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9/11 in their own words 
Compiled and edited by Air Force Master Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral, Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 
CONG 9/11 logo 

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, at least 18 Colorado National Guard members were conducting official business in our nation’s capitol.

At the Pentagon, one Soldier lost seven comrades and narrowly escaped himself, and at least one former Colorado Guardsman was killed, when terrorists crashed a civilian passenger jet into the building.

Here in Colorado, Army and Air National Guardsmen were immediately mobilized in response.

By the day’s end, the roar of F-16s patrolling overhead broke the otherwise deafening silence in the sky, and troops across the state were charged with keeping watch on the ground.

By Christmas, our Soldiers were at war in Afghanistan.

In the decade since, many of our brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice, while countless others are scarred by both evident and imperceptible wounds.

As of today, the 10th anniversary of that infamous day, Colorado Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen have mobilized more than 6,000 times and every deployable unit in Colorado has been mobilized – some more than once – in support of the Global War on Terror, all while maintaining state emergency response capabilities and supporting homeland defense missions to thwart terrorist threats at home.

Now a decade beyond that horrifying day, we take a look back through the eyes of the men and women who saw the tragedy unfold before them, and others who were ordered to respond in kind. Here are just a handful of their stories.

If you are a current or former Colorado National Guardsman or Guard family member and have a 9/11 story you’d like to share, please send it to us.

Gone but not forgotten ...





Maj. Cole Hogan

Maj. Wallace “Cole” Hogan, Jr., a former member of Company B, 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, was killed when American Airlines flight 77 hit the Pentagon.



"Colorado 14"

The “Colorado 14” were in the nation’s capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, and the following day, were among only a handful of troops allowed to fly back home.






Lt. Col. Mark Schoenrock

"I’ll still wake up sometimes in the middle of the night and I can smell that jet fuel burning."

Chaplain (Maj.)
Andy Meverden

"We spent the next three hours assisting the exiting Pentagon employees, cleaning scrapes, attempting to make calls and occasionally, praying for a distraught soul."

Brig. Gen. Ronald G. Crowder

‎"War has come to America."






Col. Larry  Ciancio

"That evening, most of the group came up to my room and we watched the Pentagon burn."

Chief Warrant Officer 4
Brian Robinson

"Communication between aircraft and the controllers is almost a constant background noise, but not on that day."

Lt. Col. Thomas Duffy

"I will never forget that image."






Col. Madonna M. Nuce

"It was still burning, 12 hours later."

Lt. Col. Chris R. Ryan

"The scene reminded me of a post-nuclear holocaust science-fiction movie."

Lt. Col. Ken Sanchez

"The events of this day ... will redefine our perceptions of our safety as a nation, our humanity, and will impact our lives for the rest of our lives."

Colorado Army
National Guard





Col. George Leone

 "I remember the town, otherwise chaotic, in which to drive was in shock. It's as if people were in a trance. It was incredibly orderly."



Colorado Air
National Guard





Brig. Gen. Wayne L. Schultz

"In the weeks that followed, a letter arrived ... (a local father) told how his small children were unable to sleep after seeing video of the attacks – until he took them outside and told them the noise they could hear was from airplanes that were there to protect them."

Col. John "Buck" Buckingham

"On any given day or night, as soon as the F-16 is airborne, the air-to-air radar starts sweeping and detects hundreds of aircraft flying along the Front Range. This particular evening – and for the next two days – the only birds in the air were our F-16s and a tanker so we could refuel midair."