Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rudolph "Rudy" Plappert Nazi Submariner

Rudolph "Rudy" Plappert Nazi Submariner
Rudy Plappert – German Submariner – Built Dolphin Motel in Strathmere

By William Kelly
(Originally published in the Atlantic City Sun newspaper, May, 1981)

From the moment he first saw the soft white sands of Whale Beach in Strathmere, Rudolph Plappert knew he wanted to live there.

His first visit was during the lazy, expectant, early days of World War II. The beach, the salt air, the fresh fish, were all special things to a man at war.

And Plappert’s perspective was unique because his first view of Cape May’s coast was though the periscope of his submarine.

As a German U-boat officer assigned to patrol America’s east coast waterway, Plappert helped keep Allied cargo and war ships pinned into the harbors. In the early days of the war, the battle of the Atlantic was fierce, with U-Boats taking their toll and recording their victories in the amount of tonnage sunk.

But the tides of war changed, and the silent and swift U-Boats became vulnerable. Like the Africa Corps and the Luftewaffa before them, the wolfpacks became lone wolves. With the aid of radar, and the ultra secret code breakers, the hunter became the hunted, and the seawolves became hot, sweaty deathboxs.

For one last time the periscope broke the water’s surface off Sea Isle City. Plappert threw open the iron hatch and took a breath of fresh air. He climbed the bridge, and while other men scampered around the deck he scanned the horizon with binoculars.

A small fishing boat that bobbed up and down with swells drifted closer. The fishermen waved, and as they drew closer, one of them threw a bag of fresh lobsters onto the deck of the sub. Plappert waved, smiled and yelled a polite, “danka.” Although the Italian-American fishermen didn’t understand his German pledge, Plappert also promised that he would one day return.

Rudolph “Ruddy” Plappert arrived in Sea Isle City in 1958 with his wife Englebert. He purchased some beachfront property near the end of the island in Strathmere and built the Dolphin Motel on the beach. The storm of ’62 wiped them out temporarily, and they rebuilt the motel across the street from the beach where it stands today.

“Rudy,” as he became known to the townspeople, was a man about town. A very well-liked, easy going gentleman, who was involved in civic affairs, Rudy lived out his life in an unobtrusive manner.

Than a small newspaper item mentioned that a former U-Boat commander who had patrolled the Jersey coast was living in Sea Isle. Ann and Charles Manolou, who purchased the Dolphin Motel from Rudy in 1976, began to receive phone calls from inquisitive reporters, including one from the National Enquirer. They all wanted to know about Rudy.

Today (1981), Charles is getting the Dolphin ready for the summer season, planting bushes by the driveway and doing the yearly repair work. “There’s not much to go on,” he said. “Rudy died of a heart attack shortly after we purchased the place and his wife is now living in Florida.”

“He was a very tall, broad shouldered fellow. A very husky strong man, who loved sailing his catamaran off the beach. Both him and his wife were quiet people who shunned publicity, but he was well known in town, and used to stop in Braca’s Café occasionally for a drink.”

Down at Braca’s Kim Giberson is also preparing for the oncoming season, loading up his stockroom. Although his Uncle Lou Braca knew Rudy better, Kim remembered the tall man who drank at the bar and talked in a deep and distinct German accent.

“He even looked German,” Kim said, “and used to run his two doberman pincher dogs along the beach.”

The bar is different now that when Plappert haunted the place. The giant mirror is still on the wall, but it doesn’t reflect the old seedy, shot and beer joint it used to. Kim cleaned up the place, and made it a refined restaurant.

Plappert would sit at the bar with a few of his friends, including Mayor Dominic Raffa and Commissioner Bill Kehner. Raffa, who was recently reelected to office, recalls Rudy drinking vodka on the rocks, but only infrequently did he tell about his war-time escapades.

“He said he liked the pretty beaches, and decided during the war that this is where he wanted to live,” recalled Raffa.

Kim recalls that besides the view, Plappert liked the people.

“When he surfaced off shore, he’d occasionally come across some rum runners and fishermen who’d wave at him like the fighter pilots of World War I. Near the end of the war some of the fishermen even gave him lobsters as a token of friendship. I think that’s really why he came back here,” he said.

