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Rear Adm. Quigley Interview with ABC Radio

Presenters: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, DASD PA
September 23, 2001

Thursday, September 20, 2001

(Interview with Pam Coulter, ABC Radio Network)

Q: First of all, how are things over there?

Quigley: I think the recovery operation is going very well on the point of attack of the Pentagon. We have had literally hundreds of people working around the clock now since the attack on the 11th of September, working initially to extinguish fires, and they've been successful in that. We continue to successfully remove remains because the families, as you can understand, are very anxious to try to understand the status of their loved ones. Then little by little, removing the rubble resulting from the attack.

Q: How many bodies have been recovered now?

Quigley: I don't have an exact number for you. I know it's more than 100. We have a total of 188 people that were killed here, and that includes 64 on the airliner and 124 people that were normally assigned to work in the Pentagon.

Q: Okay, I thought it went up to 189 because someone who was hospitalized had died. Was that incorrect?

Quigley: No, we had an initial number of 189, but we were double-counting someone. So we tried to correct that number. We're pretty sure the correct number is 188.

Q: Okay, great.

What can you tell us now about the deployment and what's going on with the troops that are being called up and all that kind of detail?

Quigley: There's really two issues there. One, last Friday the president authorized the call-up of up to 50,000 reservists from around the nation in all of the branches of the armed forces. You will see them used in a variety of ways to augment the homeland defense mission as well as to, some of the combat and combat support missions as well. Then in the last couple of days we have started to reposition forces outside of the United States to do the Defense Department's portion of the president's efforts in the war on terrorism.

Q: How long will it take to get the planes and the troops over there that are in this first deployment into position?

Quigley: I can't be too specific for you on that, but it will not take very long. We're quite good, actually, at moving quickly when the nation calls.

Q: There's been a lot of talk about the use of Special Forces because of the nature of this conflict with the terrorists. What can you tell me about that?

Q: Pam, this will be a very different war than America has ever experienced before. It is literally impossible to draw parallels between something as recent as say Desert Storm or Kosovo or any other effort. This is not an enemy that uses conventional armies and navies and air forces. It's an enemy that fights and lives in the shadows. So the use of Special Forces will definitely play a role in the weeks and moths ahead.

Q: And the Special Forces like the Rangers, the Delta Forces, the Navy SEALS, they're all specially trained for this kind of thing, aren't they?

Quigley: Our Special Forces are quite literally just that, Pam. They receive a variety of specialized training to carry out very, very specialized missions and they're very good at what they do.

Question: We know we're going to be hearing from the president on what lays ahead for the country. Is this something that people are going to have to get used to, almost a constant activity by the military in going after terrorists?

Quigley: It will be a much broader effort than just military, although we will play a role. This is going to be diplomatic, financial, legal, economic, and military as well. These are networks of terrorists and networks of networks. So it's not about one person, it's not about one network. It's about a system of organizations that are attacking our very way of life.

Q: I know how professional everyone is over there, but let me ask you, after having the Pentagon itself take such a horrible blow, is there any kind of feeling on the part of some people that it's a little bit personal?

Quigley: I think that most of us have moved through a variety of emotions in the last ten days. Initially it was concern and fear and exactly what's happening, very unsure of circumstances. Then I think it was anger, and sadness, of course, for those of our friends and fellow professionals that are missing, and as we confirm their deaths. But now I think it's just a very quiet but very determined resolve to see this through.

Q: I have to say earlier today I interviewed Lieutenant Colonel Marilyn Wills who was one of the people hurt and who is now out of the hospital. I was just amazingly impressed at her coming through what she came through and how she helped get other people out and that kind of thing. So it just seems like an amazing thing that happened over there.

Quigley: I think one of the goals of the terrorists who attacked us on the 11th was to make America afraid and change our way of life. We will not do that. We will, one by one we will disassemble the sources of support for terrorists around the world and we will change their way of life, not ours.

Q: One last question in that regard. The military has kind of done things one way for decades now, many, many years, and now there is going to have to be a major change in course. How difficult is it going to be to ferret out these terrorist cells that are all over the place and kind of scattered in small numbers?

Quigley: You hit it right on the head, Pam. This will be very difficult. It will be long term, but it is something that we just have to do. The alternative is to surrender the freedoms and the way of life that Americans hold so dear.

And I must say, it's a lot broader than just America. Terrorists have shown repeatedly over the years that they don't care a bit about national borders, and any number of nations around the world have suffered terribly from terrorist attacks. That is why I think we are so heartened by the support that we have received from such a wide variety of nations.

Q: Well I do think you have the support of people here, too.

Quigley: Oh yes, indeed. It's something that affects, it goes to the very heart of what we are as Americans and we don't like walking around looking over our shoulder wondering when the next attack is going to come. And that way of life is something that many Americans have fought and died for for centuries, and we will fight to get that back.

Q: Thank you very much, Admiral. We greatly appreciate your calling.

Quigley: You're welcome.

Q: Bye bye.

Quigley: Bye now.