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Pentagon Rescue? Open Bloody Questions, Part 1:
Were They Rescued from the Fire?

Part 1 of a four-part article
by Carol A. Valentine
President, Public Action, Inc.
Copyright June 2002, 2023. Edited and reissued 2023.
May be reproduced for non-commercial purposes

"There cannot be any survivors; it just would be beyond comprehension." —Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, speaking of missing Pentagon personnel on September 11, 2001, just nine hours after the event. (Rumsfeld 2001)

Pentagon Rescue? Open Bloody Questions — An Essay in Four Parts

  1. Part 1: Were They Rescued from the Fire?
  2. Part 2: Were They Rescued from the Collapsing Building?
  3. Part 3: The Seven-Minute Fire
  4. Part 4: Treason in High Places

Sources of Information

In researching and composing this article, we used government and quasi-government sources, including:


Were They Rescued from the Fire?

June 23, 2002 — The recent movie Black Hawk Down deals with an important lesson — the military has two jobs.  The military must destroy the enemy's forces and it must ensure the survival of its own soldiers.  "Black Hawk Down (Leave No Man Behind)" dramatizes a story of survival: the heroic efforts of soldiers who attempted to rescue their fellows who were trapped behind enemy lines in Mogadishu, Somalia.  The rescuers themselves became trapped, and they, too, needed to be rescued. 

Source caption: "When U.S. Rangers and an elite Delta Force team attempt to kidnap two underlings of a Somali warlord, their Black Hawk helicopters are shot down, and the Americans suffer heavy casualties, facing intense fighting from the militia on the ground." (Bowden & Nolan 2001)

For about 140 minutes, Black Hawk Down ("Leave No Man Behind") deals with how much soldiers — from the generals down to the enlisted man — care about each other.  We see soldiers risking their lives to get their wounded buddies, risking grenades, risking machine gun fire, risking rockets, risking belligerent mobs — all to rescue other soldiers.  We hear dialogue that goes like this: 

"Medivac! Medivac!"
"No man gets left behind,"
"You all right?"
"No man gets left behind,"
"We won't leave you behind,"
"If he don't get to the hospital in ½ hour, he's in trouble!"
"No man gets left behind." (Bowden & Nolan 2001

At one point, two soldiers are talking about a helicopter crash.  The dialogue goes something like this:

Soldier A: "There can't be any survivors!"

Soldier B: "We don't know that, we gotta go back and look!" (Bowden & Nolan 2001

At the conclusion of the movie, soldier hero Sgt. Hoot Gibson is asked why he risks life and limb in these military actions: Is he a war addict?  Hoot replies:   

"It's about the man next to you." (Bowden & Nolan 2001)

Camaraderie, being a team member — that's what the US military is about.

Or is it?

What would you think of a military that refused to rescue its soldiers from certain death — and then abandoned its control of the battleground to civilians?

Who would support such a military?

Source caption: "General Henry Hugh Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff … since October 1997." (Shelton 2001) Pentagon before 9/11
(Before 9/11) Source caption: "The five-sided, five-storey building, built on swamp and wasteland, was completed in 1943 and is one of the largest office buildings in the world. It is the headquarters of the US Department of Defense. Some 23,000 military and civilian employees work at the building just outside Washington DC." (BBC 2011) Click to enlarge.
Pentagon after 9/11
(After 9/11) Source caption: "American Airlines Flight 77 was the third of four hijacked aircraft to crash. It hit the Pentagon at 0937 on 11 September 2001, disintegrating in a ball of flame as it ploughed through three sections, or rings of the building. The aircraft hit the west side of the Pentagon …" (BBC News Services 2011) Click to enlarge.
(After 9/11) Source caption: "Navy Command Center: More than half of the active duty and civilian personnel the Navy lists as missing worked in the Pentagon's Navy Command Center. The first-floor Navy office had recently been renovated but was destroyed in the attack." [Legend:]
  1. "Structural: Catastrophic damage to support columns on the first and second floors."
  2. "Fire: Fireballs—fed by the jet's fuel—exploded and spread laterally down the hallways of E and D rings. Under the slate roof, spot fires continued to burn as late as Thursday night."
  3. "Water: Water damage extends through roughly a third of the Pentagon as a consequence of firefighting efforts."
(Maloney, Stevens, Fogel, & Rivero 2001) Click to expand.

As you read this article, keep in mind that on September 11, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was General Henry Hugh Shelton.  Shelton is a former Commanding General of the 101 and 82nd Airborne Divisions.  He is a former Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps and a former Commander in Chief of the Special Operations Command.  It was Special Operations that conducted the "Black Hawk Down" mission in Mogadishu, Somalia. (Shelton 2001)

Let's have a look at Shelton's career highlights.  On September 11, the top commander of the entire US military machine was intimately familiar with aircraft, aviation fuel fires, aircraft rescue, and the ideals depicted in Black Hawk Down.

