Bulletin Board of Losses Tells Who They Were, What They Did
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2001 "Oh, my God, I didn't know that Kevin got killed!" Karen Saunders exclaimed.
Standing in a group of women looking at the large bulletin board full of pictures of people who died in the Pentagon terrorist attack Sept. 11, Saunders had come across the tribute to Navy Petty Officer 2nd class Kevin Wayne Yokum, a naval information systems technician.
Defense Department officials erected the three large bulletin boards around the Pentagon's River Parade Field, site of an Oct. 11 "United in Memory" ceremony. Photographs and biographical sketches of those killed graced the exhibit.
"It just shocked me to see Kevin's picture on the board," Saunders said. "He worked on the fourth floor between Corridors 4 and 5 in the A Ring. He worked one floor under me, almost in the same position. I've been trying to figure out why, if he was in his office, he didn't make it out like we did. He must have been walking around on that side of the building. I can't think of any other way he would have gotten killed."
Saunders said she knew several other people who were killed because she works in the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army's Equal Employment Opportunity Office "where the biggest hit was taken."
"I went to high school with Lisa Young," she said. "She graduated in 1982 and I came out in 1980. But I was closer to Kevin than anyone else on this board. I said to myself, 'Isn't that interesting, the one that I was closest to I would find out about like this?'
"He was a young man," Saunders said. "But I know he has gone to a better place."
"I saw a lot of family members stopping by to look at the boards," said Bob Leach of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. "The only person I knew personally was Bryan C. Jack, whom I knew for about 17 years. He was an excellent economist, kind, generous, intelligent, a true scholar, excellent teacher. I really miss him. He's a true loss."
Jack had been a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77, which terrorists hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. The director of the programming and fiscal economics division in the DoD Comptroller's shop, he'd been on his way to give a speech in Monterey, Calif. Among other responsibilities, Jack crunched America's defense budget.
Army Sgt. Maj. Gilbert Morales walked from panel to panel looking at the pictures and reading the biographical sketches of several people.
"I knew about a dozen or so of the people on the board," Morales said. "I was scheduled to replace one of them Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland. It hurts me to see any of them up there, but the people you know -- whether it be Sgt. Maj. Strickland or Sgt. Maj. Ivory Lacey, whom I've known for 12 years, Gen. Maude (Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Maude), whom I would have worked for it hurts. Maj. Kip Taylor, Maj. Steve Long, Spc. Craig Amundson just a whole list."
Morales said the bulletin board with biographical sketches and pictures of each person are a fitting tribute that tells people who they were and what they did in life. "I didn't know that Max Beilke, who worked for us in Army Personnel Command, was the last combat soldier out of Vietnam," the sergeant major said. A retired master sergeant, Beilke had only been in the Pentagon that morning to attend a meeting for retirees.
"Then you read this bio on an 11-year-old boy who should have had nothing to do except try to grow up. And they took that from him," Morales said.