Pentagon rescue: true scale of the task.(Terrorism Conference Preview)

As a nation and world watched, terrorists hijacked two commercial airliners and slam them into the World Trade Center in New York City, September 11, 2001, Virginia Task Force 2, FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team, began preparation for a possible deployment to New York City. However, their journey over the coming days would take them in a different direction--to the devastation of the Pentagon

Having deployed to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Virginia Task Force 2, FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team, knew it was just a matter of time before it was activated as they watched the terrorist attack on the World "Trade Center. What the team did not know was another hijacked commercial airliner, American Airline #77 traveling about 400 miles per hour with close to a full capacity of fuel would smash into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia at 0938 that same day causing significant damage and the loss of 189 lives.


Shortly after 1100 Eastern Daylight time, Emergency Support Function 9, Urban Search and Rescue component of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), acting under the Federal Emergency Plan, activated Virginia Task Force 2.

Because the nation was still under attack, the order was for the team to prepare for a deployment to New York City, Arlington, Virginia of an undetermined location. Shortly after FEMA notified the team of its activation, Virginia Task Force 2 alerted its members at 1200, instructing them to report to the Virginia Beach Fire Department Training Center for a deployment to an undetermined destination.

When a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team is activated, it has six hours to package and palletise a cache of approximately 58,000 pounds, assemble its members, assign tasks, assemble transportation, medically check the members chosen for the deployment, properly credential the doctors through the Federal Department of Public Health, gather enough food and water to be self sufficient for 72 hours, and programme numerous radios to the designated radio frequency. …

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