OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE
On the morning hours of September 11, 2001, I was on my way to work in Tysons Corner, Virginia when I heard the radio broadcast about the Twin Towers in New York City being hit by two passenger planes. Just like other several citizens realized after the second tower was struck, I started to think that this was done on purpose. That same morning I almost took the route pass the Pentagon to go to work, which sometimes was much easier than cutting straight through D.C. I can’t tell you how many times I thanked God for not allowing me to do so or maybe I wouldn’t be hear today or very deeply scared mentally, emotionally and physically of the plane striking the Pentagon.
I finally arrived at work and could just feel the heaviness of the mood sitting in the air and everyone just stunned at what was happening. The next thing I remember after getting to work was seeing the Pentagon burning from the ninth floor of the KPMG building where I was working as a mail clerk at the time. For the next few hours majority of the employees in the building had left to go check on their family and loved ones who worked at the Pentagon. In that same time span I was asked numerous times did I receive a call from my National Guard unit, which never came until later. I must’ve waited until after noon when I finally left and headed back home to my parents house. Just before I got back home I was at the gas station in my home town refueling my car when I finally heard the State of Emergency being announced for the state of Maryland. I remember, after I got home, watching the Twin Towers on live television and the voices of horror from the news reporters after the second plane hit and when the towers collapsed.
I never understood what took Maryland so long to announce a state of emergency after D.C. and Virginia had already done so hours prior. At that point I knew I had to hurry home, which almost immediately after I entered the door I got that call from my unit to respond to the Baltimore Armory. At the time I got the call it was not mandatory to come in, but it that didn’t matter. My response was something like “HELL YEAH I’m coming in!” and I quickly packed a bag of my military gear, kissed my mother and two sisters before flying up the highway to Baltimore. My first sight when I rolled up at the entrance to the Parkville Armory was a Deuce and a half blocking the driveway with two of our MP’s standing in full battle gear with M-16’s ready for battle. One of the them requested to see my military ID before allowing me on the property. Several minutes later I heard that it was then mandatory for everyone to come in and report ASAP! Images of people rushing in from work, home or wherever was just amazing to see, but also let me know how more real this was.
It was talked amongst all of us that we just knew we were heading to New York where we believed they needed the most help. Our mental and physical preparedness was ready for that reality, which wouldn’t come until the following morning around 0500hrs. The chaos going around on the drill floor woke everyone and quickly our focus was on our first sergeant who gave us the marching order of the day…our next destination was the Pentagon where our help is needed immediately.