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Post-9/11 Share Your Story submissions

 Digital Record


  • Event: Data submitted to website database compiled and published, 2024 Feb 29.

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Biographical / Historical

2020 Submissions

Submitted Date, User, Highest rank or civilian? Name, Service branch and unit, Race, Service member or civilian? Year your story takes place, Location of your story, Your Story, Image 1, Photo caption, Image 2, Photo caption, Image 3, Photo caption, Other stories or individuals we should reach out to?

12/6/2020, Gary McKay, Service member, 2001, Pentagon Arlington VA

I wasn't scheduled to be at a briefing of Reserve Component generals on 11 September 2001, nor was my NCO. The officer and NCO that were scheduled both had a conflicting meeting so we went in their places. At the first meeting break, the General conducting the meeting had stopped at a nearby office, noting the news broadcasts about the first plane striking the World Trade Center tower in New York. He said that at the next break we would all go the office to follow up. We were in a special briefing room with at least three foot thick steel walls. Even at that, in the next few minutes the entire room shook with wall mounted objects being dislodged. I turned to my NCO and said "That can't be good". Everyone in the room streamed out of the door, the generals heading to the right toward the exits while my NCO MSG Smith and I went to the left, got to a window, and seeing where the column of smoke rose went down the hallway toward it. As we got closer to the impact site the smoke accordingly got thicker. At the time the Pentagon had automatic sliding extending barricades at specified distances to limit fire progression. MSG Smith, "Smitty", made it through one set of these doors ahead of me. As I started around the closing door it managed to pin me against the wall, one arm and leg on each side, stuck like a butterfly on a pin. " What a way to be found dead after all this over". I managed to shove repeatedly on the door until the sensor identified an obstruction and retreated a bit. I caught up with Smitty shortly and we kept going further into the smoke, staying together by hanging onto uniform sleeves. I had held my hand in front of my eyes to gauge the smoke density, literally not seeing it until my hand touched my nose. We found a chain of people reaching further into the smoke to grab individuals and pass them along toward an exit, so we added onto their efforts. In the passage of people, I lost track of Smitty. When the chain ran out of people they could find by feel, I went further along the hallways. I saw some other folks in an other corridor running toward another exit, passing around and sometimes over a body, blackened in total. I found on reaching him that, while his airway was even soothed, he was still alive. Another officer I knew had just placed a backpack under his feet to elevate them before returning to where he'd found the man. Having nothing to work with, I wondered what I could do to even aid this what I expected would be a fatality. As I looked up, some of the Pentagon's clinic staff arrived, even with morphine, IVs, and a electric cart for evacuation. After stabilizing this patient and seeing him being evacuated, I went further down a corridor, meeting another group searching for survivors. As we proceeded, the smoke seemed to lessen. As we got further along, we all stopped at the same time and looked around at what seemed to be a change in our ability to see. It became evident to all of us at the same time what had happened. The smoke was significantly thicker behind us, the fire having gotten around us. Since we weren't finding any living souls we decided to try and return to an exit, to this day not being able to determine how and where I was able to get out. Finding myself in the central courtyard I started helping medical personnel there treating patients. After a few patients, I noted a woman walk out of the building towards me with a slightly stagger just as we heard a screaming jet engine approaching from the southern sky. We immediately tried to evacuate the remaining patients to the grassy verge along the Potomac river side of the Pentagon. So I'm carrying one corner of a litter in one hand, an IV bag for the patient on the litter, an oxygen tank and providing a guiding arm to the recently emerged lady the whole time wondering when the screaming approaching jet engine might change pitch as it started down to also crash intl the courtyard. We reached the grass, immensely relieved to see that the jet as an Air National Guard F-16! Just after setting the litter down, the lady at my arm collapsed. A quick exam revealed she had a collapsed, internally bleeding lung at a minimum. I managed to locate a physician who was trying to coordinate efforts in the median. I told him about my patient' need for the next ambulance to which he replied there were no more ambulances. A nearby officer stated he had a van in the nearby parking lot. He ran to retrieve it, driving over median barriers and bring it back. The MD asked my back ground, an Army Physician Assistant (PA), handed me a small oxygen tank, an intubation tube and instrument, and we were off. Another officer helped load the patient in the van and then rode in the front passenger seat while I attended to the oxygen for the lady in the back. As we headed to the nearest hospital ,we encountered completely stopped traffic on the side streets even. The third officer got out, running alongside the van yelling and slapping hoods trying to get people to let us through. We met an Arlington County PD squad heading toward the Pentagon, flagged him down to help us. He said he was heading toward a bunch of people dying. I stuck my head out of the window and in lowered voice, said "We've got one right here". To his credit he ran back to his squad, turned around over the median, and got ahead of us, which drivers relunctantly let him do. As he headed toward the hospital, we tried to keep up, having to dodge numerous drivers who tried to get behind the squad even for just a few feet. More frightening however was when we got beyond the initial crunch of traffic, not only did the squad pick up speed but, cars seeing the squad go through an intersection with lights and siren, would approach from perpendicular roadways thinking the road was clear and speed up to well beyond highway speeds. We narrowly missed being hit in a T-bone fashion I don't know how many times. We reached the hospital just as the oxygen ran out, my patient lost consciousness, and I was just deciding how I could incubate someone in the very limited space in the van's back. We were met in the parking lot by the ER staff, got the lady into the department, chest tube enplaced, and on the road to survival. We returned to the Pentagon and assisted with what were by that time recovery efforts assisting the firemen. At the end of the day, I happened to hear a voice for which I was truly relieved, Smitty appeared in the courtyard as we were clearing the equipment to the rescue tents set up in the northe parking lot. His stories are equally telling. As we decided that there was no more that we could constructively do that day, about 1700, we headed to Smitty's truck, unfortunately now within the crime scene tape line. A federal agent, looking at our obviously bedraggled appearance allowed us to leave in the truck rather than walking the over three miles back to our office.

11/30/2020, Gary Carlberg, Service member, 2004-2009, Norfolk, VA, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan

In November of 2004, as an Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel from Minnesota, I was mobilized as an individual augmentee and assigned to the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) in Norfolk, VA until February 2008. I then continued serving as a drilling Reservist with USJFCOM until July 2009. Within this four-star Combatant Command, I was assigned as one of the plank owners of the Standing Joint Force Headquarters (Core Element), providing key leadership to this fledgling organization that became a fully operational command. The mission of this non-traditional unit was: Provide the warfighter with a trained, standing core element to enable the Joint Force Commander to command and control the integrated operations of air, land, maritime and informational capabilities of assigned forces. This was the only joint, operational level, rapid globally deployable unit in DoD. It consisted of Active Duty and Reserve Component billets from all four Services and augmentations from the Coast Guard and inter-agencies as needed. At the end of this assignment I was awarded a Legion of Merit. I deployed to Iraq as the Operations Chief in support of the Strategic Plans and Assessment Directorate in Multi-National Force Iraq. In this directorate I led a team to use a prototype operational net assessment database and new effects -based planning and collaboration tools to assist in the joint interagency planning process. To accomplish this mission, I coordinated with U.S. military, coalition, interagency and host nation personnel on kinetic and non-kinetic missions. Upon redeployment I completed the last phase of the U.S. Army War College. As a newly promoted Colonel, I deployed to Baton Rouge in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on a Military Support to Civil Authorities mission to augment their staff after Hurricane Katrina. In my assignment as the Deputy Operations Chief I effectively coordinated across the staff during this crisis, and wrote daily reports that were presented to the President of the United States in person. I was the only military person awarded by the Operations Director for my leadership in the development and calm coordination of plans across the organization. We had the pleasure to ride home from this mission in the plane normally used to fly the Vice President of the United States. Soon after we redeployed from Katrina, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck in Kashmir, Pakistan with 27 aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 and greater killing 73,000, injuring 69,000 and leaving 2.8 million homeless in Pakistan alone. Since we had recent Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Relief experience we were tasked by the Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff to immediately deploy, which we did in 96 hours. This was high priority mission with National Security interests in building our relationship with Pakistan as a Global War on Terror partner, in support of the strategic goal to improve regional stability. This was so important that the Combatant Commander personally came to oversee and support the operation twice. In this assignment I served as the Combined Disaster Assistance Center- Pakistan Plans Chief working for Admiral LeFever and the impressive Ambassador Crocker. While the Al Qaida and associated terrorist movements were identified as threats, more so was the weather as winter was approaching and millions had lost their homes. Medical issues were also a threat since 65 percent of the health infrastructure has been damaged beyond use in the affected areas and clean drinking water was scarce. In addition to Hospital, Engineering and Aviation Units we also had a Tactical Airlift Control Element that provided air space management for five CH-47s and three UH-60s from the U.S., and other nation’s aircraft to include the largest plane in the world, the Russian AN-225. Using skills further developed at the War College and USJFCOM, I used the joint military decision making process, bringing the full extent of the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic aspects into the process. I planned and coordinated operations involving multiple nations, U.S. military and U.S. interagency and Non-Governmental Organization support to the country of Pakistan. Since the U.S. military is used to being in charge, working in support of a less developed nation was a most interesting and complex assignment. It was fulfilling to use military equipment from multiple nations for the good of mankind instead of killing each other. The U.S. Central Command Commander (USCENTCOM), General Abizaid, presented a coin to me for the relief support and conditions-based exit plan I led a Joint Planning Group to develop. As one of two Reserve Colonels on the USJFCOM Commanding General’s personal staff, I served as the Support Element Director detailed to USCENTCOM in Tampa to oversee the deployed staff in in Iraq and Afghanistan, and identify emerging requirements and coordinate actions between the two combatant commands.

Utilizing my electrical engineering background, I deployed to the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan to stand up Joint Task Force Paladin and provide operational planning leadership and coordination to the Counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) fight. As the J-5 Future Operations Chief I led the development of the CJTF-76 C-IED Campaign Plan, wrote Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statements, and Operational Needs Statements. I coordinated with Task Force Troy in Iraq, the Rapid Equipment Fielding team, CENTCOM Headquarters and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), successfully obtaining several additional resources for the command. I also supported the joint interagency working group in the planning, coordination, synchronization and execution of several OPORDs and FRAGOs. The Campaign Plan was recognized for successfully transitioning the task force from reacting to IED explosions to hunting and eliminating the network of bomb engineers, financers and transporters; resulting in a 23% reduction in American and Coalition casualties. In the Joint Commendation Medal for this deployment it references my success in coordinating with ISAF and the Afghanistan Minister of Defense, leading the development of a plan that successfully eliminated an IED cache that was near an IED hot spot. I had the honor to work directly for the USJFCOM Deputy Commander (3 star general) as the Army lead in the Joint Planning Group that successfully developed the Standing Joint Force Headquarters “RC 240” prototype. While respecting current policy and processes, we challenged Reserve force structure and policy paradigms and developed creative solutions that provided joint units with Active Duty and Reservists to rapidly deploy to new Joint Task Force Headquarters. My briefing was presented to 4 start generals and above in “the tank” meeting in the Pentagon. After it’s approval I led the command’s implementation and using a creative nation-wide recruiting program filled the new Army Reserve and National Guard billets.

After my mobilization ended and I was working for JIEDDO as a GS-15 civilian, as a Reservist I continued to serve in the USJFCOM Joint Reserve Unit as the NATO ACT C-IED Chief from 2008 to retirement on 4 July 2009. I this assignment I provided C-IED training coordination to NATO and supported joint mission rehearsal exercises. This assignment was a great complement to my JIEDDO position where we did not have the mission or authorities to provide C-IED training to non-US forces. This worked so well that the JIEDDO Director requested that my mandatory retirement date was extended; this was not approved. I had the honor of being requested by name by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Commander to fill on short notice a recently vacated C-IED Division Chief. The mission of this person was to advise and assist Afghanistan leaders at the operational and strategic level, doing much of what I was doing as the Senior IED Trainer in DoD with JIEDDO. Instead of deploying as a civilian I went through the retiree recall process and deployed as Army Reserve Colonel from September 2011 to April 2012. I was assigned to the ISAF, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan command in Kabul, Afghanistan. In this NATO assignment, I successfully led the joint, international NATO staff that developed the Afghanistan Army and Police Counter-Improvised Explosive Device capability. I coached Afghanistan Generals and led the NATO team in the development of the highly-regarded Government of Afghanistan C-IED Strategy. In addition, I provided input and technical oversight of contracts for both personnel services and the acquisition of equipment. I identified a major problem in the Afghan Explosive Ordinance Demolition (EOD) team training projections only achieved 48% of the goal when you include the 30% attrition. To overcome this critical readiness shortfall, I developed a plan to achieve a 73% rate by 2014 that proved to be successful. Through improved literacy screening and more hands-on training we increased the EOD school graduation rate from 15% to 55%. To stimulate an effective transition from this school being Coalition led to Afghan led, I modified the contract. This reduced the number of contracted instructors every year in the EOD school and provided a bonus for increasing the number of proficient Afghanistan instructors. I was also able to add an EOD school for the Police using contractors that would have been laid off resulting in an improvement in the total number of graduates at no additional instructor cost. In 2015 these EOD schools were identified as one of the few successful transitions from NATO run to fully Afghanistan staffed and led. Army Reserve: December 1997 – October 2004 Minnesota Army National Guard: Enlisted (E-1 to E-6) January 1975 – April 1980, Officer May 1980 – July 1996 Military Awards: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal-2, Joint Service Commendation (3), Army Commendation (4), Army Achievement (3), Good Conduct, Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign-2, Iraq Campaign, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service (2), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award -3, NATO Medal, MN National Guard Commendation Medal, Recruiting Medal-2, Recruiting Badge, Minneapolis Recruiting Command COI award, and St. Maurice Medallion




9/17/2020, David Haugen, Service member, 11-Sep-01, Puget sound naval ship yard Bremerton, WA

I was heading to work on a a bus from Everett, WA to Puget sound naval ship yards where the USS Abraham Lincoln was docked along with 75 other of ship mates. I guy sitting next to me got a call from his sister saying a plane hit the was about 545am PST when he got the call most of us were sleeping on the bus. When the bus got to PSNS they wouldnt let the bus on base. They ordered all of us to walk into base with ID's ready. When we got to ship we were told we are in lock down and may not be going home tonight. Everything was acclerated from then on and we headed out to sea! It changed my whole perspective of why I joined the military!