However, those who directed the 9-11 rescue at the Pentagon did these amazing things:

Meanwhile, the Pentagon front office made a media spectacular of the fire.  Donald Rumsfeld and other Pentagon officials wrung their hands and cried, "How awful! How awful!" for days, stoking the public passion for war.

We believe that the desperate and exhausted rescuers we saw on TV intended the best and were trying to save lives.  But they were relying on the leadership to make the decisions, and those leaders were operating on a different agenda.  Among those people were:

Water Cannot Control Aviation Fires

Let us begin by accepting one of the Official Truths of 9-11: American Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, and exploding jet fuel caused an inferno.  The fire obviously threatened the lives of those still in the building, and it threatened to spread.  It had to be put out quickly.

Ordinarily, water is used to douse building fires.  But water does not extinguish a liquid petroleum fire.  The fuel floats on top of the water and continues to burn.  Instead of water, special foams have been developed that float on the surface of the fuel and cut off the oxygen, suffocating the combustion.  The technical literature states that water is not "appropriate" for "Class B" fires.

Source caption: "An image from the helmet-mounted video camera of a San Francisco fire battalion chief at the scene of the crash of Asiana Flight 214 shows a firefighter covering the body of passenger Ye Meng Yuan at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California." (Van Derbeken 2014) Click to enlarge).

Class B comprises fires of liquid fuels - more precisely of the vapors in equilibrium with the liquids, such as oil, gasoline, alcohol, paints, varnishes, tar, and grease … Contrary to Class A fires, Class B fires proceed at the surface of the fuel, where to a more or lesser degree, the vapor phase of the liquid acts as the actual fuel.  Appropriate means of extinguishing: powders, CO2, foam. [emphasis added] (Vinckier 2001)

Since aircraft are usually loaded with fuel, aircraft rescue and fire suppression crews routinely use foam.  As PBS (hosted at the University of Michigan) tells us:

… in a real crash, firefighters would use aqueous film forming foam (AFFF).  The chemicals in AFFF mix with water and are "fluffed up" into a foam, but they won't mix with the fuel in a jet crash fire.  This means the water can float on top of the fuel and smother the fire. [emphasis added] (Dave 2002)

In the above pages, notice the emphasis on speed in fighting fires.  Aviation fire-and-rescue people have only about two minutes to rescue passengers before it is too late to help.  And foam is THE tool of choice because it puts out liquid fuel fires efficiently.

FAA regulations require civilian airports to have firetrucks equipped to spray foam, and in the year 2000, the FAA cited the Detroit City Airport (now called "Coleman A. Young International Airport") for not complying with that regulation.

According to newspaper reports, Detroit City Airport firefighters had been asking the airport fire department for more foam because their supplies were low, but for weeks the firefighters received no response.  Then, shortly after midnight on June 21, Secret Service agents notified City Airport firefighters to expect First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to arrive the next day on a Lear jet.  Mrs. Clinton would be in Detroit for a $1,000-a-person fund-raiser for a New York Senate campaign. 

The next day the firefighters got the 150 gallons of foam they had been requesting. (Claxton & Hurt 2000)

Water Was Used on Pentagon Flames

Source caption: "Fire truck 345 from Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire Department throws a stream of water into the collapsed point of impact as smoke billows from the Pentagon shortly after an airplane slammed into the west side of the building." (Haring 2001a) Click to enlarge.

We have established that knowledgeable firefighters never use water to fight petroleum fires.   However, here is what happened:

Outside, the Arlington County police and fire departments arrived and started securing the area and pumping water on the blaze. (Garamone 2001)

Search and rescue operations at the Pentagon, led by as many as 200 Arlington County firefighters and police assisted by a number of other jurisdictions, continue today. (USTranscom 2001)

The Military District of Washington published a photo showing the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue Department spraying water on the Pentagon fire, with a caption identifying the spray as water. 

Why, oh why, would they spray water when FAA regulations require airport firefighting trucks to use foam?  It is inexplicable — unless, you consider the entire "rescue" mosaic.

For more photographs of the Pentagon firefighters, see Water Sprayed on Pentagon Fire.

Millions of Gallons of Water — Fire Continues to Spread

Flames spread
Source caption: "The pentagon in flames just minutes after a hijacked jetliner crashed into the building on Sept. 11, 2001." (Ingersoll 2001) Click to enlarge.

So much water had been poured into the building, the Pentagon later hired Munters Moisture Control Services to help get rid of it.

Millions of gallons of water flowed throughout the building after the attack," said Joe Kelley, Munters district manager in the Washington DC area.  In some places, water was 18 inches deep on the floors. (Munters 2002)

What was the result of spraying water on a jet fuel fire?  Predictably, the fire continued to spread.

