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Remembering September 11, 2001

Stories told by survivors and others impacted by the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon.

A person stands for a photo.

Tom Masten

Age: Tom Masten

"I vividly remember standing about 100 yards from the impact area with about 50 people when two fighter jets flew right over the top of the Pentagon very low and going very fast heading north; we all cheered for the fighter pilots. ... I had to return to the NMCC [National Military Command Center] that evening on 9/11 to do some mission critical work; so, around 9 p.m., I got back inside the Pentagon via corridor two, showed my NMCC badge, and was advised of the heavy smoke throughout the hallways by the police. Immediately, I noticed the smell was intense. I had to keep my head low all the way down corridor two until I got to the center court, which was all lit up with fire trucks fighting the fire and a big freezer truck. From the second floor windows on the A ring that overlooks the center court, I saw teams of people loading body bags onto a freezer truck. It was at that moment that it struck me so very hard of the teammates I lost that day. I will never forget that moment and how very guilty I felt for surviving that horrible day."

A person poses for a photo.

Theresa Marie Whelan

Age: Theresa Marie Whelan

"I’d tell young people today that 9/11 was a day on which the insecurity, violence and tragedy that is sadly part of everyday existence for people in many parts of the world came to America’s shores and was a wake-up call. It woke us up to the fact that we are not immune from attacks from external enemies who wish to destroy our country, but [it] also reminded us that we can be resilient in the face of such adversity when we come together and work together as Americans. Great tragedy brought great unity to our country at that time. Hopefully, we can find that unity again."

A person stands for a photo.

Cassandra R. Lee

Age: Cassandra R. Lee

"It was Tuesday morning approximately 0930 and Ms. Maggie Souleyret and myself were in the office looking at everything unfold on the TV, and I just made [the] statement "surely nothing will hit the Pentagon." And as soon as I said that, we heard a boom, and the building shook. As I was leaving the PNT [Pentagon] after PFPA [the Pentagon Force Protection Agency] came knocking on the door to tell us we must leave immediately, I was going out through the eighth corridor to my car when a military officer on a stretcher was being escorted by medic to DiLorenzo Clinic. [There was] just blood everywhere, and I just lost it." [NOTE: The Pentagon Force Protection Agency is charged with protecting designated Defense Department personnel, resources and facilities.]

A person poses for a photo.

Keith R. Walker

Age: Keith R. Walker

"My most vivid memory of that day was the building shaking and the fireball that rolled down past the window I was sitting next to right after the plane hit the Pentagon. At the time, I was still unaware that we were under attack."

A person poses for a photo.

Thomas J. Sheehan

Age: Thomas J. Sheehan

"My most vivid memory was leaving the building into [the] south parking [lot] and seeing a huge black cloud coming from the fourth corridor side of the building. I wondered if it was a chemical bomb as I did not yet know that a plane had struck the building. I met with a friend in the parking lot who had an office in Crystal City [neighborhood]. We walked to her office in Crystal City to let our families know that we were ok. We tried to go to [the] Crystal City Metro but it was closed. We started down Route 1, and, by luck, I found a Pentagon coworker in a two-person carpool that picked us up. On the next day, [Defense] Secretary [Donald H.] Rumsfeld kept the building open, so I returned to work, but [I] couldn’t get my car out of [the] south parking [lot] for a few days. I will always remember the ashes that covered the car when I finally took it home."

A person sits for a photo.

Wesley C. Miller

Age: Wesley C. Miller

"My clearest memory is the immediate unity which occurred following that haunting vibration throughout the Pentagon. Most everyone sensed that we had been hit and knew to leave the building orderly. While I left with my coworkers, some individuals bravely went towards the chaos to help others. Within hours, phone trees were working to obtain accountability of personnel, and planning began to restore operations. I remain saddened by the loss of many friends and thankful that I am closer to those of us who survived the tragedy."

A person poses for a photo.