Biographical / Historical

2021 Submissions

Submitted Date, User, Highest rank or civilian? Name, Service branch and unit, Race, Service member or civilian? Year your story takes place, Location of your story, Your Story, Image 1, Photo caption, Image 2, Photo caption, Image 3, Photo caption, Other stories or individuals we should reach out to?

8/4/2021, Anthony Amatuccio, Civilian, New York City - World Trade Center

I have lived in Eden Prairie since May 1994 but my story is about my kid brother Joseph Amatuccio. He was an employee of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He started out as a toll collector but went to college at night and continued to move up in the organization. At the time of the attack on the Towers he was the Director of Maintenance Operations for all 7 buildings of the World Trade Center. His previous position was Director of the Elevator Systems. When the first plane hit, most employees left, but he and a handful of others stayed behind to assist first responders, mainly locating people trapped in elevators and on stairways. He was part of the last group to be found which consisted of mostly first responders. On September 9, 2005 I was at the White House with his widow to receive the Medal of Valor awarded to him posthumously. He was one of only a handful of civilians among the almost 500 first responders to receive this award. I am attaching the announcement/invitation for that ceremony. I am also attaching an article about him from the New York Times. Thank you for what you are doing and I plan to be at the Capitol on the morning of 9/11.



7/19/2021, JASON PHILIPPI, Service member, 2003, Iraq

I remember being at work when September 11th happened people said a plain hit one of the towers. I didn't believe it I thought it was may be a accident. Then we saw it on TV in the lunch room still thought it might be a accident. I got home after work and watched the 2nd plain hit I knew it wasn't a accident now. Being I was in the Army National Guard I knew that there would be a time I would be called up just not sure when. On Monday January 20, 2003 I got the call I had just got home from work and was in the shower my Fiancé told me I had a call I had to take. I was told to report to Camp Ripley to my Co C142nd ENGR BN on the 22nd we were called to active duty for Operation Enduring Freedom. I think we were one of the first units to be called up in MN. Me and my fiancé got married the 23rd (we were going to get married that September) Thanks to a JAG for helping me out. The next few days we loaded our equipment and gear to get ready to go. The Air guard was nice enough to say they would fly us to Fort Carson so we could spend more time with our family's, instead of driving all are equipment there. On the 29th we were heading to are MOB station so we said farewell to our friends and family and headed out for are training. We trained to head through Turkey from the north in to Iraq but found out Turkey wasn't going to allow this. So we went through Kuwait instead. We got to a base in April called LSA Anaconda, Balad, Iraq. There we did hundred's of projects repairing the air field and improving the living on base. We also had missions off base in different areas of Iraq. In April of 2004 we were finally able to go home to are family's and friends. I was proud to serve my state and my country. The one thing I always remembered was a active duty First sergeant said he liked working with us because we we able to get things done faster and better then our counter parts.


7/15/2021, Charles L Storlie, Civilian, 10/2007-12/2008, amarra, Iraq (MND-N)

I worked for approximately five years from 10/2006-09/2011 on a variety of law enforcement related positions in Iraq and Afghanistan for the DOD and DOS. I was a former law enforcement investigator, I had military experience (23 years), and the appropriate clearance. One of my more significant experiences during that time was working as an embedded Law Enforcement Advisor with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) in the Law Enforcement Professional Program (LEPP). JIEDDO was sending criminal investigators into Iraq and Afghanistan to assist with two of JIEDDO's core missions. The first mission we were to assist in was "Defeat the Device". We were to go with our units on raids to gather evidence, document the scene, package the evidence and deliver it to the in-theater forensic labs. We were gathering anything that may have fingerprints, DNA, and items that may be used in the prosecution of detainees. Our second mission set was "Attack the Network". As law enforcement officers, we knew how to 'build cases' and assist units putting together prosecution packets. In January, 2008 the Status of Forces between Iraq and the Coalition had changed. In order for units to remove detainees from the battlefield, we had to build cases that could be presented in trials at the Central Criminal Courts of Iraq (CCCI). I arrived at FOB Brassfield-Mora (located outside of Samarra, Iraq in MND-N) the end of October, 2007. My reception was anything but warm. I was supporting TF NO SLACK (2/327 IN) of the 1st BCT (Bastogne Brigade) of the 101st Division (Air Assault). The unit was engaged in daily missions and had multiple Troops in Contact (TIC) on a daily basis. I began a slow and steady introduction of myself to the BN Staff, Unit Commanders, and individual soldiers. Before I could offer one bit of advice, I had to know what the soldiers faced on a daily basis. I began a rotation to the company Patrol Bases to meet and go on patrols and missions with the company or individual platoons. My first large operation(s) was OPERATION FULTON I-III conducted in the Al-Jazerra desert South West of Samarra.

On January 8, 2008 Alpha company had been ambushed on their return from destroying a Home Made Explosives (HME) factory. The unit had suffered three KIA and two KIA. Without their knowledge, Alpha company had run into a series of insurgent base camps with bunkers, trenches, and logistical support areas. I was sent out by the BN S-2 the next day on the start of FULTON I. The operation began with a dismounted attack by Alpha Company. During this time, the Objective was getting hit by fixed wing, rotary wing, artillery, mortars, and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). For the next three weeks, TF NO SLACK fought through the area and conducted a series of raids. On January 21, 2008 I was injured by a Person Borne Improvised Explosive Device (PBIED) more commonly known as a "suicide bomber" that attacked a patrol I was on during a cordon of a market area. I suffered an M-TBI. I was able to recover in theater and later rejoined TF NO SLACK. After the end of the FULTON Operations, TF NO SLACK began the Sons of Iraq (SOI) program to bring over former insurgents to end the fighting. I joined the No Slack Samarra Revitalization Team (NSRT) to begin to bring back basic services to the City of Samarra, Iraq. I worked the Rule of Law portion with a Platoon Leader from Charlie Company. We had some great success through the end of the deployment. I was a civilian working in Iraq. I wore a uniform, carried a weapon, and went with soldiers on missions. I cared for the soldiers I was with as I did when I was a Soldier in the MN Army National Guard. The unit treated me extremely well. The best compliment a unit can give someone is to treat them as one of their own. When I was with TF NO SLACK, I felt that whatever the unit came across they could deal with it effectively. The TF NO SLACK Commander was LTC JP McGee. He is now MG JP McGEE, the Division Commander of the 101st Airborne Division. This deployment gave me great opportunities to keep soldiers safe by working with a unit in combat. For that I am extremely grateful...




LTC Darrin Janisch LTC Jacob Helgestad CSM Jim Goss

6/18/2021, David D. Rabb, Service member, Iraq 2004, Baghdad

As the Commander of the 785th Combat Stress Control Company from Fort Snelling,, MN I had the privilege to lead 85 Soldiers to and through combat during some of the most difficult and important days of OIF.




David Patterson, (MSG, Retired) Behavioral Health NCO who deployed with me with the 785th CSC in both Iraq (2004-2005) and to Afghanistan (2011-2012). He served over 35 years with the United States Army and Army Reserves. Please see the 60 Minutes “Brain Rangers” on you can google it. I would be happy to do a talk on the unit’s many accomplishments at war.