Plappert’s gone now but the things that attracted him to the small seaside village are still there – the salt air, the sandy beach, the fresh fish and the friendly people, some of whom will always remember the U-Boat officer, their one-time enemy who became their neighbor and friend.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Weedman Busted (again) and Shut Down By Feds

PW Exclusive: DEA Takes Down N.J. Weedman's California Pot Operation
By Michael Alan Goldberg

Posted Dec. 23, 2011


The long, strange saga of Ed "NJ Weedman" Forchion—marijuana folk hero and New Jersey weed activist-turned-California weed capitalist—has taken a turn for the worse.

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, Forchion was driving in Los Angeles on his way to sign a lease for a second location for his Liberty Bell Temple—the popular Hollywood Boulevard pot dispensary he's operated for more than three years—when he was pulled over by an LAPD squad car. Within a few moments, agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency joined in on the stop. Forchion was put in handcuffs and informed that the DEA was commencing a raid of the Liberty Bell Temple—as well as Forchion's apartment and his marijuana grow operation, located inside a nondescript Los Angeles warehouse—on suspicion of violating federal drug laws.

While California law allows medicinal marijuana dispensaries and related growing facilities (and Forchion was licensed by the state to operate such facilities), federal laws that prohibit such operations supercede state law, and the Obama administration has initiated a crackdown on medical marijuana facilities in California this year.

Federal authorities seized all of the marijuana, money, computers, phones, security cameras and paperwork at the Liberty Bell Temple and dismantled the entire shop; turned his apartment upside down and took more computers, cameras, phones, videotapes and paperwork; and removed 600 marijuana plants from Forchion's grow facility, in the process smashing lights and other grow equipment and seizing four dogs belonging to Forchion and sending them to the pound. The feds also froze his bank accounts. Forchion was detained for about five hours and then released without being charged.

"They told me I was lucky I didn't have 1,000 plants or I would've gotten an automatic federal charge, and I'd probably be sitting in jail for two years waiting for trial," says Forchion, calling PW on his girlfriend's phone from his trashed apartment, where he returned yesterday after "going off the grid" for a week following the raid.

Still, Forchion believes it's "just a matter of time" before he's arrested on federal charges. According to DEA marijuana trafficking penalties, a first-time offender convicted of possessing 1,000 plants is hit with a mandatory sentence of no less than 10 years in prison; a conviction on possession of 100 to 999 plants means a minimum of five years.
Forchion says that his whole marijuana operation—in which he says he'd invested more than $300,000 over the past three years—has gone up in smoke, and that as of last night he was down to his last 10 bucks after splurging on a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's yesterday morning.

"I came here from Jersey [four years ago] with 500 bucks in my pocket and a promise from my mom that if I failed, she'd buy a plane ticket to come back," says Forchion, whose weed-fueled exploits over the last 15 years—as detailed in a PW cover story in October—earned him the title of "Superhero of the Potheads."

"I feel like I was doing really well," he sighs.

Last night, he was trying to come up with the $500 necessary to get his four dogs out of the pound. His long-running website, NJWeedman.com, had been down since the raid, replaced by a message from his service provider saying the site was “suspended," but it was back up as of yesterday afternoon—Forchion didn't know if the DEA had something to do with that. Meanwhile, he says, the 17 people he employed at the Liberty Bell Temple and grow site are now out of work—"right before Christmas, too"—but that none were detained because he called the shop as he was being pulled over to warn them of the impending raid, and everyone immediately evacuated the premises.

Forchion says that DEA officers who detained him last week told him they'd had him under surveillance since early November. According to the federal search warrant obtained by PW, DEA agents received a tip in August from a confidential informant about the whereabouts of Forchion's grow operation, which Forchion insists he's kept a secret from everyone except his closest business associates.

"Someone ratted on me," says Forchion. "I guess I have a hater amongst my people or something."

But Forchion believes he—and not the many hundreds of medical marijuana operations that continue to operate freely in Los Angeles—was specifically targeted for the raid because authorities in New Jersey "sicced the government on me." According to the warrant, Burlington County Assistant District Attorney Michael Luciano—who's prosecuting Forchion on a marijuana possession with intent to distribute charge in a trial slated for April—had multiple conversations with the DEA in September and November discussing the N.J. case against Forchion. Luciano also told the DEA that Forchion may be facing additional charges for mailing small vials of marijuana to Luciano, Gov. Chris Christie and more than a dozen other N.J. officials between April and September of this year. Forchion says it was a stunt aimed at encouraging the recipients to "chill out" over weed laws.

