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Author Topic: Sixteen years ago...  (Read 492 times)
TommyGunn
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« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2017, 07:56:18 AM »

At work that morning.   My boss and the Production Manager had flown to Denver that morning as we were in the process of mergering with/buying a complimentary company.

Sitting in my office with one of my supervisors, Jim, an older gentlemen, and a helluva guy, when  one of my inventory clerks sticks his head in and says "A plane just hit the World Trade Center.  I said, "Some sighting idiot in Piper Cub got lost in the clouds".  

Jim, said "B-25 into the Empire State Building".

I smiled at him and said "Nobody's flying B-25 over New York these days."

So we ambled into the Conference room and fired up the TV.   First thing we saw was that nasty black gash billowing smoke.

"That wasn't no damn Piper Cub." I said half under my breath.   We stood there trying to make sense of what and how this had happened.  "There's no clouds or anything."  I later learned the ATC's called that "Severe Clear".  

And then the second plane flew into the other tower.


"We're are war."  I hadn't noticed, but a bunch of folks had filtered into the room, riveted to the screen.  There were lots of gasps of horror as the fireball erupted from the other side of the South Tower.  Jim looked at me and said "That was a passenger jet, Dale and Jason are on a passenger jet."  Oh, *expletive deleted*it.

I thought of Tom Clancy and his book about the crazy Japanese 747 pilot.  *expletive deleted*it, Tom.  Did you have to give those Muslim bastard this idea. But I didn't have too much time to muse over that as suddenly, I was in complete charge.  Not just the "Hey, keep things running but if you need me I'm a phone call away" charge.  But "Hey sir, the commander is dead, you're now it." charge.  Worse, because I was the only one in the company with military experience, my admin assistant, comes in and "It's the company president on the phone for you."

"Hi Boss, We should expect more attacks, they have caught us by surprise and have us on our heels , if they are smart, they'll keep going for as long as they can, until we can catch up or they run out of targets."

"Yes, the Sears Tower and Hancock Building would be on my target list if I was them."

"No, we don't need to evacuate the company HQ (in a old warehouse along the Chicago River in what's known at River North. Right across the street from Cabrini Green), I highly doubt we're a target. You are far enough away any target of value, that all evac'ing will do is clog roads."  (They shut down and sent every one home, because...Panic.)  rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes

"No, I have not heard from Dale or Jason.  Yes, we have called and let them voicemails.  I have no idea if they were on one of the planes that flew into the World Trade Center.  I certainly hope and pray that they weren't."

And more along those lines.  I just remember being angry.  Angry at what had happened (And I knew right away who had done it, also.)  Angry that the company president was a lost as a babe in the woods, and not knowing, sounding on the verge of panic when I was on the phone with him.  Just lost and scared.  ANd i was like "Sir, you need to pull it together."  Yes, they had the element of surprise, we had taken it on the chin, Pearl Harbor all over again,l and just waiting for the next attacks, know they were coming, but not knowing where or when.

And more came.  The one that hit the Pentagon, I believe was intended for the White House.  Then the saga of flight 93.  The news was telling us that unarmed F-16's were on their way to intercept.   One of the production clerks asked "How are they going shoot them down if they are unarmed?"  I said, "They're not, they are going to ram them."  I watched her eyes go wide and all the blood drain from her face.  "If they mission is to down the aircraft, you take down the aircraft, by any means necessary."

A guy that I had worked with at Airborne Express called me "Do have Rich's phone #?"  All three of us had worked at Airborne, I had left to go do logistics at OCP, Rich had left to go work for United in their aircraft movement control and positioning.   "Paul, I would be he's kinda up to his ass in alligators.  Now would not be a good time to bother him."

I went outside to have a cigarette.   Work continued inside, but a a very subdued pace.  I looked up to see aircraft lined up as far as a I could see going into both Midway and O'Hare, nothing headed out. Later that day came the eerie silence from a lack of jet noise.  And since we were halfway between ORD and MDW, it was very, very quiet and un-nerving.

I did talk to Rich a few days later...Trying to get in touch with each plane (the airlines have some kinds of HQ direct to planes commo system), trying to see who the missing planes were, and if anyone else was hijacked.   Then trying to find airports with runways capable of taking the aircraft, and ramp space.  Along with getting fuel status from planes and literally drawing range circles on maps and calling airports.  Quite a few calls were "We're sending plane X to land at your airport."  He said that was the easy part.  Getting them back up and to the correct positions/airports once things resumed were gong to be the really hard part.