4/30/2021, James Cox, Civilian, 2001, Las Vegas - Sacramento - Portland My 9/11 Story"

The elevator door opened to the lobby of a Las Vegas hotel. Around 6:30 A.M., Tuesday, 9/11/2001. While walking out, with suitcase rolling along behind me. Next instant, I looked up as a colleague was loudly calling out to me, "Where do you think you're going!?" "Heading to the airport. Why?", I naturally inquired.

His reply was simple and direct. "No, you're not. Go back to your room and turn on the TV!" I did, immediately. Thank goodness! Those two fast reactions kept my room in my name!

Had I checked out, the room would have been instantly given to somebody else. Thousands of travelers were, even by that time that infamous day, already without ways to leave Vegas - and without a room. The hotel confirmed I could keep the room until I checked out...whew!

My employer had a group of perhaps 20 sales staff and executives in Vegas for a sales regional conference. No surprise - a typical location for a sales conference.

You likely can readily imagine what came next for me. Watching, with shock and horror, that first New York City building burning, sending those infamous smoke plumes billowing skyward. The next couple of hours were phone time, processing all this with my wife, Karen, at our home in Beaverton, OR, and my daughter, Andrea, age 25, in CA. With my hotel room TV keeping us informed. Tears, talk, anger, shock...all rolled into painful bundles. Plus, attempts to focus our energy on my Higher Power, as self- help we sure needed that morning!

Next, much of my focus, the next few hours, were on "How and when do I get back home?" As the world had learned, seemingly instantly, there certainly would be no flights for who knows how many days!

The Strip - hotels, casinos, restaurants - was - yes! - quickly overbooked and overcrowded. Making mundane activity nearly hysterical at times. Finding meals, one-way rental cars, long-distance taxis, even Greyhound or other buses was quickly nigh onto impossible. Especially for any departure in the next 24 - 48 hours. Later that day, 9/11, however, I lucked out. I learned Greyhound Bus did have a route to Portland, OR, near our home, via Sacramento, leaving at midnight Wednesday the 12th. The Greyhound agent further advised me there was no advance ticket purchasing. That I had to get to the local bus station on Wednesday well in advance of departure, for buying my ticket. I did, and found a line two full blocks long! Out the door, down to and around the corner. Eventually, I was delighted to find myself seated on the fully packed bus with a delightful group of "911 refugees" heading to either the Sacramento or Portland bus stations. One was a reporter for a Portland area community newspaper. The many hours ride to Sacramento went quickly, due the high energy buzz of the conversations. I don't recall how I was able to get any sleep or food. I do recall a few hours in the Sacramento bus station – in part as I was fearful of falling asleep, on that floor, and miss my ride to Portland. All followed by many more hours, with a number of the same people, during the bus ride to Portland.

I vividly recall arriving at the quite grand main train and bus station in Portland. And my delight in spotting my wife, surveying the crowded depot for me. To my surprise, I also saw other Portland area people we knew, evidently also arriving via whatever transportation they had found from whatever various places.

I sure was happy and thankful to be safely home with Karen!

Jim Cox, Retired Circle Pines, MN Viet Nam Era Vet MN American Legion Member, Post 566, Lino Lakes, MN

4/3/2021, Betsy Shannon, Civilian, 2001, Minneapolis MN

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was a normal sunny morning on my way to work at St Stephen’s Church and Human Services. While driving north on Hwy 55, I was astonished and confused by the high number of aircraft heading towards the MSP for landing. I switched on WCCO and heard Diane Sawyer, appalled, announce a plane flying into one tower, and then the second plane hit the other tower! I was devastated, glued to the news for days and weeks while the world grieved. Quilts, Inc based in Houston, Texas rapidly put out a call out for a silent auction at the Houston Quilt Show in November 2001 to earn money for ‘Families of Freedom Scholarship’ fund. The auction raised $25,000 from about 100 quilts rapidly made by fellow quilters from all over the world, working through our heartbreak and anguish. I sketched out an idea, a small quilt and called it ‘Spirits Rising’. It had to be finished quickly so I used fabric paint and free motion quilting. My emotions were still reeling in aftermath so I created a second 9-11 quilt. ‘Spirits Rising ll’ was created using fabric and a small bit of fabric paint as the medium. The final destination for this quilt is hanging in the 9-11 Museum in New York, NY. I ended up making two more, a surprise for the President of Quilts Inc, and one for the Costa Rican Embassy by request. I am honored and humbled by the money earned for charity, and to the attention my work received around the 9-11-2001 tragedy.



3/2/2021, Steve Kramer, Service member, 9/11/2001, MN

I was taking my kids into school the morning of 911 and listening to KQRS. They mentioned something was happening in NY world trade center. While they were talking the hole in tower they saw the 2nd plane fly into the other tower. Someone said "Who would do that" Tom Bernard said right away "Osama Bin Laden". He said he wanted to take the towers down in 1993 and he's back at it. I took my kids into the small church school and told the teacher to turn on the radio as we are under attach in NYC. I stopped at a gas station and told the workers the same thing. I went into work for just an hour to do a few things. I was serving in the MN National Guard and later today I was scheduled to report to Camp Ripley. Our unit was going for some training to work in group homes in MN as the State workers were going on strike soon and we were going to replace the workers while on strike. I got changed into my uniform and left to meet a fellow soldier in Fairbault to commute together. I stopped at a gas station for some food in my uniform and I was getting stares and words of encouragement from people to go get them. The full time clerk at the Guard unit said he's had retired military members stopping in and asking about joining again. We went outside to lower the flag to half mast and I was starting to feel the impact as we were doing it. We drove up through the Twin Cities and it was eerie as there was not a plane in sight as we passed near the airport. We got some honks and thumbs up as people did see us in uniform. We got to Camp Ripley and i think for the first time in 15 years of being in the military they asked to see our ID. Normally just being uniform is ok. We meet up with the rest of the unit at Camp Ripley and we were all in disbelief and didn't know for sure what the future would be for all of us. We had classes for 3 days and limited time seeing the TV coverage. I know most people were glued to the TV for days after so part of me felt left out not being able to follow what was happening. It was a day I'll never forget. The timing of being called into to active duty on 911 and people all thinking it was for 911 but I didn't explain my mission as i think they felt comfort in seeing military that day. The views of military personal changed drastically for the positive after 911.

