GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Twenty years ago, smoke billowed and ash blackened the sky. Screams echoed through the air but ultimately fell silent. Sirens rang repeatedly, lights flashed, and indistinguishable noise erased the silence as bystanders tried to make sense of the chaos.
He drove his car as close as he could to the World Trade Center, grabbed his firefighting gear, and left a note in his locker.
Tell them I’m sorry, but I have to do what I have to do, it read. He went into the building.
On the 20th anniversary week of September 11, 2001, the 17th Training Wing held several events to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
First, the 312th Training Squadron hosted a 20th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony, on the Firefighter Memorial Troop Walk, Sept. 8. The event focused on remembering 9/11 and honoring those who lost their lives during the disaster.
At the event, Retired Fire Capt. Mike Dugan, New York City Fire Department, shared his personal experiences and his response to the attack and offered heartfelt words of encouragement.
“You are now starting a career in the fire service. A lot of my friends started as military fire fighters, and some of them came through the training here,” said Dugan. “They became leaders because of their dedication to duty, pride in their fire departments, and the courage-- both professionally and personally-- that they learned from here.”
Next, the Wing paid tribute to the lives lost with a Retreat Ceremony outside of the Norma Brown building on Sept. 10. "Retreat" signals the end of the duty day by honoring the U.S. flag as it is being lowered down the flagpole.
Demonstrating a one-team, one-fight reality, joint service members assigned to Goodfellow participated in the retreat ceremony.
“I think it’s awesome to have all of the detachments in one event and it’s a great experience to be here,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Allan, Center for Information Warfare Training Detachment Goodfellow instructor. “It’s a great honor to participate in this ceremony. I remember the attacks like it was yesterday, so vividly in my mind. We’re here to take a little time out of our day and remember all who were lost.”
Finally, the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy will host its 9th annual Blood, Sweat, and Stairs competition, at the High Bay, Sept. 11.
The competition’s 2-mile course is a firefighter-oriented training activity that will simulate the obstacles and challenges first responders encountered during the rescue efforts after the attacks on 9/11. Competitors will race up a 90-foot tower, drag a 200-foot fire hose, and haul a 185-pound dummy throughout the course.
“The significance of the event is to pay our respects to the emergency responders who gave their life on 9/11, through physical events that emulate any given tasks a first responder may have to do,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler Moorehead, 312th Training Squadron instructor. “It’s important we continue to host this event to never forget the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”