DefenseLink stated that the attack on the Pentagon occurred at 9:38 am and, as smoke billowed, evacuation began.  Arlington County police and fire teams arrived and pumped water on the blaze.  Helicopters flew the seriously injured to hospitals.  Then, DefenseLink reported, the portion of the building to the right of the initial impact area collapsed. (Garamone 2001)

Alexandra Fire Department
Source caption: "Firefighters struggle to contain the blaze after the civilian plane hijacked by terrorists attack at [sic] the Pentagon." (Knouf 2001) Click to enlarge.

The CNN 9/11 timeline states:

10:10 a.m.: A portion of the Pentagon collapses. (CNN 2001)

The American Forces Press Service coverage continues:

Fire continued to burn the Pentagon and spread in unrenovated sections.  Flames ignited core materials in the layered roof and were particularly difficult to get at.  Pools of aviation fuel would ignite occasionally and create thick black smoke over the building …

At 6:00 p.m., with the building still on fire … (Garamone 2001)

Was There Really a Jet Fuel Fire?

This photo shows firefighters from the Alexandria Fire Department spraying water on the debris.

Makes one wonder, doesn't it?  Perhaps all these firefighters knew what we don't — maybe there was no aviation fuel in the Pentagon that day… no aviation fuel means no airplane, and no airplane means no truth in the Official Story.  That's one explanation.

April Gallop was an Army administrative specialist on September 11, 2001, working at her desk approximately 35-45 feet from the alleged point of impact of Flight 77.  She heard a loud explosion and was covered with debris.  In a 2007 interview with Citizen Investigation Team (CIT), Gallup described her fight to escape the ruins with her young child and attested that she saw no passenger seats, no luggage, and no evidence of jet fuel.

Source caption: "In this 2007 interview by CIT, April Gallop describes how she was only a few dozen feet away from the alleged impact point of the Pentagon on 9/11 and barely survived.  Her traumatic story of survival along with her two-month-old baby who was with her at the time is compounded by the utter failure of the government to provide the adequate assistance she needed to recover and put the pieces of her shattered life back together."

The usual controls above enable the video and audio of the interview.

The Internet Archive indicates the user "litetrip" uploaded the interview to Youtube in 2012.  The trailing credits indicate the interview was conducted by Aldo Marquis of the Citizen Investigation Team in 2007 (Marquis & Titus 2007).  But no mention of Gallup is found on the CIT site in 2022.  The original domain mentioned in the credits,, is disowned.

That Youtube video has been erased.  YouTube states: "This video has been removed for violating YouTube's policy on hate speech.  Learn more about combatting hate speech in your country."

Youtube violation

Military Firefighters Close to Pentagon

Andrews Air Force Base (home of Air Force One) is 9½ miles from the Pentagon as the crow flies.  Bolling Air Force Base is 1½ miles from the Pentagon.  Quantico Marine Base (home of Marine Helicopter Squadron One) is 23 miles from the Pentagon.  Each of those bases had airport firefighting equipment and trained teams at the ready.  Where were they when the Pentagon needed them?

Military Firefighters Fail to Show

(This subject will be covered in detail in Part 3: The Seven-Minute Fire.)

Armored Personnel Carrier on the streets of
																 New York after 9/11
Source caption: "An armored personnel carrier (APC) patrols Wall Street in New York through the dust from the WTC towers shortly after the attack." (Business Week 2001) Click to expand.

There should have been no problem getting aviation firefighters from Andrews, Bolling, or Quantico to the Pentagon to put the fire out and rescue their comrades.  The soldiers in Black Hawk Down ("Leave No Man Behind") did not hesitate to crash through enemy lines, crowds throwing grenades, machine gun fire, rocket launchers, armed militia, etc., to rescue their comrades.  The servicemen at Andrews, Bolling, and Quantico were in friendly territory.  All they had to do was travel a few miles along the Beltway or Interstate 95. 

So did the "leave no man behind" military show up to rescue their Pentagon comrades?  No, it didn't happen.

As the photo at left shows (Business Week 2001), the US military was organized enough to have soldiers drive an armored personnel carrier (APC) down Wall Street in New York during the 9-11 crisis, but not organized enough to send aviation firefighters to the Pentagon.

Pentagon Watched 9-11 on CNN

Let's take a step back and look at what was happening before the event at the Pentagon.  Let us rely on the DoD's own news service, the American Forces Press Service (AFPS).

According to AFPS, on the morning of September 11, the folks at the Pentagon were sitting around watching the WTC towers burn on CNN. (Garamone 2001)

When CNN announced the NYC strikes were an act of terrorism, did any of the Pentagon folks take appropriate action?  Did they say:  

"You don't suppose they'll send planes over here, do you?  After all, those people are terrorists, and this is the Pentagon.  We'd better call Andrews Air Force Base and get some air cover …"

No, the Pentagon folks just "exchanged shocked glances …"  And presumably continued to watch the drama unfold on CNN.