Forchion claims DEA agents told him the raid was politically motivated. "They didn't hide it," says Forchion. "[A DEA agent] said that I apparently pissed off New Jersey state officials and they called the Justice Department. He said, 'You should just shut down, you should close down, that's what the politicians want, they want you to shut up. Are you going to shut up?' There was no secret to it."

Neither the DEA nor Luciano's office responded to phone calls seeking comment.
"It's the whole squeaky wheel thing—I guess I was too squeaky," says Forchion, who says he has no regrets about mailing weed to the governor and others. "I know what I'm gonna hear: 'Well, what did you expect?' And to be honest with you, that may have played a little role in this," he laughs.

"I did kind of push the line, and I got some pushback," he continues. "But I'm still the Weedman, you know? I mean, without trying to sound goofy, I do feel like I'm the Martin Luther King of marijuana."

Potential federal charges aside, Forchion's also concerned that he's so broke at the moment that he won't be able to afford a plane ticket back to New Jersey for a mandatory Jan. 3 pre-trial hearing for his April court date—if he misses that, he fears, a warrant for his arrest could be issued. "I'm sure Luciano is gonna think, 'This is great—he doesn't have the money to fly back and forth,'" says Forchion. "He knows this was a big disruption in my life."

And beyond the immediate mess he's in, Forchion has no idea what he's going to do moving forward. "The way my life was last week is over. I'm the Weedman. I never wanted to be called the Weedless Man, and right now that's what I appear to be. I can't go back to New Jersey. What am I gonna do, go back to driving a truck? Nobody's gonna hire me, and I don't have money to get my own truck back on the road."

"After what happened [last week] I thought, should I quietly disappear?" he continues. "And then I thought, no. I have some people going, 'You gonna open back up?' I want to, but I don't know. I've been shut down and knocked off my high horse. There's gonna be people who are like, 'You idiot, you did it to yourself.' But either way, I'm still gonna have my day in Burlington County court [in April] and I'm gonna win, and if the government comes after me I'm gonna beat them, too. I still want to be the Roe v. Wade of marijuana legalization. I do feel that that's my destiny."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

South Jersey Soul Singer Howard Tate RIP

Soul singer Howard Tate dies in Burlington City apartment at 72


TRENTON — Soul singer Howard Tate has died in his Burlington City apartment a decade after a career resurrection that followed years of tragedy and obscurity.

A spokesman for the Burlington County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tate died of natural causes Friday at age 72.

The son of a Baptist preacher, Tate was born in Macon, Ga., and grew up in Philadelphia singing gospel songs. In 2004, in a feature story published by the Burlington County Times, he was living in a home along the Rancocas Creek in Southampton.

In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, Tate had three top 20 R&B hits, including “Get It While You Can,” written by his longtime producer, Jerry Ragovoy, and made more famous by Janis Joplin.
But his own album sales suffered, and Tate claimed that he received almost no royalties from his music.

“I’d go out on the road and come back home to my wife, who would say, ‘You’re on the charts, you’re working 300 days a year, how come there’s no money?’ “ he recalled in the 2004 article.
Depressed and frustrated, Tate left the music scene, vowing to never return.

In the late 1970s, Tate’s daughter died in a fire, his marriage ended and, to ease the pain, he turned to alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. He wound up homeless, living on the streets of Philadelphia for about 10 years. Ragovoy believed he had died.

“I’ve been hit in the mouth with a brick, been on the scene with knives and guns,” Tate remembered. “I could have lost my life out there.”

In 1994, Tate said he found God and created a church to help the homeless and drug-addicted. He made his musical comeback after a fellow musician saw him in a grocery store in 2001.

His 2003 release, “Rediscovered,” again with Ragovoy producing, was nominated for a Grammy for best contemporary blues album. His last work of new material was “Blue Day” in 2008.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rare White Dolphin

White Dolphin photographed off coast of South America

Unlike the white deer of the Jersey Pines, the dolphin is an albino.