2/27/2021, Linda Cameron, Civilian, 2001

Luverne, Minnesota Remember Rally, Inc. The city of Luverne, Minnesota has remembered the victims of 9/11 and honored first responders and military veterans in a variety of ways since the 9/11 attacks. Remember Rally, Inc. is a nonprofit begun shortly after September 11, 2001 by a group of volunteers led by Diane Sherwood in Luverne. The purpose of the organization is to honor local veterans and first responders. For eleven years, the group sponsored a 150-mile motorcycle run, each year following a different route. As many as 125 to 150 riders participated in the annual event to raise awareness and honor active military servicemen and women, veterans, and first responders. The run raised money for a variety of causes: Mount Sinai Hospital in New York in support of a special program to treat those who worked at Ground Zero after 9/11; some individual first responders in New York; and some veteran organizations. Fire trucks escorted the motorcyclists to the edge of town to start the riders on their way. In October 2015, Remember Rally, Inc. sponsored a visit to Luverne by combat photographer Stacy Pearsall. Ms. Pearsall spoke to a group of high school students from Luverne, Hills-Beaver Creek, Adrian, and Ellsworth. She gave a second presentation at the historic Palace Theatre that evening. While in Luverne, Ms. Pearsall also photographed a number of local veterans, representing all eras of service. The photographs are displayed on the corner of Highway 75 and Main Street. In 2016, Remember Rally, Inc. created a time capsule filled with information about the city of Luverne and about the events sponsored by the organization over the years. The time capsule is scheduled to be opened on September 11, 2026, the twenty-fifth anniversary of 9/11. From Memorial Day through Veterans Day in 2017, Remember Rally, Inc. enlisted the aid of local merchants to display photographs, uniforms, a “missing man” table, information about PTSD and war statistics, and other items in a Walking Military Memorial as a way to thank local veterans for their service. In 2016, Luverne became the first Purple Heart City in Minnesota, so a large Purple Heart banner was also prominently displayed. Remember Rally, Inc. is currently working on their most ambitious project to date: a new veterans memorial that will include a life-size replica of the Vietnam Wall, and black granite monuments honoring the memory of those killed in conflicts from 1979 to 2000, the victims of 9/11, and those killed in service during the Global War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. The memorial, designed by MSH Architects of Sioux Falls, SD, will stand near Highway I-90 and will feature an education center to help future generations understand the sacrifices made by those honored.

Bibliography: Hot104.7. “Luverne Minnesota Joins Sioux Falls as Purple Heart Cities., July 27, 2016, accessed 2/16/2021. Remember Rally, Inc., accessed 2/16/2021., accessed 2/16/2021. Tribute Video., accessed 2/16/2021. [Link may not work in Chrome.] Sherwood, Diane. Email correspondence and research materials, February 2021.

Images: Motorcyclists riding in the Remember Rally; Stacy Pearsall's photographs of Luverne area veterans; the planned Luverne Veterans Memorial, designed by MSH Architects. All images courtesy of Diane Sherwood, Remember Rally, Inc., used with permission.




2/2/2021, Josiah Hoagland, Service member, 2011, Kandahar, Afghanistan

I had joined the Army Reserves while in college at Bemidji State University to become a chaplain's assistant. I wanted to serve the nation and had a proud heritage of military service dating back to a great-great grandfather from Fargo, Oscar Barrett, that had fought in the Civil War. After graduating from Bemidji State University I was attached to a route clearance battalion and deployed to Afghanistan to help fight the war on terrorism. This year in Afghanistan would change my life in many ways. While deployed I was able to assist my chaplain in worship services and had opportunities to lead worship. Throughout the year my battalion lost two Soldiers--heroes who gave their lives. A defining moment for my life came when I was getting food in the local chow hall on base in Kandahar, Afghanistan one evening. I grabbed my food and instead of sitting down to eat, I took my food with me out of the chow hall and back to my living area. As soon as I left the chow hall I remember the loud boom and the shaking of the ground as a rocket had just hit the ground. I ran outside and saw smoke rising from the chow hall I had just exited. The chow hall had been hit by a rocket with several wounded and dead. That life defining moment inspired me to follow my call to become a pastor and eventually a chaplain. I continue to serve in the Army Reserves, now as a chaplain with a unit out of Ft. Snelling.



2/1/2021, Joseph Buhain, Service member, 2005, Adghanistan

Joseph P. Buhain of Prior Lake has been named among “America’s 50 Heroes in 50 States” by the U.S. Department of Defense. Buhain, 36, formerly a respiratory therapist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, now teaches respiratory therapy at St. Paul College, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reported. While in Afghanistan in 2005, the Army reservist built a respiratory school for Afghan medical students and an intensive-care unit in a hospital in Kandahar. He also trained more than 350 medical students in CPR and took part in more than 150 missions. He was awarded the Bronze Star in March 2005. Buhain moved to Prior Lake about a year ago. He previously served as a medic and served in two combat zones in 2004 and 2005. He was first sent to Iraq to treat the wounded and later was sent to Afghanistan to serve as a medical noncommissioned officer in charge of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team.

Biographical / Historical

2022 Submissions

Submitted Date, User, Highest rank or civilian? Name, Service branch and unit, Race, Service member or civilian? Year your story takes place, Location of your story, Your Story, Image 1, Photo caption, Image 2, Photo caption, Image 3, Photo caption, Other stories or individuals we should reach out to?

11/23/2022, 05 USAF Philip Blom Chaplain USAF, White, 9/11 2001, Pentagon

At 06 30 on 9/12 2001 I was called to the Pentagon to be the Crisis Action Team chaplain. I served in that capacity until the president declared mission accomplished. I then went to serve the mobilization taking place in Grand Forks Air Force Base. My role was to be the last person they would see before they departed and then I would go meet with families. I volunteered as the Next Of Kin Chaplin. I volunteered so a chaplain will always be there for the family after they received the news. At the Pentagon I provided oversight for 120 chaplains 99 chaplain assistants. They were moving across 23 countries. I also commissioned a good friend of mine to serve as the chaplain for special operations. In 2005 I went to Keesler Air Force Base post Katrina. They head chaplain had to leave because the hospital was flooded by the Hurricane and his wife had been diagnosed with cancer. So I became the chaplain guiding the recovery process. I went for two weeks and ended up staying voluntarily for two years earlier. I served at the United States, Air Force Academy, teaching core values during that time I was at Peterson Air Force Base when they initiated Space Command, and I was being asked to be a Head Chaplain. As a veteran I voluntarily went to Ukraine bringing warm clothes, medical supplies, winter clothing for children. I was inspired by the people of Ukraine.

9/9/2022, Civilian, Bryan Kelly, 2002

Southern Wisconsin My brother joined the Marines shortly after the attacks of 9/11. Our parents had always been pro-military but anti-war. The last thing they wanted was one of their young boys joining at a time of such uncertainty. My brother did not look to us for advice in this matter. He knew why he was joining. He was falling into a life of small town ease - drinking too much and falling in with the wrong crowd and about to settle for a life he didn't want. He told us a week before he headed to boot camp in San Diego at MCRD. My mother was devastated. My father was lost. I was immediately obsessed with the idea of losing my brother to the same people who caused so much destruction that previous September. It took one conversation to see that this was what he needed. He needed a way forward. Military service was his escape. He fought in Afghanistan. Iraq. Hunted pirates in the Gulf of Aiden. He's now a civilian contractor who has travelled back to many of the same places he visited as an enlisted man. He makes me incredibly proud as an older brother. We were lucky to get him back in one piece. To those who did not get that luck, I grieve. God bless the United States and those who give it all to protect what she stands for.


Meeting up in San Diego shortly after his return from a tour somewhere sandy.

