Service Members Reflect on 9/11

  • Published
  • By Rachelle Baillon
  • NBC 15
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The 'where were you when' moment: many of us will never forget the first time we saw airplanes crash into the Twin Towers.

"I had just broken my leg and I was on the couch and watched the planes go into the towers," said SMSgt. Brad Thompson. "And then that's when the telephone rang and I was re-called to work with my broken leg."

SMSgt. Thompson says the National Guard Bureau then mobilized the command post on a 24-7 basis. "Prior to 9-11 my office and all the personnel were only weekend warriors,they came out one weekend per month in a training status," he said. "We've been on alert 24/7, 365 since 9-11 up till today."

Col Erik Peterson, the 115th Operations Group Commander, had recently made the switch to the guard after 10 years of active duty--when the planes hit the twin towers. He had just started flying for American Airlines at the time. "I was actually on my first trip after my check ride, flying between Houston and Miami when we got the news that a plane crashed into the Twin Towers," he said. "We heard that a second plane had crashed in the towers, we hadn't gotten any more information and the captain on the plane was pretty on mission, he basically told me to grab the crash axe and secure the cockpit door, that something was not right," he said.

The aftermath of the attacks meant that he was furloughed from American and transitioned to a full-time position here. "We've been having to maintain both the capability to deploy overseas to other combat areas, in addition to maintaining our defense here of the homeland," he said. "So it's been quite an increase on the ops tempo, especially on the guard."