"911?  Help!
Pentagon Here!
We're Under Attack!  Send Civilians!"

BLAM!  Flight 77 (allegedly) hits the Pentagon.  What was the response?  The American Forces Press Service report tells us:

Outside, the Arlington County police and fire departments arrived and started securing the area and pumping water on the blaze. (Garamone 2001)

But AFPS does not tell how the Arlington County Fire Department was alerted to the situation.

It may be that the Arlington County Fire Department had an agreement with the Pentagon to handle emergencies.  Obviously, that agreement was made to handle everyday fires started by exploding Pentagon coffee pots or file cabinet fires.  But should the Arlington County Fire Department handle acts of war on the Pentagon?  The suggestion is just not credible.

And Pentagon personnel knew that the September 11 events were acts of war.  They were watching CNN, and CNN had just told them. 

No, the Pentagon officers should have ordered air cover for DC when the first news from New York broke.

Rumsfeld, Top Brass
Knew What Was Happening

It might be comforting to think that Rumsfeld, Shelton, and the top brass were all out playing golf that day and not on hand to see what was going on, but that was not true.  The American Forces Press Service (AFPS) tells this story:

One area never closed: the National Military Command Center.  Rumsfeld and the senior leadership repaired to that facility and monitored DoD activities worldwide.  At one point, the smoke grew so thick that there was talk of evacuating, but Rumsfeld scotched it. (Garamone 2001)

What is the National Military Command Center, mentioned above?  That is the nation's focal point for continuous monitoring and coordination of worldwide military operations. (NMCC 2000)

So the top commanders of each of the services were on site.  Each of the services uses aircraft and HAD to know that water does not extinguish aviation fuel fires.  Yet all of them let the farce continue.

Fire as a Media Spectacular

Had the fire been put out quickly with foam, Rumsfeld would have lost valuable public relations mileage.  The "stubborn" fire at the Pentagon was just one facet of a campaign designed to whip the American public and military into a bloodlust for a war on Islam.  From a propaganda viewpoint, the higher the casualty list, the better.

The American Forces Information Service describes the press gala on September 11 this way:

Across Washington Boulevard from the Pentagon, the press set up shop at the navy Annex Exchange gas station and broadcast the fire fighting activities.  With Correspondents' Corridor closed, reporters dictated stories using cell phones.  TV trucks with antennae showed up and eased some of the communications problems.

At 6:00 p.m., with the building still on fire, Pentagon officials announced Rumsfeld would have a press conference in the Pentagon.  Buses arrived at the gas station to take reporters, photographers, and videographers to the Pentagon.

Inside the River Entrance of the building, the smoke hit like a physical force.  People could not see to the end of the hallways and it was tough to breathe.  The smell of burning insulation and electrical wiring permeated the briefing studio.

As Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Henry Shelton, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin, ranking minority member Sen. John Warner, and Army Secretary Thomas White came into the studio, one side of the building was still on fire. (Garamone 2001)

"Rumsfeld expressed his sorrow over the loss of life at the building …"  Do you believe Rumsfeld felt any grief over those he was doing nothing to help?

Rumsfeld's Crystal Ball:
"There Cannot Be Any Survivors"

US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld
"There cannot be any survivors; it just would be beyond comprehension." (Rumsfeld 2001) Click to enlarge.

Emergency rescue experts say earthquake victims who are buried in debris can survive up to 12 days.

… you should remain aware of the fact that people have been successfully rescued alive after as much as twelve (12) days … buried in the rubble of an earthquake … After the March 1992 earthquake in Turkey, a 22-year-old nurse was pulled from beneath a building collapse after eight days.  She was also quoted as saying that she had been 'talking with her two friends,' who were also buried, for several days after the collapse … until she 'didn't hear them anymore.'  The thought of someone remaining buried alive for several days should be enough motivation for most rescuers to continue with their efforts until every possible hope has been exhausted. (Staten 1992).

But in his September 11 press conference at 6:42 p.m., approximately nine hours after impact, Rumsfeld made this statement:

"There cannot be any survivors; it just would be beyond comprehension." (Rumsfeld 2001)

How could Rumsfeld KNOW that no more survivors would be found in the Pentagon debris?  At that point, the Pentagon victims had been buried for only nine hours.  Why the hurry to pronounce them all dead?

Gen. Shelton was at Rumsfeld's side during this press conference (at Rumsfeld's right in the photo above).  He uttered pious statements about "barbaric terrorism carried out by fanatics against both civilians and military people, acts that have killed and maimed many innocent and decent citizens of our country."  However, Gen. Shelton did not say a word about the rescue efforts that were murdering survivors.

