Where were you? Where was I? Of course I’m talking about 11 years ago today. I think it helps people to talk about where they were. Sorry, son of a psychologist here. So here is my story. Read if you like.
I was stationed at Fort Hood as apart of III Corps 13th
COSCOM. We had a training day. I had been looking forward to it honestly. A pretty easy day where civilians came in and told you not to drink and drive or spend too much money.
PT started that morning at 0600 and it was an easy day. Just a few mile run at an easy pace to keep everyone in it. When we got back and were dismissed from P.T. I hit the chow hall for breakfast. I remember because I was watching the news. Nothing of consequence was on. I ate by myself and headed back to my barracks. So far a pretty good morning actually. I was showering up and getting ready for our training day which was happening across post. I had the radio blasting country music as I am want to do. The DJ was out of Temple, and he mentioned apparently a commuter plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
Because I was good as far as time went, I turned on my TV. to see if there was any footage, the second plane hit moments later.
I went out into the hall to go ask my neighbor if he had just seen that. He opened his door at the same time, with the same shock on his face. Which didn’t help me at all, because he was the sergeant in charge in my barracks.
I asked what I should do, and he said he hadn’t heard anything different, so we should go to our training day as scheduled. I jumped into my truck and by now, the DJ had caught on that something big was happening. As I was pulling into the training center, it was reported that one of the towers had fallen. My Company First Sergeant parked right beside me and was slowly getting out of his car. I remember this moment the most from that day, because it scared the daylights out of me: I asked him if he had heard the tower had fallen. He said nothing. I said, “First Sergeant, what’s going on?”
He just answered, “I don’t know son.” That was it. The guy who told me what to do all the time, didn’t know what was going on. I knew I was in trouble.
After about 45 minutes of training, where we were obviously not listening because of the events of the morning. The civilian speaker had nothing that was going to snap us out of it. Luckily for his speech, he didn’t’ have anything to worry about. Our Company Commander walked into the room and stated that “All civilians need to either report to their on-post housing or leave the post immediately.” And that “All of you, report to the motor pool in 20 minutes in full battle-rattle.” (Full Battle-rattle meant all of the stuff we would wear, not including rifles.)
After reporting to the motor pool, I was put on guard duty at the edge of post. There was a real worry that Fort Hood being the largest military post in the free world, and until that day, very open to visitors, might be vulnerable to attack.
After a week I was put on guard detail overnight. Guarding the commercial checkpoint searching tractor trailers for bombs and weapons. My shift was from 7pm to 7am, 7 days a week. I didn’t get off of that guard shift until after Christmas.
That’s my story of where I was on 9/11.
And I was right. It does help telling that story.