Alva Constance Foster

Age: Alva Constance Foster

"That day, people reached out to help each other, and it continued on after that day. There was a unity, a camaraderie, care and concern. And it was genuine. Now, I am not so naïve to believe that racism, sexism and all the negative "isms" disappeared that day [or the days thereafter], but I do know that even in the midst of those horrific events — humanity prevailed."

A person poses for a photo.

Andrew M. Porth

Age: Andrew M. Porth

"After seeing the live coverage of the second plane hitting the World Trade [Center] Towers, my boss said, "We should stay away from the E ring." Soon afterward, we felt the Pentagon shudder but did not know what had happened. The phones worked, so I was able to call home. The news was reporting something about a fire at the Pentagon, but nothing about an airplane. There was no clear evacuation announcement [the PA system was completely garbled]."

A person poses for a photo.

Charlton Eugene Watkins

Age: Charlton Eugene Watkins

"While watching the World Trade Center attack, I was going to head over to the Navy Command Center to watch the news on the various large television screens they had in the space. I headed out to go to my supervisor, Mr. Roger Woods' office, but [I] had to go to the head (restroom). Shortly after coming out of the restroom, I heard a horrendous boom. We were struck by a plane, and the Navy Command Center was destroyed, and [I] lost seven coworkers and close friends that day."

A person poses for a photo.

Darrien Dwayne Boulton

Age: Darrien Dwayne Boulton

"After the Pentagon police had safely ushered everyone over to Pentagon City Mall, I was in the crowd when we saw our fighter jets fly overhead in defense of the nation. Everyone cheered loud and enthusiastically, symbolizing the fighting spirit we all felt as the terrorists who struck that day tried to kill our spirit and make us cower in fear. They were wrong, and America was already showing that to the world."

A person poses for a photo.

David John Asiello

Age: David John Asiello

"There was a day care facility at the Pentagon, and I remember seeing the little children holding onto a rope and being escorted out of harm’s way. It was so sad. Whenever I see little children holding on a rope walking together around town, I think of the 'Pentagon kids.'"

A person poses for a photo.

Harry Flood Byrd Jr.

Age: Harry Flood Byrd Jr.

"I, along with several others, pulled people and/or debris out of the hole on A&E Drive. I also went into the crash area and found bodies and saw the path of the plane from the impact to where the wreckage ended up at A&E Drive, [vehicle access point on the Pentagon reservation]. Myself and [Army Lt.] Col. David D. Phillips were the sole people to enter that area, as there were no survivors."

A person poses for a photo.

George K. "Skip" Williams

Age: George K. "Skip" Williams

"We walked around to the crash site [up on highway 27]. We could see pieces of the plane up on the road, little pieces. I also remember the vivid scenes of ordinary people and first responders trying to help in the chaotic scene there. As we started to go down to help, we were told another plane might be coming in and only official first responders could stay."

A person poses for a photo.

Frank Stearns

Age: Frank Stearns

"I recall getting to the Pentagon, having to drive on sidewalks in [Arlington County, Virginia, neighborhood of] Crystal City in order to make any headway against the gridlocked traffic trying to move away from the area."

A person poses for a photo.

Heidi Honecker Grant

Age: Heidi Honecker Grant

"I am reminded every day when I hear about instability around the world how fortunate I am to be a survivor and [about] those who have given their life [U.S. and international partners] for my freedoms. The actions I take at work and in my personal life since 9/11 have been shaped by my experience as a 'one day' survivor."

A person poses for a photo.

David A. Sobyra

Age: David A. Sobyra

"[I was] assigned to the crisis action team in the NMCC [National Military Command Center] for the week following 9/11 and [smelled] the smoke from the Pentagon; it was still burning at the time."

A person poses for a photo.

John H. Jessup

Age: John H. Jessup

"I remember people on the floor, the windows blown out and the smoke which limited my vision to about 3 feet. When I escaped into the inner court, [I saw] a large wheel that appeared to be from a plane or large vehicle."

A person poses for a photo.

