a flight that got recalled) and second, this had to happen like years ago. When he told it just happened, I didn’t believe him and told him that I would slug him in the face if he made jokes like that. I find out a few minutes later he was serious. The adults panicked more than the kids – I ended up taking a leadership role and actually set up the tv, quieted the classes down, and gathered all the classes to watch the news. The entire time, I was the one my classmates where addressing their concerns to, not the teachers. All the while, behind this veneer I knew at a young age I had to put on, I was thinking about my uncle who was suppose to be there for a business meeting. ~ Zahtsk

The morning started off a normal morning at BMC Red Rover, RTC Great Lakes.  Just finishing off collecting lab samples from a newly accessioned division of recruits, our civilian laboratory supervisor had received a phone call from his son.   It was communicated that a plane had an accident and collided into one of the twin towers.  With shock and disbelief, we pass word to the clinical staff and huddled around the tv at the staff lounge to watch the news.  Still in disbelief, it seemed more of a fictional story as we witnessed the second plane collide into the other tower.  What seemed like eternity, which was only moments after, an announcement over the clinic was made to secure the clinic until further notice.  The base would be on lock down.  Only duty and essential crew would man the clinic.  The only thoughts running in mind was that our lives have just entered a new chapter in life.  We are now in war.

HMC(FMF/SW/AW) Patrick “Mango” Mangaran

My name is HM3(SW/AW) Bernardo stationed at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia Med Surg Ward 4H.  I am proud to say that on the morning of 9/11/01 I was waking up from the 4 Points Sheraton Hotel Room in Los Angeles, CA and boarding a bus to LAX to go start my Navy Career. When we arrived at the airport we were turned back and told to return to the hotel.  Until we arrived back to the Hotel is when I saw the news of 2 planes crashing on the Twin Towers in New York.  My parents arrived at the hotel and tried to tell me to back down from joining the military.  That’s when I realized my pride of honor, courage, and commitment to serve my country and make a difference.  I made the best decision in my life.  After boot camp in Great Lakes, I was stationed to the USS Deyo (DD-989) where we were deployed Winter 2002.  We headed straight to Iraq and launched 35 Tomahawk missiles – bombing 3 of Saddam’s secret bungalow which eventually led to his capture.  I am now on terminal leave nearing the end of my Navy Career, but I plan on going Blue to Green and am proud to serve my country as long as I am needed.  I will answer the call to make safety of my family and my countryman. I encourage everyone to make a trip to New York City and visiy Ground Zero.  It was a humbling experience to know that we can all work together for the good of mankind no matter what tragedies we go through.

Sent from my iPhone

HMC Ronald Claxton USN(Ret)
commented on your status:

“Deployed to Okinawa Japan. I just got in from CPO INDOC, and was getting ready for Rack OPs, when the Duty knocked on my door saying that I had to go see the BN CDR NOW. WTFO what did my junior HM do at 10pm at night that I have to double time my ass to the head shed…”

I was in the court house with my then best friend for her child support hearing. I woke up to the first tower getting hit and then we heard at the court house the rest. We were supposed to go to lunch but we decided that we should get home and be with our loved ones. I wasn’t married to my husband at the time, but my friends brothers were in the service, both, Army and Navy.

At the exact moment it all started, I was watching news at home and could not get it in my mind what was truely going on. Then I felt rage!
Still feel rage, but now I’ve transfered that into more supprt for our troops in theatre now.
HM3 Cano, (Ret)

I was in a C-school at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington State.  I woke up and on the local morning D.J. station they were discussing the reports/news on the wires that planes had hit the WTC building(s).  On the television, the networks had their programming on the story and of course, soon afterwards, the news had spread far and wide and everyone processed the news and the new world that we had entered into that morning as a result of those attacks.  There was a lot to comprehend with regards to these new realities, and as a result, the victims of the attacks and the horrible deaths they were forced endure probably were not forefront for many people.  For many people, they probably were, but others, like myself perhaps, found meditation on those death circumstances unpallatable and difficult.  It was probably only until later the empathy for the victims and their loved ones seeped into our understanding and conscious thoughts, which is all the more reason to ‘never forget’ the anniversaries and memorials so that we may stay connected to their individual and that collective tragedy, thereby hopefully improving our future odds at preventing the success of foreign attacks upon non-combatant, civillian Americans, as well as the improving the global, geo-political climate that made those attacks a reality.
Steve Duffy

Here is my story.  My screen name is Doclat
I was assigned to the US Naval Hospital at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  At the time it was one of the best kept secrets in the Navy. 
I woke up that morning, did the PT thing, and while I was waiting to get into the shower, (the BEQ, H-4 had single rooms with a shared head) I was watching the NYC morning news.  I remember them talking about how the weather was cooperating for the election.  Hit the shower, put on the uniform of the day and walked to the hospital. 
Everyone was a little excited as this was incoming flight day.  In other words, MAIL!
I was sitting at the front desk of the radiology department when our Pediatrician came up and told us to go down to Primary Care; a small plane had just hit the WTC. I got there in time to see the 2nd plane hit. I watched in disbelief at what was being shown on TV that day. I knew that life as we once knew it would never be the same. We were getting updates from family members who lived out in “town” and we were getting updates online. 

