As most people know, I'm in a Navy helo squadron...
I was driving from San Diego to NAS Fallon, Nevada, for a two-week detachment. That drive is about 600 miles, and 300 of it is barren land with nothing around. I drove halfway on the 10th, and stayed in a hotel in Bishop, CA that night. I was by myself, so I crashed out early.
I woke up at about 7am, groggy, and flipped the TV on. First thing I saw was the Pentagon on fire; at the bottom of the screen, it said the WTC buildings had collapsed. I thought it was a nightmare. Pins and needles all over. First thing I thought was that the squadron would be trying to account for everyone. I called back, and asked if the det was still going to happen. They said yes. They also said to get to Fallon as fast as I reasonably could. I checked out and hit the road without even watching the TV again. I still had no solid idea of what just happened.
Here's the worst part; that was 4 hours of driving with no radio reception...no TV...no media. The whole way I can only imagine what happened. I didn't know it was an airplane. I stopped at a small store in the middle of nowhere to grab a drink and see if they had a TV. They didn't, but there was a flag in the window. Apparently, it was the last one they had. I snatched it, and put it in the back window of my truck....three trucks later, it's still there.
I didn't even want to listen to CD's. Was just pure silence for 4 hours.
Wasn't till I got to Fallon that I started wrapping my mind around what happened. We still finished out the two week det; but it was pretty weird to be away from home for two weeks. Even harder was the realization that all the gun training we did for those two weeks might be put to use sooner than I ever anticipated. Everything took on a whole new seriousness.
Our sister squadron in Norfolk VA actually landed on the lawn at the Pentagon and performed several medevacs.
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