James C. Lloyd

Age: James C. Lloyd

"[I] started that day in the Raider Clinic Dentist office in the Pentagon, and I didn’t realize the severity of the attack until I got to my office and saw the look of fear in my director’s and coworkers' eyes as they heard and felt the plane hit the Pentagon. [I remember] the black smoke [billowing] from across the center court and folk running past me covered in blood and soot."

A man stands with the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in the background.

Retired Navy Capt. Joseph F. Gradisher

Age: Joseph F. Gradisher Bench #: Retired Navy Capt.

"This was one of the signature events in the history of our country, where those of us who were alive at the time remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we learned of the attack. My parents experienced that with the attack on Pearl Harbor. The day that President Kennedy was assassinated was another of those events. It is a part of history that has had, and will continue to have, a lasting impact on the lives of all Americans. Our lives were forever changed that day."

A person poses for a photo.

Jon K. Berlin

Age: Jon K. Berlin

"I had only been working in the Pentagon 3 weeks on 9/11. I had never been in a Pentagon fire drill or any evacuation, but the training and rehearsals from public school fire drills were still useful memories. People moved away from the fire, to the nearest exit, calmly but quickly and we took instructions from the Pentagon police."

A soldier poses for a photo.

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Steven Bennett

Age: Army Brig. Gen. Mark Steven Bennett Bench #: Army Brig. Gen.

"[Retired Army] Gen. Peter Chiarelli provided a piece of the face of the Pentagon that was struck in the attack to each of the Army Crisis Operations Center members that immediately supported the Army’s role [in] our nation’s response. I framed then-Brig. Gen. Chiarelli’s one-star letter and the granite rock as a memorial to that fateful day."

A person poses for a photo.

Mark Steven Pizzuto

Age: Mark Steven Pizzuto

"When I look at the clock, day or night, I see 9:11 a.m. and p.m. very frequently to this day!  It gave me a very different, blessed outlook on life."

A person poses for a photo.

Patrick M. Antonietti

Age: Patrick M. Antonietti

"9/11 was a horrific and unimaginable day, but the entire world rallied to support the United States. It’s important to make and keep friends and allies in the world and to work together with them to solve problems."

A person stands for a photo.

Van Colton Williams

Age: Van Colton Williams

"Creating a climate of fear is the goal of terrorism, and, as difficult as 9/11 was, fear has no place here. Also, our military, police and first responders have sacrificed a lot to keep us safe. Don’t take that sacrifice — or our freedom — for granted."

A person stands for a photo.

Torwanna D. Herbert

Age: Torwanna D. Herbert

"I was talking with my coworker in her office on the E ring, and they had a television. We were looking at the news. The news stated that a plane hit one of the twin towers in New York, and then a second plane hit the second twin tower. I ran from her office to go to the D ring to let my coworkers know that two planes hit both twin towers. As I was talking with my coworkers in the D ring, we felt the building moving like it was an earthquake. We all start running out of the Pentagon. Once we were outside, we saw so many people crying and flames coming out of the side of the Pentagon."

A person stands for a photo.

Robert L. Thorne Jr.

Age: Robert L. Thorne Jr.

"I remember getting hit in the face by parts of the building. The next vivid memory were the sounds of the people who were rushing down the corridor in a panic. We moved down the third corridor, then to center court. Once we finally exited the building, I looked back to see the tail of the plane and flames still visible. We proceeded down Army Navy Drive and ended up at [the] south parking lot. It reminded me of the chaotic happenings I experienced when I was in Vietnam."

A person stands for a photo in a room displaying the Pentagon seal.

Robert D. Hogue

Age: Robert D. Hogue

"[I recall] being trapped inside our offices as the building burned around us. I will never forget the unity we felt in the building and in the country in the days and weeks that followed the attack. It was a moving and powerful reminder of how lucky we are to be Americans."

A person smiles for a photo.