Dale and Jason landed at the new Denver Airport, rented a car, called home, then us, and drove from Denver straight back Chicago.  Merger stuff could wait.

But before they got back.  I called an all hands meeting.  Let everyone know that Dale and Jason were safe and driving back.  It appeared that the Muslim terrorist had done all they could, and that we were now on alert and watching for any further attacks.  We were safe, the old Western Electric Hawthrone Works Cable Plant was probably not on their target list now or in the future. And I was surprised that hijacking 4 airliners was all they had.  

Then I looked around the room and said, "The last time we went up against someone who was willing to fly planes into their targets, we had to drop two atomic bombs them to get them to stop."  

16 years (actually far, far, far longer than that) and they still haven't stopped.


A couple of observations:  
The 9/11 plot evolved from the Bojinka plot,  which involved as many as 12 commercial airliners.
Not to diminish the courage of the F-16 pilots that day,  but what idjit launch Fighter jets unarmed?  They might as well be flying Navions  or Cessnas.  And that they might have been in the air when they got the alert doesn't cut it with  me.   A air superiority fighter MUST  have SOMETHING TO FIGHT WITH.   Or it's   just a Piper Cub with afterburners.
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MOLON LABE   "Through ignorance of what is good and what is bad, the life of men is greatly perplexed." ~~ Cicero
Amy Schumer
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I spent a week in that town one night....


« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2017, 08:57:32 AM »

I had forgotten about Bojinka plot and only recalled the Debt of Honor story line when the plane hit the Pentagon.  (Again, that had to be the alternate target, their primary was the White House, but finding the White House from the air is very difficult.  Flight 77 circled Washington a couple of times before diving into the Pentagon. Flight 93's target was the Capitol building.)

In 2001, there were no threats to the US or CONUS, Russia was pretty much de-fanged.  The Cold War over.  They weren't sending Bombers to probe our air defenses, or drop nukes on our cities, we were at peace with the world.   

They weren't in the air, they were DC ANG pilots and planes.  They were only thing they could get in the air with little to no notice, and not enough time to get them armed.

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/f-16-pilot-was-ready-to-give-her-life-on-sept-11/2015/09/06/7c8cddbc-d8ce-11e0-9dca-a4d231dfde50_story.html?utm_term=.d729232b21e3
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Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants won't help.


Bring me my Broadsword and a clear understanding.
Get up to the roundhouse on the cliff-top standing.
Take women and children and bed them down.
Bless with a hard heart those that stand with me.
Bless the women and children who firm our hands.
Put our backs to the north wind.
Hold fast by the river.
Sweet memories to drive us on for the motherland.
TommyGunn
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« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2017, 03:49:34 PM »

I had forgotten about Bojinka plot and only recalled the Debt of Honor story line when the plane hit the Pentagon.  (Again, that had to be the alternate target, their primary was the White House, but finding the White House from the air is very difficult.  Flight 77 circled Washington a couple of times before diving into the Pentagon. Flight 93's target was the Capitol building.)

In 2001, there were no threats to the US or CONUS, Russia was pretty much de-fanged.  The Cold War over.  They weren't sending Bombers to probe our air defenses, or drop nukes on our cities, we were at peace with the world.   

They weren't in the air, they were DC ANG pilots and planes.  They were only thing they could get in the air with little to no notice, and not enough time to get them armed.

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/f-16-pilot-was-ready-to-give-her-life-on-sept-11/2015/09/06/7c8cddbc-d8ce-11e0-9dca-a4d231dfde50_story.html?utm_term=.d729232b21e3

They can't keep them armed on the ground?  Or does OSHA   kick up a ruckus?
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MOLON LABE   "Through ignorance of what is good and what is bad, the life of men is greatly perplexed." ~~ Cicero
RoadKingLarry
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« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2017, 04:07:02 PM »

I suspect it is/was more of a manifestation of  "ERMAGERD!!! GUNZEZ AND STUUF AR BAD AND WE CAN"T TRUST THEM HERE AT HOME".
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If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

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Amy Schumer
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I spent a week in that town one night....


« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2017, 04:25:17 PM »

They can't keep them armed on the ground?  Or does OSHA   kick up a ruckus?