He said:

"I will tell you up front, I have no intentions of discussing today what comes next, but make no mistake about it, your armed forces are ready." (Rumsfeld 2001)

Yes, our armed forces were ready, all right, Mr. Rescue Shelton.  Ready to let civilian firemen squirt water on an aviation fuel fire while men died under the debris.  And you stood by and watched … you watched it going on for days …

Aside from Rumsfeld, who spoke about the rescue efforts?  Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, uttered this inanity:

"Our intense focus on recovery and helping the injured and the families of those who were killed is matched only by …" (Rumsfeld 2001)

Rumsfeld's Predictions Come True

No survivors were found on September 12 and 13, or on any other day thereafter, just like Rumsfeld predicted.

"As of Thursday morning [September 13], about 70 bodies had been removed from the buckled section of the Pentagon as search-and-rescue workers toiled around the clock with little hope of finding more survivors.  Anyone who might have survived the initial impact and collapse could not have survived the fire that followed." (Burns 2001)

Remember heat travels UP, not down.  Those still buried in the rubble may well have been protected from the fire above them. 

On September 14, the Pentagon announced 126 DoD personnel were dead.   On September 15, the figure was lowered to 124 because two people had been double-counted.  On October 11, 2001, when President Bush spoke at a Pentagon memorial service, he confirmed 125 DoD deaths. (Garamone 2001)

Remember Rumsfeld's words on September 11:

 "There cannot be any survivors; it just would be beyond comprehension." (Rumsfeld 2001)

So Rumsfeld's predictions came true.  After the first round of victims escaped, there were no more survivors… He's quite a clairvoyant, isn't he?  What are the statistical chances of Rumsfeld being 100% right in circumstances like those?

Emergency Medical Help
Told to Get Out and Stay Out

We all know that when a person is seriously ill or injured, he must be given medical attention as soon as possible.  Delay may cost the victim's life.  That's why we have ambulances, and that's why ambulances have sirens. 

On September 11, three members of a Washington Hospital Center MedStar Transport helicopter team responded to the emergency at the Pentagon.  Several days later, (September 14) they were interviewed by Kathy Fowler of WJLA-TV (ABC Channel 7) in the Washington, DC area.  Luckily, I have a copy of that interview on videotape.

The MedStar pilot and crew were among the very first at the scene, according to the WJLA report.  When they arrived, they were told that another suicide plane was on the way and they should LEAVE.

How does that comport with the Black Hawk Down ("Leave No Man Behind") philosophy?  Here we have civilians showing up to perform rescues and the military (or whoever was controlling the Pentagon scene then) ordering them to abandon the victims on the pretext of an unconfirmed and unfounded report.

The MedStar people, to their eternal credit, refused to leave.  By the time they were ordered not to come back, they had helped eight victims and were taking another to the hospital.  Speaking of the rescued victim, one of the crew told Fowler on camera:

"She hugged me three times and said thank you for saving my life."

Then Fowler told the audience:

"After the crew transferred one patient back to the Washington Hospital Center, they were not allowed to go back because of the restricted air space."

So what we have is this: MedStar arrived and was immediately ordered to leave.  They refused, rescued eight people, took one to the hospital, and were prevented from coming back.

Park Police doing ambulence work
Source caption: "A victim from the crash site at the Pentagon is taken to local area hospital by Park Police helicopter on Sept. 11, 2001. The helicopter is one of the first helicopters on the scene transports [sic] victims from the Pentagon." (Haring 2001b) Click to expand.

Now, who would prohibit a MedStar helicopter to return to the scene of a disaster and take victims to the hospital?  Those MedStar helicopters should have been given military escorts to and from the disaster site.  What could be more important than immediate professional medical care for the 9-11 victims?

Park Police Doing Ambulance Service

Despite what the MedStar people were told, the air space was not quite as restricted as the Pentagon indicated.  Official photographic evidence shows the civilian Park Police were commandeered to transport the injured after the trained and equipped MedStar crews were banned from the site.

It is of utmost importance that the injured should be moved only by trained people.  Improper handling of an injured person can result in his death or permanent paralysis.  In this photo, we see a Park Police helicopter doing "rescue" work.  The Park Police are part of the National Park Service.  They are not trained emergency medical people.  Nor is the helicopter marked as emergency medical.

Why did they stop MedStar's trained professionals but deploy the National Park Service Police to handle the injured?

Concern for Civilians?

Perhaps you think that the MedStar team was chased away because those in charge of the crash site were concerned for the safety of civilians.  If so, recall that civilian firemen were present at the scene, using water on a petroleum-fueled fire.  They were not chased away.

Some, upon learning qualified emergency medical rescue people were turned away from the Pentagon disaster site, may insist there "must" have been a good reason for keeping them out.  But a tree is judged by the fruit that it bears.  So let's look at the fruit.

