Remembering Sept 11, 2001

September 2009


size0-army.mil-2006-12-12-164910Some number of years ago I had the honor of making the acquaintance of a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. A young seaman then stationed on the battleship Nevada, he related his story, his memories. And as he talked about the aching beauty of that peaceful Sunday morning – of standing at quarters for morning Colors, and of how he still remembered the sound of the bugler’s notes right before the first bomb fell, I wondered.

I wondered how I would feel and react to a similar situation if it happened to me.

And I think I now know…and will never forget.

Never forget my shipmates lost in the Navy Operations Center:

Here are our shipmates who were lost in the Navy Operations Center (NOC) {note: N513 will be posted 10 Sept}. Look closely and ponder the slice of America they represent – from every corner of the country, some first generation immigrants who were refugees of war – others from a long line that has served this country. None of them anticipated their fate when they left for work that morning from their homes in Virginia, Maryland or the District. From all walks of life they had come to serve – and ultimately to unexpectedly die together. E Pluribus Unum. Indeed, out of many, one. Rest in peace… (More here: Fallen Shipmates – Part I)

Never forget my folks from N513, also lost in the Navy Operations Center:

N513 is (was) the Strategy & Concepts branch, part of the N51 Strategy & Policy Division of N3N5. N513’s personnel were the folks who looked at “the big picture” focusing on warfighting concepts and maritime strategies in defense of the US and our Allied partners. This is the branch that in the past had worked on the Maritime Strategy and provided the basis of the Navy’s input to the National Security Strategy among other vital documents. On Sept 11th we lost a majority of the folks in N513 including the branch chief, CAPT Bob Dolan… (More here: Fallen Shipmates – Part II)

Never forget that day:

2Tuesday, 11 Sep 2001 0937:25. Reflexively I glanced at my watch at the moment of impact, burning the time into my memory as I passed to my boss who was in Memphis for a promotion board that we had just been struck.

“Sir, looks like we’ve been hit pretty bad – I have to go. Will try to reach you via cell as possible.”

And with that I completed a voice report that I never imagined I would be making from a shore station. Over the years, through ramped up tensions during the Cold war and in the Gulf I always had in the back of my mind the possibility of having to make just such a call. Never under these conditions…

(Part I) and (Part II)


Never forget the 2996 men, women and children lost that day:

The 2996 Project Post: CAPT Bob Dolan, USN (Pentagon) and Mr. Colin Arthur Bonnett (WTC)

or the sacred ground we claim.

young IMG_0023.JPG

… And never forget all those left behind. I pray that you will remember them all in your thoughts and prayers this week.


Posted by SteelJaw in Navy

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  • Grandpa Bluewater

    BZ Steeljaw.

    They shall not grow old as we grow old….

    Our prayers for those they loved and left behind.

  • Byron

    I make it a point to be on the pier at least, preferably aboard and on the stern during Colors every 9/11. It’s the least I can do.

  • This will be my first year outside of DC for 9/11 – I will be speaking at the Naval War College’s memorial that day instead.

    Last year I attended the service at the Pentagon, dedicating our 9/11 memorial. In a day full of poignant memories, one in particular struck me like blow to the solar plexus – the benches are arranged in groups by age and there was one that was all by itself, the youngest member of AA Flt 77. And on his bench was the tiny stuffed animal you see in the second to last picture above.
    That’s when I knew I’d never forget this day…
    – SJS

  • Jerry Hendrix

    Always a tough day for me. I had spent the previous week with the N513 people coming up to speed on their projects as part of my turnover at N00K. Captain Dolan was very generous with his time and his advice, and, of course, Cdr Pat Dunn was an old shipmate. I still go out to his bench and remember. Hard day ahead today.

  • Surfcaster

    Steeljaw, had I seen this earlier I would have bought you a beer or three. Conddington’s across the street has a fine Ale.

    Have too many forgotten? Seemed very business as usual today, far more so than what would be right.

  • C-dore 14

    SJS—I knew Rob Schlegel and Rob Elseth when they served as Department Heads in my flagships USS SCOTT and USS JOHN RODGERS. Every September 11th I remember them and fly the flag in honor of their memory.

  • Wonderful ceremony at NWC today – can not thank Prof. Jackson, RADM Wisecupp and staff of NWC for their gracious hospitality and remembrance of our shipmates. Opportunity to speak with the family of one of our shipmates was at once both humbling and blessing.

    Was asked by a reporter afterward why it was important to remember the events of the day rather than just that it occurred. Surfcaster touches on why – 8 years on and to many, it’s another mark on the calendar (maybe). College-age kid on TV said he guessed it was about some calamitous event but couldn’t specify what (this as he was standing in the 9/11 memorial in Providence). We need to remember not only that it happened, but remember the immediacy of the event – the shock, rage and heartache because that influenced, and informed the basis of what followed and why, like 8 Dec 1941, the America of 12 Sep 01 onward is a different nation.

    My thanks to C-dore 14, Surfcaster, ‘Phib, Maggie, Jerry, Byron, GPB and all the others who took the time today to remember our shipmates, friends, families and fellow citizens we lost on that awful day. And those who continue to serve and hold the lamp of Freedom high.
    May we never forget them…
    – SJS