Teresa Saba Flahive

Age: Teresa Saba Flahive

"The Pentagon Chapel continually reminds me that the chapel was built as a result of the horrific event and location of where the place actually hit. Each time I walk into the Pentagon Chapel, I see a beautiful chapel with stained glass, and I am so thankful that today we have a beautiful memorial, a place to pray and worship, a place that we didn’t have before the attack on the Pentagon."

A man is pictured with the American flag as a backdrop.

Retired Army Col. Linwood B. Clark

Age: Retired Army Col. Linwood B. Clark Bench #: Retired Army Col.

"I lost a great friend that day, Army Maj. Dwayne Williams. He and I were Command and General Staff College classmates, Class of 2000-2001."

A woman sits on a bench at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.

Aretula Irene Halstead

Age: Aretula Irene Halstead

"One month prior to 9/11, I was standing in a conference room where my former office, HQDA-DCSPER, was giving me my farewell ceremony in corridors 2  and 3. And, just a month later, that conference room was completely destroyed, and almost everyone in attendance died the morning the plane hit the building."

A woman poses for a photo outside, with the Washington Monument in the background.

Caroline D. Wilson

Age: Caroline D. Wilson

"I think of the words from a former pastor. He’d bellow from the pulpit, 'Life is too short, hell is too real, and death is around the corner! Do not let anger or malice be your guide.' 9/11 is reminder that everything can change in a moment."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Sue Gough

Age: Sue Gough

"It’s important to understand other peoples, other nations and to provide aid and assistance where we can; when we help others, we reduce the conditions that lead to the desperation that drives terrorism. Don’t hate those different from you; find a bridge to understand one another — another way to reduce the factors that lead to terrorism."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Harvey R. Robinson

Age: Harvey R. Robinson

"[My recollection is] seeing fear on people’s face[s], like, this cannot be happening in America."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Mark Reeves Lewis

Age: Mark Reeves Lewis

"My most vivid memory of that day is the smell of smoke and jet fuel. To this day, I still cough when I talk about the experience."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Woodrow G. Kusse

Age: Woodrow G. Kusse

"Be prepared to step up when the situation demands; be the solution, not part of the problem or just an observer."

A woman sits on a bench at the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.

Carla Brewton

Age: Carla Brewton

"I left the front office (3D326) to pick up distro. I proceeded to walk back to the office, and I heard a loud noise . . . I never made it back to the office. I was very scared, and, hearing the sound effects from the airplane, . . . I watched so many people running and screaming in the hallway."

A person poses for a photo.

JoAnn Lawrence

Age: JoAnn Lawrence

"That day, many people lent a helping hand to others."

A woman stands with the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in the background.

Diana M. Arnold

Age: Diana M. Arnold

"The loud 'thud' of the plane when it hit the building, it reverberated throughout my body, but confusion didn’t prevent the orderly conduct of people as they were rushed out of the building. The reality of the situation hit home when I heard a security guard yell out, 'Run for your life!'"

A woman stands with the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in the background.

Nicole Doucette Bayert

Age: Nicole Doucette Bayert

"At the time that the plane hit the Pentagon, I was with my boss, Robert S. Taylor, across the hall from our suite watching coverage of the twin towers on television. When we felt and heard the impact of the plane and explosion, we didn’t believe that it was anything connected to what was happening in New York; instead we assumed it was yet another construction incident that [would] necessitate evacuation."

A man stands with the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in the background.

Patrick A. Richardson Sr.

Age: Patrick A. Richardson Sr.

"If it feels too stressful to even imagine living through 9/11, my words won’t matter. But if a soundbite will suffice; then I suggest you 'get woke'; check what you value most, and do your part to help the situation in YOUR world. The very next days after 9/11, we returned to work anxious and feeling a little less protected, but I realized what 'standing up for democracy' meant to me. It suddenly felt like a fragile privilege, one worth defending and perpetuating, yet never simply my democracy, but OURs…(that’s me, everyone I care about, those they care about, and so on)."