Area Hospitals Surprised by
Low Number of Survivors

Area hospitals geared up to handle a large number of injured survivors and were most surprised when few showed up.

But only about 80 people were treated at area hospitals, according to Walter Reed officials.  At Virginia Hospital Center in nearby Arlington, over 100 nurses and 50 doctors were called in — 16 times the normal emergency staffing.  They treated 44 victims in the first 24 hours, more than any other hospital in the region.  But it was a mere trickle compared with what they expected.  Inova Alexandria Hospital treated just 22 victims, 16 of whom were released Tuesday.  Six patients were helicoptered from the Pentagon to Washington Hospital Center.  "We got the first wave," says Marion Jordan, director of the hospital's renowned burn unit.  "After that, nothing."  In the end, his trauma teams treated about as many people as they would from a large house fire. (US News 2001, pg. 51)

What's wrong with this picture?  Then lower on the same page:

Waiting for survivors  Navy Lt. Charles McGill, 26, who had worked at the Pentagon for just four weeks, joined a group of people who calmly evacuated the massive building, then made his way around the perimeter to where dark, heavy smoke poured out.  He lined up to be a stretcher-bearer.  He and his fellow volunteers, four to a board, were told that during these first hours, only survivors would be moved.  In three hours, no one came out. (US News 2001, pg. 51)

Then, on the next page:

At the Pentagon, two trauma teams remain on the scene in two triage tents, with the workers replaced every eight hours.  Lt. Col. James Goff, assistant chief of surgery at Walter Reed, says that no survivors have been removed from the building since the early hours [of] Tuesday. (US News 2001, pg. 52)


[N]o survivors have been removed from the building since the early hours Tuesday. (US News 2001, pg. 52)

Army "Supports" FBI and Fire Department

During Donald Rumsfeld's September 11 press conference, Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White spoke, thus:

"I think it's fair to say at this point that the fire is contained, and will shortly, if not already, be sufficiently controlled to allow entry into the building.  That entry will be supervised by the FBI, who are in charge of the site, assisted by the fire departments that are present.  We, on the Army side, will support them as they go in the building and search for casualties and bring them out …" (Rumsfeld 2001)

What was White talking about?  Who is the "them" White is referring to?

"… support them as they go in the building and search for casualties and bring them out …" (Rumsfeld 2001)
Melissa Morrison, alive
A published portrait of Melissa Morrison, when she was alive. (Valentine 1995)
The last remains of seven-year-old Melissa Morrison after she was "rescued" by the FBI Hostage Rescue Team (Valentine 1995). A complete autopsy is available at that site.

Obviously, White was referring to FBI agents.  The FBI is going to rescue Pentagon personnel from "an act of war!"  But FBI agents are not medically trained, they are not rescuers, and they are not warriors.  They are assassins.  Look at what they did to Melissa Morrison, a 7-year-old Davidian child, when they "rescued" her in Waco nine years ago:

Why would the Army transfer the rescue of Army personnel over to the FBI?  Why weren't soldiers and Army medics rescuing other soldiers?

FBI Looking for Osama's Fingerprints?

Shortly after the 9:40 a.m. event, it was announced that the explosion and fire were caused by American Airlines Flight 77, which had been commandeered by terrorists and purposely flown into the Pentagon — conveniently missing the offices of Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs, of course.  Putting out the fire and rescuing the buried victims should have been the first order of business.  Surely the FBI did not need to take control of the site to look for fingerprints on the fuselage or other "clues."  So why did the FBI have control of the site?

"Black Hawk Down" Meets Pentagon Down

We already know that when the 9-11 terror events were taking place, Gen. Shelton was out of the country.  Surely he was informed by phone as the events were unfolding in the US.  Surely he was in a position to issue commands to the armed forces:

"Where are our people?  Buried?  The fire is still burning?  What the Sam Hill is going on?  Put that fire out, pronto, you know how to do it, and get our people out.  Leave no man behind!"

By the time Rumsfeld gave his 6:42 press conference, Leave-No-Man-Behind Shelton was by Rumsfeld's and White's side, silent when Rumsfeld told the world the FBI had "secured" the war zone and was supervising the [non-] rescue.  Remember, Shelton was a former commander of Special Operations Command, the "Black Hawk Down" people who performed so bravely in Mogadishu.