Our CO had the hospital staff muster in Education and Training that afternoon and he briefed us on what he knew and what the base was doing. We had a dusk to dawn curfew. The barge was sent back to JAX, the flight that was due in that day was grounded, no one was sure when the next flight off the island would be, all alcohol sales were suspended, the clubs were closed, the exchange was running out of everything and the Marines were on patrol in their gun trucks.
After we set the watch that day, I went home and turned on the TV, I watched WTC 7 collapse,  I went out on our porch from time to time that night to have a smoke and get away from the images on the TV.  A couple of times the Marines on patrol would roll by and challenge us.  They were wound up tight.  That night the lights that lighted up the red crosses on the building were turned off,  As of June 2007 they have not been turned back on. 

I remember thinking that we were in what was probably the safest place to be at the time, however that all changed in Jan 2002 when we opened up Camp X-ray. But that’s a different shore story for another time.

I had just gotten off from the graveyard shift and was on the way home when I heard it on the car radio and then saw the second tower hit on the TV at home.
Doc Chase
FMF  RVN 68-69

I was sitting in biology class tenthgrade  when we got word that the first tower was hit and was watching CNN when the second tower was hit.

Eastside high school Covington, Ga


David Knapp here, I was retired from the Navy one year and still going
though separation anxiety.   I was at my mom and dad’s and saw the first
action shots live on their TV in Vancouver Washington.  While getting mom
and dad to come to the TV, we then saw the second crash and heard news of
the Pentagon.  Dad a pearl harbor survivor said it reminded him of the
invasion of Pearl and he started to cry and say it has started again.   He
and I both being combat vets realized that we were starting a war that would
last for years.  This kind of war makes enemies hard to find.

8404 Where was I on 9-11-2001…

I was working at my desk and heard a lot of abnormal chatter-commotion, directly outside my office. I stood up and walked up to them to investigate. They said there was something on the television in the break-room quite disturbing. I quietly walked over and entered a very crowded breakroom. Everyone was standing in front of the television, watching replays and action reports of the first plane crashing into the first tower. With my past military experience, I quickly deduced, this was an act of terrorism. There was no other explanation and stated as such to the group.

My mind was racing and I knew the military would be mobilized. For a split second, I wondered if the military would take me, but I soon came to my senses and realized my age! I then reflected on the task at hand, working for a fortune 50 communications company and the outages I knew were coming. My thoughts then went back to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, HI December 7, 1941 and wondered if this was how it felt to be alive on that fateful day!

With the technology the United States has today, I know there is an untold story behind, the ‘why’ we cannot find the perpetrator for 9-11 and bring them to justice!

It certainly has increased my awareness, with regards to security and safety”

I was finishing morning “teaching rounds” when one of the staff physicians came in and tried to use our video monitor as a TV (it didn’t work): she said a plane had crashed into the WTC. ( I thought, “Boy, I bet thats a mess”)  In the hall way a cop I knew said he’d heard it was a private plane.  ( I thought, “idiot.”) In a patients room it was on TV:  the patient -seriously ill with pnumonia- frigtheningly gasped and then pointed at the TV as the second plane hit.  ( Ohhhh, thats not good.) 30 minutes later I was in the nursery when my pager went off startling a newborn baby.  My pager read 911 and had the recall number for my disaster response team.  An hour later I was meeting at the airport  with FBI, TSA , airline, and ARC folks trying to figure out how to deal with all these people whose planes had been suddenly and indefinately grounded, some times a thousand miles short of their destinations. And 48 hours later I was standing in the debris at the WTC wondering just wh
at kind of hell I’d gotten myself into.  (“Theres no place like home. Theres no place like home. Theres’ no place like…  the Emerald City, in shambles.”) They did however put us up in a very nice hotel….

Gary Bachman in Kansas City.

I was sitting at my computer at work when the secretary told me a plane had crashed in to one of the towers. I immediately remembered a story I had once read about a commercial airliner, back in the 1950’s I think it was, that had flown into the Empire State Building. I thought it was a similar accident. Like JFK’s assassination, nobody will ever forget where they were and what they were doing that day. The shock and that sinking feeling in your gut…they were pretty much the same for both incidents.

