On Sept. 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Ken Sanchez was the commander of the 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation. He was at the Army National Guard Readiness Center in Arlington to discuss the unit’s conversion from flying UH-1H Huey to UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
Below is an excerpt from his journal entry on that fateful day, along with more recent recollections.
Sept. 11, 2001
How do I even begin to describe this day. We (Brig. Gen. Ronald G. Crowder, 1st Lt. Rob Bell, Col. Larry Ciancio, Lt. Col. Neil Keohane, Lt. Col. Joel Best, Lt. Col. Chris Ryan, Lt. Col. Bob Weber, Maj. Mike Willis, Maj. Andy Meverden, Lt. Col Mark Schoenrock and Col. Madonna M. Nuce) were in Washington, D.C. and terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon using hijacked commercial airplanes to ram the buildings.
Most of us were at Arlington Hall when the planes struck the buildings. Larry, Joel, Neil and I were in the Aviation Branch talking about UH-60 upgrades for the Battalion. Mark was in the Pentagon and only a couple of hundred yards from the crash site. … I cannot help but think, what will become of our world is almost beyond comprehension at this time. The events of this day, like Pearl Harbor, JFK's death, (and) the Space Shuttle explosion will redefine our perceptions of our safety as a nation, our humanity and will impact our lives for the rest of our lives.
Aug. 8, 2011
We heard and felt the explosion we later found out was an airplane hitting the Pentagon. Our hotel was across from the Pentagon. We spent the rest of the day watching the Pentagon burn. We were outside of the hotel’s rooftop restaurant when Marine One flew the president to the White House. We saw clothes and luggage strewn upon the highway.
Nothing in our world seems to be the same.
Return to 9/11 in their own words