Of course Shelton knew about the Mogadishu rescue. The story first appeared as a series written by Mark Bowden, and ran in the Philadelphia Enquirer, in 1997.  It was then published as a book. Here is what Leave-No-Man-Behind Shelton said to the author:

"Your account of the events in Mogadishu on October 3, 1993 is an inspirational and evocative retelling of one of the most significant military operations of the past 10 years.  Though there is heroism and professionalism aplenty, you also bring out the errors and missed opportunities that contributed to the unfortunate outcome of the mission.  Both senior leaders and young soldiers can learn much from this compelling story… Black Hawk Down will occupy an honored place in my personal library." (NSDQ 1999)

Eight hundred top Pentagon officials and military brass attended its Washington, DC premiere.  It's hard to imagine the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff missed that event. This from The Nation:

"The military was so helpful in making 'Black Hawk Down' that it deserves a production credit.  After vetting the script, the Pentagon sent to Morocco (the shooting site) two C-5 transports carrying eight helicopters and more than 100 soldiers from the same Ranger company that fought in the Somalia raid depicted in the movie.  US Army pilots flew the helicopters in the movie's battle scenes, and two retired soldiers who fought in the raid served as advisers to director Ridley Scott.  And the Pentagon has been pleased with the result.  'Powerful,' Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called it after attending the Washington premiere along with 800 other top officials and brass … (Massing 2002)

According to Counterpunch, some Black Hawk Down actors were given Army Ranger Orientation Training at Fort Benning.  (Sexton 2002)

Then the director, Ridley Scott, rushed the film's release after 9-11 (the movie was released on January 18, 2002); Scott earned a Pentagon commendation for doing so. (Worker's World 2002)

But what happened on September 11 at the Pentagon is directly opposite to the heroism depicted in the movie.  Black Hawk Down ("Leave No Man Behind") is obviously what we're supposed to believe — that the lives of the grunt soldiers are precious to the commanders of the US military.  But the observable truth, the truth that can be documented, is just the opposite.

Shelton, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Zakheim, and the National Military Command Center treated the missing Pentagon personnel as dust motes.  Black Hawk Down ("Leave No Man Behind") is obviously a piece of embroidery.  The Pentagon sham rescue is verifiable fact.

Fire Used as Excuse to Stall Rescue

"Search and rescue operations are continuing, but they are stymied by at least two fires on either side of the impact area.  Firefighters are directing hoses at the flames — manifested by great plumes of bitter smoke — from the center courtyard of the Pentagon." (United Press International 2001)

Of course the fires "stymied" the rescue.  So why did they spray water on the fires? Two and three days after the crash, the fire was still a problem at the Pentagon.

Fire Used to Explain Deaths

The Pentagon said Wednesday no more survivors are expected to be pulled from the tons of rubble and stubborn fires created by the terrorist attack that collapsed a portion of the building. "The area of the Pentagon where the aircraft struck and burned sustained catastrophic damage.  Anyone who might have survived the initial impact and collapse would not have survived the fire that followed," the Defense Department said in a written statement." (Margasak 2001)

Fire, She Keep on Burnin' …

So Rumsfeld and Company permitted water to be sprayed on a petroleum fuel fire, allowed more of the building to become involved in the fire, ordered emergency medical help off the scene, and failed to order military aviation firefighters to the scene.  Now let's have a closer look at the progress of the fire/media event.

On September 12, we get these reports:

Firefighters using water cannons continued to douse the charred building from either side of the impact area. (Margasak 2001)
Smoke from the blackened concrete structure drifted over Washington and a stubborn roof fire continued to burn more than 24 hours after a high-jacked fuel-laden airline slammed into a corner of the five-sided building on Tuesday morning. (Reuters 2001)
The damage to the Pentagon was extensive, compounded by smoke and water damage from tenacious fires that burned for a day and a half after the attack. (Myers & Becker 2001)
Late Thursday, rescuers worked to shore up unsteady parts of the building but flames erupted.  The flare-up sent black smoke billowing hundreds of feet into the air over Washington. (Digital Journal 2001)

Late Thursday and flames were still erupting — that is almost 60 hours after impact, folks.  How many building fires have you heard about lasting 60 hours?

Continued in Part 2: Were They Rescued from the Collapsing Building?

References for Part 1

Bowden & Nolan. 2001

Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden & Ken Nolan, Columbia TriStar, December 30, 2001.


BBC News Services. 2011

"In pictures: Pentagon before and after 9/11," BBC News Services, 9 September 2011


2014 Archive:


Burns. 2001

"Pentagon Says About 190 People Dead" by Robert Burns, AP Military Writer, Associated Press, September 13, 2001


2017 Archive:


Business Week. 2001
"Special Report — Terror in America — Wall Street", Business Week, September 24, 2001. The context for this photo is found in Thornton & Henry 2001.


2001 Archive:


Claxton & Hurt 2000

"FAA Criticizes City Airport for Violations (Citations include failure to properly equip and train crew)" by Melvin Claxton and Charles Hurt, The Detroit News, November 5, 2000


Archive: Wayback Machine has not archived that URL. Archive.)


