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9/11 Memories - Patricia D. Horoho

Image of Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, retired, Surgeon General of the Army. Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, retired, Surgeon General of the Army

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People in the hallway said the World Trade Center had been hit.  I looked at the TV.  It showed the second plane.  I looked at it and said, "We're next."  

It went boom; you could feel the building shake.  There were multiple, secondary explosions.  

People started evacuating; nobody panicked.  I ran to the front of the building.  People had burns; some were in shock.  

People pitched in and started working.  An aid bag showed up, and I found out later that a young, off-duty medic ran two miles from his house to bring that bag.  His actions saved lives.  A general gave me his belt because I needed a tourniquet.  

EMS responded very quickly.  Firefighters responded; FBI responded; Urban Search and Rescue responded.  Chaplains.  They had a chaplain meeting in the building; chaplains responded immediately. 

The FBI said that there was an unidentified aircraft two minutes out.  We evacuated the patients and relocated our medical operations underneath an overpass.  While we were underneath the bridge, medical supply vans from the National Naval Medical Center came in.  

The response of medical people was tremendous.  We had physicians from Walter Reed; physicians from Bethesda; physicians and nurses from civilian hospitals in the area, as well as the medical students from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. They drove as far as they could, parked, and then ran until they got there. A pediatric physician heard of the attack, closed his medical practice and responded.

The Salvation Army showed up about suppertime, volunteers from everywhere; they started serving pizza, chicken, and coffee.

I left at 12:30 that night. I called my mom and dad, who were a wreck; talked to my sister and my brother.

We are focused on one thing, and that is protecting our freedom and our way of life.

It makes me very proud to be an officer, a soldier, and an Army nurse.

Condensed from an interview with then Lt. Col. Patricia D. Horoho, Assistant Deputy, Personnel and Health Management Policy Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve affairs, the Pentagon, regarding Sept. 11, 2001.  Horoho was serving in an administrative, rather than patient care, setting. The Interview was conducted 27 Sept. 2001 by the Office of Medical History, Office of the Army Surgeon General.  Lt. Gen. (ret.) Horoho served as Surgeon General of the Army from 2011 to 2015. 

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