A man stands in the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.

Patrick J. Tennis

Age: Patrick J. Tennis

"After locking up our classified hard drives in the safe, we evacuated the office into the courtyard.  As I turned towards a courtyard exit, I witnessed a civilian gentleman exiting the building in duress. As I approached him, I could see his neck tie was melting and his hair was on fire. I extinguished the flames, laid him down and began treating for shock. Soon I was relieved by the heroes of the Pentagon Clinic. I then [re]traced the victim's path in an attempt to find additional casualties. I soon found the hole the plane made in the A-B driveway. I worked with three others to extract victims from the Navy Operations Center."

A man stands for a photo at the Pentagon Memorial.

Roland Biser

Age: Roland Biser

"When I drink a V-8 juice, I remember running late that day, very hungry, and buying a V-8 juice from the blind man’s stand. Because I was carrying the juice bottle, I felt too unprofessional to follow my normal pattern, going to our front office to pick up my day’s paperwork. If I had, I surely would have sat with Sandy [Taylor] to watch the TV monitor [of events in New York]. Instead, I made a simple, yet pivotal, decision to bypass our front office, unknowingly leaving harm’s way." [Ms. Taylor was among those killed in the attack.]

A man stands for a photo with the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in the background.

Vincent W. Kam

Age: Vincent W. Kam

"My vivid memory of the day includes the loud explosion and lifting of the Pentagon third floor, black smoke that filled the conference room in less than 30 seconds and the smell of burning jet fuel. The image of the fireball that came at me at the window where I stood following the explosion is seared into my memory. The smell of the burning Pentagon can be sensed throughout the surrounding neighborhood including Crystal City, Pentagon City and the Arlington National Cemetery."

An airman and a sailor stand and smile with the benches at the Pentagon Memorial as a backdrop.

Hanna and Heather Born

Age: Hanna and Heather Born

Air Force Lt. Hanna Born and her sister, Navy Midshipman Heather Born were in the Pentagon's day care center when the Pentagon was attacked. Hanna was 3 years old; Heather was 4 months old.

Hanna: "I ... gained a deeper appreciation for the unsung heroes at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, Flight 93 and elsewhere across America who stepped up during a time of national crises in ways beyond what they ever could have ever imagined upon waking up that morning."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Bernadita Manibusan Cruz

Age: Bernadita Manibusan Cruz

"Tuesday, September 11, 2001, at about 9:30 a.m., I heard a big b-o-o-m and felt the Pentagon shake. The fire alarm did not sound for employees to exit the building. [There was] massive confusion in the hallway as employees tried to get information on what shook the building and what was going on. It was not until I got to my car that I heard a plane not only crashed into the twin towers in NY, but also the Pentagon."

A man poses for a photo outside, with the Washington Monument in the background.

Daniel Kendall Sr.

Age: Daniel Kendall Sr.

"I remember 9/11 as a beautiful, sunny day that a major tragedy happened that has changed this world in so many ways and the innocent people that lost their lives shall never be forgotten."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

David Matthew Hodson

Age: David Matthew Hodson

"I remember quite vividly the shock wave that ran through the office suite after the plane hit the building. Power shut down for a minute, and, then, the alarms went off and the emergency power came on. We evacuated to the stairwell at the junction of the next corridor. Due to the temporary offices erected along the A ring, we were not able to see anything through the windows along the A ring until we could look back from the window at the stairwell to see black smoke coming from the area just beyond where the office suite was located."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Stephen D. Willard

Age: Stephen D. Willard

"Evacuating 2nd floor corridor 2 with hundreds of people rushing out. Up ahead was a woman from the cleaning crew on the ground covering her face, crying. Everyone just ran past her. I looked to my right and made eye contact with an Air Force officer. We looked at her then each other again. No words spoken, no gestures; we split around her; I hooked her left arm, he hooked her right. We picked her up and never slowed down."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Gerry L. Kitzhaber