Combo of things.  1) Once you arm them, then you have to put (armed) guards* on them 24/7, 2) Sensitive electronics and stuff degrade in long term exposure to weather, 3) There was no point.  It wasn't that there wasn't an air threat to the US.  It was that there was no Threat. Period.%  4) what Larry said.  If you are flying out to Nellis to train, you don't want a bunch of warshots hanging off the plane (and real bullets in the guns), what's the point again of loading it up, just to unload it when you get there.  And then there's the turn-in of unused ammo.   Fark that paperwork. And even if you are not flying to Nellis to train, even if it's just to burn holes in the sky to keep your hours up, eventually some dumbass would accidentally let a Sidewinder go flying ....right into a 747 filled with orphans and pregnant nuns.

Nope, keep the missiles and bullets in the ammo bunker, where they can't hurt anyone, nor get anyone in trouble.#  


* - And guard duty is boooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggggg.  Until it's not. And then you are once again playing catchup.

% - There was not a threat to the US.  The USSR and Warsaw Pact had ceased to exist 10 years prior.  We weren't even pointing missiles/ICBM at each other, but had agreed to aim them at the Sargrasso Sea.  Wargames were against the "Krasnovians" who were Iraqi/Soviets.  In fact, we were still trying to figure out what, if any, doctrine and capabilities our "adversaries" had.  If we could find an adversary.   We were doing things like Mogadishu, Bosnia, and Kosovo.  Peacekeeping-style missions, and those were going to be the missions of the future.  Not killing the enemy and breaking his stuff, but getting all-sides to gather around the camp fire and sing kumbaya. 


# - My last company commander about had kittens when he found out I had busted into the sealed containers with the bayonets and issued out 1 each to my soldiers prior to an FTX where we were going to practice mine detection methods.  Kitten's because OMG!!!1111 someone could have gotten hurt with those !!!!!    rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes

  
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 09:11:56 PM by Amy Schumer » Logged

Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants won't help.


Bring me my Broadsword and a clear understanding.
Get up to the roundhouse on the cliff-top standing.
Take women and children and bed them down.
Bless with a hard heart those that stand with me.
Bless the women and children who firm our hands.
Put our backs to the north wind.
Hold fast by the river.
Sweet memories to drive us on for the motherland.
French G.
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« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2017, 06:21:57 PM »

Step one in an aircraft emergency for military is often to jettison whatever is keeping you from flying or about to make you explode. Populated US does not like falling munitions. Whole separate levels of safetying and segregating armed planes when on the ground. Lightning, security, hazards of electromagnetic radiation ton ordnance, etc, etc. 

And once you have been part of the process of arming you know why there was no time to arm the initial jets.
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If you see ten threads coming down the road you can be sure nine will run into the ditch before you get a chance to post. I call that ditch APS. -Cal Coolidge
TommyGunn
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« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2017, 06:25:20 PM »

Combo of things.  1) Once you arm them, then you have to put (armed) guards* on them 24/7, 2) Sensitive electronics and stuff degrade in long term exposure to weather, 3) There was no point.  It wasn't that there wasn't an air threat to the US.  It was that there was no Threat. Period.%  4) what Larry said.  If you are flying out to Nellis to train, you don't want a bunch of warshots hanging off the plane (real bullets in the guns), what's the point again of loading it up, just to unload it when you get there.  And then there's the turn-in of unused ammo.   Fark that paperwork. And even if you are not flying to Nellis to train, even if it's just to burn holes in the sky to keep your hours up, eventually some dumbass would accidentally let a Sidewinder go flying ....right into a 747 filled with orphans and pregnant nuns.

Nope, keep the missiles and bullets in the ammo bunker, where they can't hurt anyone, nor get anyone in trouble. 

But there WAS threat.....we just didn't know it.



*sigh*......and the fighter planes were all lined up in nice neat rows at Hickam Field on December 7th, 1941, too. 
Oh well. 
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MOLON LABE   "Through ignorance of what is good and what is bad, the life of men is greatly perplexed." ~~ Cicero
HeroHog
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« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2017, 06:48:57 PM »

Step one in an aircraft emergency for military is often to jettison whatever is keeping you from flying or about to make you explode. Populated US does not like falling munitions. Whole separate levels of safetying and segregating armed planes when on the ground. Lightning, security, hazards of electromagnetic radiation ton ordnance, etc, etc. 

And once you have been part of the process of arming you know why there was no time to arm the initial jets.

Maybe they could carry a .50 BMG in their shirt pocket like Barney Fife?
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