It was early in the morning onboard the USS Chosin CG-65.  We had just
pulled out of Pago Pago, America Samoa for our tiger cruise home, when SH2
Zarcone woke me up to “Doc you need to come see this on TV”.  As I rolled
out of my pit and turned the corner in the berthing to the lounge, the
Second tower was being struck.  I asked SH2 Zarcone “what movie are you
watching”?  He replied this is live TV of New York.  Not more than a minute
later “River city FOUR” was set throughout the ship and we were turned
around to America Samoa.  After a 12 hour wait, we set course back to Pearl

HM1(SW/AW) Daniel S. Flaherty
Naval Hospital Corps School

I worked the night before as a paramedic in a community 80 miles north of ground zero. I went home at 7a and went to bed. It was a busy 12 hour shift. A little after 9a I got up and turned on the tv. There was a special report about a plane crashing into the world trade center. While I was watching the report in disbelief. The second jet hit and I saw it as it happened. At that point I turned off the tv. Told my wife” I’m going to bed and get some rest. It’s gonna be a busy night.” I told her to let the machine pick up the phone. there are going to be a lot of knee jerk reactions and phone calls. I was do to back to work in less than 10 hours. I knew there was going to be a major need for fresh replacements in about 12 hours. The next 96 hours the hudson valley was being utilized heavily for resources. I stayed behind and manned the areas left by the first and subsesequent responses. The calls and needs of our community did not stop for the senseless act of aggression. I was not a hero on that day, I stayed behind and did the job needed, while the others with the expertise could respond.
Mike Bruce

Phil Jones HMC Retired
I was about to depart the employment office to make one of my weekly homeless veterans meetings (Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist) when someone said the World Trade Center is on fire.  On my drive across town I had the news on and got the general information.  I got to the homeless shelter in time to see the second plane hit the other tower.  Not much else was said!!


3 Responses to “Where were you on 09/11/01?”
  1. HMR Rocco says:

    I was 11 years old at the time, in school. I didn't realize the significance of the event at the time and hate myself for that. I also hate the fact that I was too young to go down to help, whether I wanted to or not. As a firefighter now it does not get any easier, it actually seems to get harder year after year that I can only do so much. Maybe thats why I joined the Navy, who knows. But with all the bad of that day I like to look at the good. It was the day where we all became One. One People. One Nation. One Family. Be safe all and soon not forget the 343 of my brothers up in NYC. HMR , New Jersey.

  2. markccarroll says:

    Sorry I missed the Data Call, but here is my story,

    I was stationed on USS Princeton CG-59, we had recently left Thailand, Phuckett, I think. We were very comfortable in pre-approved tropical uniforms courtesy of the Navy pride section of the NEX. I was on watch as the Combat Systems Officer of the Watch.

    The watch had been quite, except that we had increased our speed dramatically and as I remember, we remained at well of 30 knots for a very long time until we reached or “chopped to” 5th Fleet on September 11th. I was relieved on time from watch between attacks, perhaps it was shock or something but I do not remember my relief mentioning it.

    So I headed to chow without much thought of it, I gathered my dinner and sat to eat, the news was on and I could see the story unfolding from there. Soon the Skipper would address the crew and we would continue making best speed for the gulf.

    In the days that followed tropical uniforms turned to time tested coveralls and battledress. the first few days after arriving on station we like a big pause, as we reported on station where others had been turned around, we became Air Defense Commander for, USS Nimitz, USS Roosevelt, and I cannot recall the other big decks but I remember there were 4 we were responsible for.

    After 111 straight underway, to include 2 beer days we were relieved of our duties and made a hasty exit to get back home.

    From the perspective of one who was deployed on Sept. 11th, I remember having little concern for the safety of the crew, the ship, or myself, fearing only that my family in San Diego were much more vunerable than I.

    Our return trip was not typical, because we were not spreading rumors about the port visits we would make. Reserving hotels and arranging tours and comrels we simply wanted to get home. What we did not realize was that home was not the same as we left it. Our families, our homeport and our security procedures had forever changed.

  3. ladybugdoc05 says:

    I was a freshman in high school in Bedford, PA, 20 minutes from Shanksville. I was in Spanish class when the second plane hit. Then in every class watching the tv the rumors were going around that a plane had went down in Shanksville. That's when I started to be scared. It was hitting to close to home now. I have visited the Shanksville memorial many times and ever since that day I knew I wanted to join the military because on that day terrorism hit to close to home and I wanted to protect that home.