Age: Gerry L. Kitzhaber

"Freedom is not free. Our collective inability to anticipate how potential adversaries might exploit our weaknesses contributed significantly and enabled the events of 9/11 to occur. We must remain vigilant and ready to protect our country from adversaries."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Elizabeth My Phu

Age: Elizabeth My Phu

"I remember a gentleman gently reminding a woman who was running out of the Pentagon to walk. That simple gesture has stuck with me as emblematic of how calm and collected Pentagon professionals [were] even in the face of an attack. That made a great impression on me as I was in the middle of my first year at the Pentagon."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Gerald Santulli, DMD

Age: Gerald Santulli, DMD

"Recollecting on how such a horrific incident occur[red] on such a bright sunny day. [I had] the feeling of helplessness to [not] be able to do more with the limited supplies and equipment available."

A person poses for a photo, with a DOD seal in the background.

Retired Army Col. Roy Alan Wallace

Age: Retired Army Col. Bench #: Retired Army Col.

"I remember standing with three other officers — [Army] Lt. Col. Tom Cleary, [Army] Lt. Col. Gerald Barrett, and Lt. Col. Bill McKinnon — in the 4th corridor C ring hallway trying to decide where to go next. The fire and smoke were bearing down on us from the E ring when [Army] Lt. Col Brian Birdwell just appeared out of the smoke and fell in front of us. He had been badly burned and we picked him up and started toward the A ring where we ran into the new fire door that had closed across the corridor. Since we had just moved into the newly renovated wedge, we had not been trained on how to operate the doors. Thinking quickly, Lt. Col. McKinnon used his badge to swipe into 2B453, and we carried Lt. Col. Birdwell through that office into the A ring where we were met by several nurses from DeLorenzo Clinic, who were running towards the fire."

A woman sits on a bench in the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.

Cassandra Tsintolas Johnson

Age: Cassandra Tsintolas Johnson

"When our executive officer came around our office suite to tell us to leave our office quickly, but for no apparent reason, we were led into the 'A' corridor and then out of the Pentagon with thousands of other employees in a very orderly and quiet fashion. About 25 of us were in our group, and we ended up outside in the south parking lot. I immediately realized that the Pentagon was on fire, and I believe I had what seemed to be an 'out of body' experience — with sirens blaring, fire trucks driving by our assembled group of fellow OGC [Office of General Counsel] colleagues, police cars streaming across the parking lot, helicopters overhead, people running toward us yelling at us if any of us had any medical experience. My immediate thought was that it was like being in the middle of a Bruce Willis disaster like movie with [Interstate] 395 ahead of us full of cars — but it was jammed, as no car was moving. Then a police officer ran toward us and yelled at us to 'get away from the building as far as you can because a rogue plane is headed this way.' Our group walked to Pentagon City where we saw people with their car doors open and their radios full blast with the news of what had happened at New York City and the Pentagon."

A man stands inside the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.

Robert Newberry

Age: Robert Newberry

"As principal director for territorial security, I called a meeting with service and OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] representatives in the Pentagon to prepare to establish the OSD response cell at the OSD command center so we could respond to requests for DOD [Defense Department] assistance from New York following the attack. After adjourning the meeting, I felt a thump, and as a few of us walked from the C ring, we saw the black smoke coming down the corridor. While some in the Pentagon bravely assisted with personnel recovery or responsibly evacuated the Pentagon, the three of us proceeded to the OSD Command Center.  Soon after arrival, I was directed to proceed to the helicopter pad to join the DepSecDef [deputy secretary of defense] in setting up at the alternate Defense site. The DepSecDef did not remain at the alternate site, but I remained there for a bit over weeks."

A person poses for a photo.