9/2/2022, SSG Heather Adamson, Army, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), 2005-2010, Afghanistan

I do not come from a military family. My family is patriotic, but I came into the Army very ignorant in military culture. My recruiter had asked what I enjoy, and I told him how I loved to run. “Airborne it is”, he says with a smile. I truthfully believed this was an odd name for a running club. No one informed me it meant I would be jumping out of planes. I was keen to continue once a challenge was set my way but also because I could run and was one of very few females that ever ran with the “A” group. What I didn’t know is that my being the only female surrounded by men would become the only culture I knew. I fell in love with being Airborne. Orders came to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, NC. I remember my battle buddies being jealous. The males seemed to be in awe that I was military intelligence and airborne. Special Forces meant nothing to me, and I would be the first to admit that “Rambo” wasn’t on my list of movies I ever watched. I started to do my research and recall sitting in the Fort Bragg Library in utter shock of the history of Special Forces and how I was attached to this history. My first deployment came before I had a chance to settle in. I was 19 years old. I loaded up into a C-17 with a tough box of books and a tough box of gear. My 1SG was amazing. He told me right from the start that he would throw me into the deep end. With my lifeguard certificate from my high school summer job, my medical skills (minimal as they were), my languages, and the fact that I was a female made me a sought-after tool. I landed in Afghanistan to begin intel work at Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A). I went to a civil affairs team in a hot area. A team went out and called for QRF after a weapons cache was booby-trapped and had exploded. I jumped in with the QRF team and got there to witness absolute chaos. It was devastating and a flashpoint in my life that I knew I wasn’t the same person as I was before. More than one had made the ultimate sacrifice that day and I remember feeling terrified in a quiet sort of way. I called in a nine-line medevac and assisted with an 18D (Special Forces Medical Sergeant) that was triaging but struggling with his own grief and flashbacks. I went back to CJSOTF-A with a bronze star medal and a heart heavy with loss. From that point, I went all over the country in so many different scopes. My 1SG took me on a trip to “Death Valley” (Tagab Valley, Afghanistan) where I was a driver. Listening to the radio with an interpreter that night, we were attacked with RPG and small arms fire. I was given my first taste of combat and it felt rather like my first jump out of an airplane; terrifying and beautiful. Cycling through deployments after that, I began to work in the Special Projects Group. Another military intelligence female (Laura Dickmeyer) and I were hand selected to get attached to Special Forces Detachment Alpha. The importance of this is that we were the first females to be attached at the lowest level (Battalion level) with a Special Forces Group. We were piggybacking at the success the Marines had in integrating females for specific missions. Laura and I began what would later be called Female Engagement Teams (FET). In the meantime, we had our teams with a lot of successes and a lot of mistakes. Many of the flashpoints of my life were training with the Green Berets. They truly raised me in the military. I have many men to thank for being the best of the best that special operations are known for. I also get to thank my recruiter for sending me to my running group, “Airborne”. Their dedication, professionalism, hard work, and outright ambition took an ignorant northern Minnesotan girl and changed me into a strong Soldier and leader. De Oppresso Liber.

1: getting my wings with my father

2: hanging out

3: reenlisting at CJSOTF-A

7/22/2022, SSG James Furnas, 2003-2011, Iraq/Kuwait

Went to Iraq during the invasion April 2003, deployment lasted 15 months 17 days and did not leave Iraq the whole time. Returned in 2011 to complete the pullout with the 34th Infantry Division in the Minnesota National Guard.




7/22/2022, Toby Miers, 2001, Hanau, Germany

I was stationed in Hanau, Germany at the time. Recently returned from a deployment to Kosovo and my wife 8 months pregnant with our first child, then 9/11. All Army posts were on lock down with only service members and their direct families being allowed in, shutting out many German nationals employed in various positions. Instead of anger or indifference, many German citizens would bring flowers, light candles and give empathy and condolences, often waving a United States flag or giving a friendly smile, letting us know that we weren't alone, that this wasn't just an American tragedy, it was a human tragedy.

7/15/2022, Joshua Pagnac, Civilian, 3/20/2003, Iraq invasion

Was a part of operation desert spring in fall of 2002. Basically training for 6 months in Kuwait. We later learned that my Division was going to spearhead Iraq in 2003. We fought for 21 days all of the way to Baghdad. We had restistance much of the way until around April 7th. I was a crewmen on a Abrams with the 2nd Bde, 3rd Infantry Division. Once we liberated Baghdad, we were called to Fallujah, Iraq until August 2003. And back to Baghdad in 05, And Iskandariyah in 07’




7/11/2022, Lowell Laudert, 2014, Camp Buerhing, Kuwait

My brother and I were able to cross paths on a deployment. He was deployed with an army reserve unit and I with eCAB 34th ID. We are members of the White Earth Nation of the Minnesota Chippewa tribe. We were interviewed and able to get a picture with the White Earth flag. I was then able to fly the White Earth flag over brigade headquarters. The flag along with the very was then gifted back to White Earth.






7/10/2022, Scott Castleman, Service member, 1988, Service History Story

I. Military Career Scott Castleman is a combat veteran who served the Nation for over 29 years, attaining the rank of Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Superintendent. Scott began his career in the December 1988 when he enlisted in the Minnesota Air National Guard, 148th Fighter Wing based in Duluth, MN and retired in September 2018 from the United States Air Force Reserve, 934th Airlift Wing based in Minneapolis, MN.

A. Pre-9/11 Scott received the Florida State Commendation Medal in 1993 for establishing a security area for two F-16 fighter aircraft, after Hurricane Andrew destroyed the aircrafts’ storage facility at Homestead AFB, Florida. In 1999 Scott received an Air Force Commendation Medal for leading an Explosive Awareness course and obtaining professional law enforcement certification for the course. He was also recognized for volunteering at numerous Air National Guard recruiting events and responding to civilian law enforcement requests for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) support at emergency situations. In 2000, Scott received a second Air Force Commendation Medal for his performance at an Air Force Civil Engineer Readiness challenge. He installed a water purification system, established and marked an emergency airfield lighting system, and assisted with a camouflage and concealment event.

