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Sat Sep 11, 2021, 12:02 PM

Dusting this off for the 20th Anniversary

20 Years ago, today, I was conducting an overnight field training exercise with some radio operators, medics and ground support troops assigned to the 375th Aeromedical Evacuations Squadron in the woods on the back end of the base.

My unit was in the process of changing our mission from stateside patient movement to Tactical Aeromedical Evacuation.
These folks were Med Techs and support troops who hadn't trained for this type of stuff since basic... Let's just say that the field craft was lacking.

These were folks who had previously worked exclusively in hospitals or offices.

So practice practice practice was the plan with older line NCOs such as myself on hand to gently encourage improvement in the areas that were substandard.

We were a few hours into day 2 when I got a call from our orderly room. I was told that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. The Airman on the line gave me no details, and I pictured a small plane dicking around and crashing into the building.

I hung up and went back to showing the proper way to build a sand bag revetment to a group of young men and women who really didn't give much of a shit.

Then my OIC came over and told me to break camp and pack up. We were to report to the warehouse to be briefed by the Commander.

As you know, another plane had crashed into the WTC, into the Pentagon, and a fourth plane had crashed into a Pennsylvania field as well.

20 years ago today.

Several of the Airmen at that training event were 20 years old or younger when the attack happened.

Looking back at all the incompetence and fuckery that followed the attack it is too easy to forget that exact moment.

But we never should

Those kids looking to get the GI bill for college or a fresh start away from their hometown all disappeared.
We became a true "Squadron" in the course of 5 minutes - The 2 minutes my Colonel spoke followed by a 3 minute CNN video recap in the back of a hot dusty warehouse.

I don't know how many man years that group spent in theater, I deployed twice and that is probably below average.
I am proud to have served with them and I hope that my work kept them a little bit safer, more efficient - and I hope sane.

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