Kobe Owens

Age: Kobe Owens

"[A vivid memory from the days after the attack is] the smell from the wreckage. There is nothing like that smell. Thank God my supervisor, Tom Bay, prepared me for it when he called asking me if I would return to work. I had one day off and was asked to return to do rescue-and-retrieve, working alongside of the FBI, Arlington Fire & Rescue, etc. A true challenge for a divorced mom of three young daughters, but no second thought came to mind despite the opposition of some family members. I, along with the others chosen, considered it an honor and a duty to restore the building. I must add, we had no idea of the long hours and continuous days we would work for months out — adrenaline kept us going. The hourly report time [included] body count parts and calls that came with either concerned loved ones or personal stories. [We were] working under the guidance of the structural engineers as we escorted others leading them to the retrieval of mission critical documents. Very stressful experience! One wrong step and one could find themselves falling through the floor."

"One thing I must say, the Pentagon Renovation Team prior to 9/11 was a strong and great group of people to work alongside; however, after the plane hit, we grew even stronger, and to this day we consider each other family as we manage to still keep a connection going. From this experience, I can with confidence say we share a bond that can't be broken; hard for some to understand and are still truly like family no matter where paths have taken us since that day."

A person poses for a photo.

Retired Army Col. Retired Army Col. Regina M. Grant

Age: Regina M. Grant Bench #: Retired Army Col.

"My most vivid memory of that day is attending an Army G-1 executive officers’ meeting at 0900 and having a great time laughing and joking with Martha Carden and [Army Lt. Col.] Robert Grunewald when suddenly a huge fireball swooshed in and out, completely taking out all the lights and filling the room with the smell of jet fuel and smoke. (We were completely unaware of planes crashing into the Twin Towers in New York). When the lights went out, [Army] Lt. Col. Dennis Johnson and I were looking directly at each other as Robert Grunewald yells, "Where is Martha?" (This is critical as I desperately looked for Dennis Johnson as soon as I could only to learn that he did not make it out). Someone else yells, "Quick, get under the table!" Another yells, "You can’t get out of this door!" — meaning that you can’t get out of the door that leads to the E ring. You could hear folks scrambling under the conference room table. Barely able to see anything, I crawled to the other door in the conference room that led to almost a 200 cubicle-space office area; through the fog, I could see John Yates peering into the conference room as if he was looking for someone. Little did I know at the time, John had been hit by the fireball or the fire from the plane. As John turned to leave, I followed the heels of his shoes as he traveled the length of the main walkway that divided the cubicles. As I low-crawled and dragged my body following the shoe heels, I was aligned with the ceiling fire sprinklers, which provided air and a glimpse of light as I was able to see my finger tips about every 8 feet or so. As John Yates made a right turn, I followed but somehow lost sight of his heels, so I started yelling, "Where are you? Where are you?" I suddenly stopped as I thought that I had entered a cubicle space, sat up, and looked behind me immediately seeing other folks behind me. I turned back around to see if I could keep going and heard someone say, "Come through the light." So, I kept going until I ran out of energy as the smoke was so thick and there were no more fire sprinklers, and it was difficult for me to breathe. As I stopped to catch my breath, I felt a sense of peace as my husband and family flashed in my mind. Just as I was about to give up, a sparkle from Tracy Webb’s eye caught my attention as she seemed to be standing there holding her head. I reached up and grabbed her dress and pulled her down to the floor. Seeing Tracy re-energized me as I started yelling again, "Where are you?" At that time, I could hear someone yell back, "We are here! Come on out! So, I grabbed Tracy, and we started crawling to the sound of the voices. As we made it to the escalators, Army Col. Karl Knoblauch, Army Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose [and] Army Lt. Col. Victor Correa were there pulling back the firewalls so that we could pass through. We ended up in the center court where I saw John Yates laying on the ground covered in severe burns. Almost as soon as we entered center court, an alarm went off to get us out of the Pentagon area for fear of another attack. I was one of the lucky ones; my injuries included: scraped and burned knees; suffered smoke inhalation – thick black soot [that] took weeks to clear out of my lungs and body; torn rotator cuff; scarring on feet, knees and legs; and traumatic stress. I am a true believer that on this day, angels guided me to safety."