B. Post 9/11 After 9/11, Scott began a period of regular deployments. First, he served on active duty in support of Operation Noble Eagle for approximately 1 year and responded to 40 local and state law enforcement agency requests for EOD support at emergency situations. Next, he deployed to Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom for approximately four months in 2003. His Commander observed that Scott did “an outstanding job” and helped safely disarm a partially discharged ejection seat in a B-52 bomber, disposed of many unstable pieces of ordnance, and provided younger EOD members with valuable training and experience. In 2004 Scott served as an EOD Team Leader based at Bagdad International Airport (BIAP). Despite danger from rocket and mortar attacks, Scott responded to 250 incidents and disposed of over 16,000 items. He led his team on 73 responses into hostile territory and was credited with saving a convoy from “sure destruction.” He helped defeat an IED during the coalition assault on the city of Fallujah and pushed through an enemy ambush to successfully complete a mission. He neutralized a vehicle borne IED that had cut off the main supply route for the Iraqi Theater of Operations. For his actions on this deployment, Scott was awarded his third Air Force Commendation Medal. Scott deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq for a second time in 2006, where he responded to 215 incidents as an EOD Team Leader. For his service on this deployment, Scott was awarded the Bronze Star and nominated as an Honor Airman. The Army Colonel that commanded Scott’s task force in Iraq endorsed Scott for the Bronze Star, adding a notation that the Award was for “exemplary courage and superior performance” in support of the counter-IED mission. The narrative accompanying Scott’s award states that [A]s an EOD Team Leader, Technical Sergeant Castleman executed more than 175 combat missions under the threat of insurgent attacks to exploit, render-safe, recover and destroy Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), Post Blast Analysis', and weapons caches within a 42,000 square kilometer area. While supporting the 1st Brigade Combat Team, he rendered safe and destroyed 105 IEDs strategically placed along critical Supply Routes allowing freedom of movement for all multinational supply and relief convoys. The narrative also describes an occasion when Scott donned a bomb suit to disarm two high explosive projectiles, which then allowed a combat patrol to proceed after it had received small arms fire, hit an IED, and suffered casualties. Scott’s letter of evaluation for his deployment states that he was “heroic” and that he disarmed an IED near a wounded soldier, which allowed medics to safely provide first aid. Scott also “contributed to the recovery and destruction of 33,601 pieces of ordnance, starving the enemy of the main explosive charge utilized in roadside bombs.” In addition to the Bronze Star, Scott was awarded the Air Force Combat Action Medal, which recognized his “active participation in combat, having been under direct and hostile fire or physically engaging hostile forces with direct and lethal fire, in connection with military operations.” He also received the Army Combat Action Badge. Scott received an Air Force Achievement Medal in 2007 for organizing and executing a convoy operations training course for 56 personnel. He was praised for creating a realistic training scenario “that far exceeded the expected standard.” Scott spent approximately five months deployed to Kuwait in 2009 as the Chief of an EOD unit. He destroyed 30,000 hazardous munitions and 8 suspected IEDs. He ensured 100% accountability for $3M of specialized EOD response equipment and was an “ideal mentor” to subordinates. The Air Force awarded Scott a fourth Air Force Commendation Medal in 2011 for supervising and coordinating the response to a hazardous projectile lodged in the breech of a M777 Lightweight Howitzer. Scott suggested a render safe procedure that successfully removed the hazardous ordnance from the $2.1M weapons system. The award citation noted that Scott’s “superb leadership ability was directly responsible for the zero loss of life or military assets during this mission.” In March 2012, Scott began serving on voluntary extended active duty with the 934th Force Support Squadron. During 2015, the EOD unit Scott led was handpicked to conduct safety sweeps for the Pope’s visits to Philadelphia, PA, and Washington, DC. The unit supported local law enforcement by identifying and removing ordnance hazards from local communities. The unit also instructed Department of Homeland Security agents on methods to counter improvised explosive devices and supported Transportation Security Administration exercises. Scott’s commanders praised his performance with the 934th Civil Engineer Squadron. Lt. Col. Canarr completed Scott’s 2011-2012 performance report, in which he received the highest possible rating—“clearly exceeds” expectations—in 5 of 6 rating categories. Two raters both ranked Scott as “truly among the best.” Likewise, Col. Bryan Anders completed Scott’s 2012-2013 performance report, and gave him the highest possible rating in 5 of 6 assessment categories. Again Scott was rated “truly among the best” by two senior officer raters. In Scott’s 2013-2014 performance report Scott’s commander said he “modeled character,” and “exhibited superior leadership skill.” Based on the performance of Scott’s EOD flight in fiscal years 2012/2014, Scott’s Commander nominated Scott’s flight for the Senior Master Sergeant Gerald J. Stryzak Award. Scott’s EOD flight won the award consecutively, which is given to the Air Force’s highest performing EOD flight of the year. Scott was nominated for the 2014 Outstanding Airman of the Year Award for accomplishments including safeguarding the President and White House staff, designing an EOD facility, and providing IED training to over 50 service members deploying overseas. Scott was recognized as “nationally sought” for his specialized EOD skills. The nomination paperwork noted that Scott “supported advanced vehicle armor testing; trail blazed scientific armor tech advances; enabled safer battlefield.” During his military service Scott received letters of appreciation from law enforcement and security agencies throughout the Nation. The letters expressed gratitude for Scott’s help with a wide range of tasks, such as supporting a law enforcement raid involving potential explosives, disarming an explosive device strapped to an unstable individual that had threatened to kill others, addressing security concerns at the airport, training a SWAT team, protecting the Whitehouse, and providing information for an ongoing criminal investigation. II. Firefighting Career Scott is currently retired after 20 years as a Fire Captain/ Paramedic with the Cloquet Area Fire District, Cloquet, MN. Scott’s lifesaving efforts have been recognized during City Council meetings and by local newspapers. In one example, Scott rescued an individual who set his home ablaze in a suicide attempt. The man was armed with a knife and law enforcement could not get the man out of the home. Scott entered the home, subdued the man, and brought him out of the burning home. The individual publicly thanked Scott for saving his life, saying, “I would particularly like to thank Scott Castleman for risking his life for me even when I felt it was no longer worth living.” Scott is a recipient of the City of Cloquet’s Life Saving Award.

A. Medals, Awards, and Professional Recognition • Air Force Combat Action Medal (awarded in 2014 for combat in 2006) • Nomination as Outstanding Airman of the Year (2014) • Senior Master Sergeant Gerald J. Stryzak Award (2014) (unit award for best EOD flight in Air Force) • Certificate of Appreciation, United States Secret Service (2013) • Certificate of Appreciation, TSA - Minnesota Federal Security Director (2012) • Air Force Commendation Medal (2011) • Senior Master Sergeant Gerald J. Stryzak Award (2012) (unit award for best EOD flight in Air Force) • Letter of Appreciation, Itasca County Sheriff’s Department (2008) (addressed to EOD flight) • Letter of Appreciation, Superior, WI Police Department (2007) • Letter of Appreciation, 148th Fighter Wing Commander (2007) • Air Force Achievement Medal (2007) • Letter of Appreciation, Superior, WI Police Department (2007) • Army Combat Action Badge (2006) • Air Force Commendation Medal (2005) • Certificate of Appreciation, 40th Air Expeditionary Group (2003) • Letter of Appreciation, Delaware Air National Guard (2003) • Letter of Appreciation, 133rd Airlift Wing (2002) • Letter of Appreciation, Vermillion Community College (2002) • Letter of Appreciation, Fond du Lac College (2002) • Nomination for Squadron NCO of the Year (2001) • Letter of Appreciation, Duluth Police Department (2001) • Letter of Appreciation, Wisconsin State Patrol (2001) • Air Force Commendation Medal (2000) • Letter of Appreciation, Saint Louis County Sheriff’s Office (2000) • 148th Civil Engineering Squadron Superior Performer Award (2000) • Certificate and Letter of Appreciation, Minnesota National Guard Youth Camp (2000, 1999) • Minnesota Good Conduct Ribbon (fourth award) (2000) • Letters of Appreciation, 509th Bomb Wing (1999) • Nomination for Squadron NCO of the Year (1999) • Air Force Commendation Medal (1999) • Letter of Appreciation, Superior Police Department (1997) • Letter of Appreciation, University of Wisconsin Superior (1997) • Nomination for Support Group NCO of the Year (1995) • Certificate of Appreciation, Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Program (1994) • Nomination for NCO of the Year (1994) • Florida Commendation Medal (1993) • Air Force Achievement Medal (1993) • Letter of Appreciation, 148th Fighter Interceptor Group (1992)

III. Conclusion In his military and civilian careers, Scott risked his safety and well-being for others. He saved lives on many occasions. Over nearly three decades of service, he performed dangerous jobs and was commended for his performance.