CNN. 2001

"September 11: Chronology of terror", Cable News Network, September 12, 2001


2001 Archive:


Dave. 2002

"Aircraft Fire Rescue" by Dave, Newton's Apple, University of Michigan, 2002


2002 Archive:


Digital Journal. 2001

"Flight Data, Cockpit Voice Recorders Found in Pentagon Wreckage" by Digital Journal Staff, Digital Journal, September 14, 2001


Archive: Wayback Machine has not archived that URL.


Garamone. 2001

"September 11 at the Pentagon" by Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service, Washington, Oct. 11, 2001


2004 Archive:


Haring. 2001a

"Pentagon hit by hijacked plane" (a), photo by Paul Haring, The U.S. Army Military District of Washington, Sept. 11, 2001


2002 Archive: news_photos/911/pages/firetruck.htmL


Haring. 2001b

"Pentagon hit by hijacked plane" (b), photo by Paul Haring, The U.S. Army Military District of Washington, Sept. 11, 2001


2002 Archive:


Ingersoll. 2001

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jason Ingersoll, Armed Forces Information Service, HQMC Photlab, Record ID No. (VIRIN): 010911-M-4122I-055, September 11, 2001


2002 Archive: Wayback Machine has not archived that URL.


Knouf. 2001

Photo by Spc. Tony R. Knouf, The Military District of Washington, September 2001


2002 Archive:


Maloney, Stevens, Fogel, & Rivero. 2001

"Navy Command Center" by Brenna Maloney, Doug Stevens, Larry Fogel, and Christina Rivero, The Washington Post, September 16, 2001




Margasak. 2001

"Attack on America: Officials say no more survivors expected to be found at Pentagon; smoke lingers" by Larry Margasak, The Associated Press via The Jackson Sun, April 12, 2001


Archive: This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine.


Marquis & Titus. 2002

"Interview with April Gallup" by Aldo Marquis and Leo Titus, Citizen Investigation Team (, March 2007

2013 Archive:


Massing. 2002

"Black Hawk Downer" by Michael Massing, The Nation, February 25, 2002, pg. 5.

Munters. 2002

"Munters Battles to Restore Pentagon", Munters Control Services, 2002


2002 Archive:


Myers & Becker. 2001

"After the Attacks: The Pentagon; Defense Department Says 126 Are Missing, Raising Total Of Crash Victims To 190" by Steven Lee Myers and Elizabeth Becker, The New York Times, September 14, 2001


2015 Archive:


NMCC. 2000

"Monitoring On Going Operations", Joint Staff Operations, J-3 Operations Directorate, circa 2000


2001 Archive:


NSDQ 1997

"Blackhawk Down — Book Reviews", Nightstalkers Association, 1997


1999 Archive:


Reuters. 2001

"Grim Search for Survivors" by Reuters, New Zealand Herald, September 12, 2001


Archive: Wayback Machine has not archived that URL.


Rumsfeld. 2001


2001 Archive:


Sexton 2002

"What's Wrong With Black Hawk Down" by Brendan Sexton III, Counterpunch, February 28, 2002


2011 Archive:


Shelton 2002
"General Henry Hugh Shelton," 1st Battalion /14th Infantry Regiment


2002 Archive:


Staten. 1992

"Building Collapse Rescue" by Clark Staten (former chairman of the Emergency Management Committee, National Association of EMTs, Emergency Medical Services Magazine, 1992


2001 Archive:


Thornton & Henry. 2001
"The View from Ground Zero", by Emily Thornton & David Henry, Business Week, September 24, 2001. This article is the context for the photo in Business Week 2001.


2001 Archive:


United Press International. 2001
"No Hope of survivors in Pentagon Attack," United Press International via Newsmax, September 12, 2001


b>Archive: Wayback Machine has not archived that URL.


US News & World Report. 2001

US News & World Report, September 14, 2001

USTranscom. 2001

"Pentagon recovery operations continue", US Transportation Command, Release #: 010912-4, September 12, 2001


2016 Archive:


Valentine. 1995

"Death Reports for MC Doe 74 (Melissa Morrison?)" by Carol Valentine, Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum, April 19, 1996


2001 Archive:

Valentine. 2001

"Lightning Strikes New FBI Director" by Carol Valentine, Waco Holocaust Electronic Museum, July 30, 2001


2001 Archive:

Van Derbeken. 2014

"Fire rig alerted to Asiana victim before running her over" by Jaxon Van Derbeken, SFGate, January 9, 2014

The photograph used here is found in a side-scrolling gallery of photos on that page.

2014 Archive:
Though the SFGate article is in the archive, the side-scrolling gallery was not fully archived and the subject photo is not found through that page.  A 2022 archive of the photo is found here:


Vinckier, Chris. 2001
"Use Of Fire Extinguishers" by Chris Vinckier, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (the largest university in Belgium with 58,000 students enrolled), February 21, 2001


2002 Archive:


Worker's World. 2002

"Black Hawk Down," Worker's World, January 31, 2002.