1/29/2022, Curtis T. Anderson II, 2003-2004, Camp Doha, Kuwait and Baghdad Iraq

In July 2003, after supporting 5th Special Forces Group in the initial invasion of Iraq from Jordan I was assigned to 3rd Army Headquarters which was the Combined Land Component Command of CENTCOM. I was in the Coalition Staff section (C9) that provided support for all of our allied nations that assisted the US during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In April of 2004, my staff section deployed forward to Baghdad. At Camp Victory (al Faw Palace), we helped oversee the transition of the Coalition Provisional Authority to the Interim Iraqi Government. At this time General Sanchez was the senior general in Baghdad. As we transitioned to Multi National Force Iraq and Multi National Corps Iraq, General Casey and his team arrived toward the end of my time in Iraq (July 2004). We monitored the status of the infrastructure and worked with the Iraqi's in getting the infrastructure back up and running. This included the electric/power and Oil Lines. During this time, we improvised on armor plating with vehicles as those adjustments would come later. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield came and spoke to us at Al Faw Palace. While at Camp victory we did take indirect fire from mortars as well some direct fire when we had to move along Route Irish. In four years, I would be the Executive Office of the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion, that deployed 3 companies to Iraq to support the Surge and Gen Petraeus the new commander. Photos include myself under the crossed swords which I believe almost everyone that went to Baghdad tried to get a photo of, as well as my team at Camp Victory in Al Faw Palace and the core team of three officers that deployed up form 3rd Army in support of the transition (MAJ Anderson, Maj Beck and MAJ Bartos).




1/29/2022, Curtis T. Anderson II, 2001 - 2002, Karshi-Kahnabad UZ and Herat, Afghanistan

On Nov 22, 2001 I deployed with C Co, 96th Civil Affairs to Karshi-Kahnabad (K2) UZ to support 5th Special Forces Group / TF Dagger. For approximately 1 month we prepared at K2. On 31 Dec, 2001, my team of Four Civil Affairs Soldiers deployed to Herat, AFG and linked up with ODA 554. The warlord that ODA 554 worked with was Ishmail Kahn. We worked in Herat from Jan 1st 2002 until April 2002. Our biggest project was assisting a local community (Zendah Jen), near Herat in desilting their canals and retrieving approximately 400 hectares of land back to farmers. We also had the local girls school in Zendah Jen remodeled. This project was covered in an interview with CNN's Noc Robertson. We also had Wall Street Journal Reporter Greg Jaffee embedded with us for approximately 2 weeks. Photos attached include the main Afghan Civilian I worked with (Mr. Sadiqqi, as well as the local Afghan guards that Ishmail Kahn provided our team. Finally there is a photo of the Canal work that we completed.




Biographical / Historical

2023 Submissions

Submitted Date, User, Highest rank or civilian? Name, Service branch and unit, Race, Service member or civilian? Year your story takes place, Location of your story, Your Story, Image 1, Photo caption, Image 2, Photo caption, Image 3, Photo caption, Other stories or individuals we should reach out to?

9/3/2023, Corporal Jeremy Penney, USMC mssg-15 15th meu, White, 2003, Umm Quasar to Nasariyah

I was part of a unit that was 1st deployed into Iraq. We took Umm Quasar had a Marine raise flag which was pictured on time magazine then took Basra headed towards Nasariyah where I took part of the Jessica Lynch rescue then we pushed past ambush alley into Nasariyah. This is the briefest and cleanest version I can give.

1: Marine from my unit raising the flag at umm quasar was on cover of time magazine

2: Graffiti in nasariyah walls after pushing through ambush alley and rescuing Jessica lynch

3: Epw's (enemy prisoners of war)

7/28/2023, Colonel Darrin M Rosha, Army National Guard, Caucasian, 2009, Basra, Iraq

When the 34th Infantry Division took over for the British in Basra, Iraq was in a transitional period. While sectarian violence and attacks on U.S. and what remained of the Coalition forces continued, the focus was shifting to building civil capacity in a nation that had been under the rule of a dictator for decades. As the Operational Law Chief for the Division, I worked with an amazing team of Minnesota Army National Guard soldiers who willingly placed themselves in harm's way to work directly with Iraqis who were committed to creating a legitimate structure to offer their fellow citizens rights and opportunities they had heard were available to Americans and other nations with an established Rule of Law versus being ruled by tyrants. With Major David Munson and SSG Aaron Hoska of the Division Provost Martial Office and OPLAW NCOIC, SFC Eric Hanson, we conducted visits with Iraqi Judges and law enforcement, inspected civilian detention facilities, and briefed the new and growing Iraqi police and special forces personnel on the new agreement between Iraq and the U.S. The Iraqis we worked beside were inspiring, and they reminded me of many Americans both in mannerism and in their expressed desire for a better life for their children and neighbors. Their circumstances continue to be of great interest, and one hopes the gains they made are preserved and built upon and the lives and treasure we left behind in Iraq were not left there in vain.

Prison_Tour_Gang_Iraq_2009_edited.JPG: Detention facility inspection team with our Active Duty security detail.

Darrin_with_Iraqi_Prison_Warden.JPG: Meeting with the warden of an Iraqi prison

Iraq_12_June_09_081.JPG: Iraqi youth were especially interested in our work

5/10/2023, SPC Jorge Nunez, Army National Guard, C Co 1-194, Mexican, 2021, Afghanistan, August 2021

Our unit was tasked to assist in the evacuation taking place at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. Many of the soldiers in the unit were pretty young. To put it into perspective, I got to spend my 19th birthday in Afghanistan which is still crazy to me and it’s a birthday I will never forget. This picture was taken in Afghanistan and all of the members including myself, in this picture are from a Minnesota National Guard unit (C CO 1-194 2nd Platoon). This was one of the few times we were able to get together and hang out because we were always busy working. When looking at this picture people might think “Oh that’s cool, a picture of a group of soldiers” But to me it’s like a piece of history. Our mission was so unique and it was something that the whole world was paying attention to. Knowing that I was there when the US-Taliban war in Afghanistan ended is something that I still am not able to wrap my head around. Being a part of something that will forever be engraved in history, I can’t even describe what that feels like.

1/20/2023, Major Paula Gray, Army, Signal Corps, White, 2004/2005, Iraq

I served in Iraq in 2004/2005 at the US Army staff headquarters in Baghdad. Working in the former palaces of the exit leader of the Iraq government. It was like working in a real world version of Aladdin’s storybook palace. Huge marble staircases with crystal chandeliers hanging in the rotunda. All I needed was a gown instead of an Army uniform and I would have felt like a princess. The fact of war zones is that first impressions can be lasting. That the reason all these beautiful things existed was because a man who was so evil pilfered his own country and those surrounding countries to build such monuments and to fund his wars. That is why I was there, not as a princess but as an Army Major to help fix an injustice of an evil man. I help rebuild an economy and infrastructure of a country destroyed. While I was there I traveled up and down the 7 most dangerous miles of highway in the World more times than I can count always hopefully wishing that I would arrive safely at my destination. I always did but there are 3 (that I know of) from that year from Minnesota that did not make that same trip on that road alive. I remember them each year as I am still here living. I think of the families they had or could have had and the lives they could have enjoyed if their road trip hadn’t ended so tragically. Freedom and the price of freedom is never free!

1: 2015 Last time I was in uniform when I visited a friend.

2: Picture in 2004 from the roof of the Baghdad Palace


28 Volumes (Master copy of digital text and photos live on website database. Text copied to ArchivesSpace and published.) : The following submitter information is not published but is still accessible by museum staff in the website database: address, email, and phone.

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Part of the Minnesota Military & Veterans Museum Repository

Minnesota Military and Veterans Museum
Camp Ripley
15000 Highway 115
Little Falls MN 56345 United States