Biologists find albino among Brazil dolphins


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian biologists have found an extremely rare example of an albino dolphin among an endangered species that lives off the southern coast of South America.

The research group, based at Univille university in Santa Catarina, said Thursday that it was the first recorded instance of an albino in the pontoporia blainvillei species, a very shy type of dolphin that rarely jumps out of the water. It's known in Brazil as Toninha and in Argentina and Uruguay as the La Plata or Franciscana dolphin.

Camilla Meirelles Sartori, the lead biologist of Project Toninhas, said she first saw the white calf with pinkish fins at the end of October. Her group photographed him in early November.
"We were surprised, shocked," Sartori said. "It's very small, and the color is really different. We didn't know what it was at first."

Sartori said the baby was with an adult, probably its mother. The young live on their mother's milk until they are six months old and remain dependent on the adult until they're a year old.

The species is endangered. Its dolphins have long, thin snouts and get easily tangled in fishing nets. They can drown or die of stress if not quickly released, Sartori said.

Since Herman Melville created the albino whale Moby Dick in 1851, rare albino marine mammals have held a special fascination.

Albinism is the lack of melanin pigments in the body, giving an individual very light or white skin and hair. Little is known about the genetic predisposition in dolphins because it's so unusual.

Sartori said the rarity of the baby spotted by her group only highlights the need to preserve the Bay of Babitonga in the southern Brazil state of Santa Catarina, where this population of endangered dolphins lives.

"Albino animals generally have fewer chances of survival because they have greater chances of being caught by predators," Sartori said. "Here, in this bay, they don't have natural predators.

But there is a lot of environmental degradation from two ports, industrial and residential sewage, tourism. This is an another argument for its protection."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

East \ West Jersey Map

The Sign on North Lakeshore

This is the road as it approaches Turtle Log Bridge. The sign was just before this bridge.

The Sign Read:

Let No Man Say And Say With Shame
That All Was Beauty Here
Before You Came

That was what the old wood sign read, posted on the polls in the little park in front of the bench on north lakeshore drive, just across the Lakeshore drive road from Jack Gillespie’s house on Mirror Lake in Browns Mills (NJ).

Jack’s a story himself, but he must have had to look at that sign every day, while I only saw it when I was taking a ride around the lake. I don’t know how long it was there but I remember reading the sign for the first time when I was a kid in the back seat during an after dinner pop sickle ride into town.

But it wasn’t there one day, and when somebody else mentioned it, we promised each other that we would have it replaced, as the two wood poles were still there, it was just the sign that was missing.

TT found an old photo of the sign and somebody posted it on the Facebook page – You must be from Browns Mills if you remember....the sign that isn’t there anymore.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Muscovy Ducks

While I took this photo a few years ago, the same group of Muscovys that live near the first lagoon on South Lake Shore Drive in Browns Mills just had another brood - in late November.

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) is a large duck which is native to Mexico and Central and South America. A small wild population reaches into the United States in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. There also are feral breeding populations in North America in and around public parks in nearly every state of the USA and in the Canadian provinces; feral populations also exist in Europe. Although the Muscovy Duck is a tropical bird, it adapts to icy and snowy conditions down to –12°C (10°F) and below without ill effects.[2][3] In general, "Barbary Duck" is the usual term for C. moschata in a culinary context.

All Muscovy Ducks have long claws on their feet and a wide flat tail. In the domestic drake (male), length is about 86 cm (34 in) and weight is 4.6–6.8 kg (10–15 lb), while the domestic hen (female) is much smaller, at 64 cm (25 in) in length and 2.7–3.6 kg (6.0–7.9 lb) in weight. Large domesticated males often weigh up to 8 kg (18 lb), and large domesticated females up to 5 kg (11 lb). One male of an Australian breed weighed about 10 kg (22 lb).[4]
The true wild Muscovy Duck, from which all domesticated Muscovys originated, is blackish, with large white wing patches. Length can range from 66 to 84 cm (26 to 33 in), wingspan from 137 to 152 cm (54 to 60 in) and weight from 1.1–4.1 kg (2.4–9.0 lb) in wild Muscovys. On the head, the wild male has short crest on the nape. The bill is black with a speckling of pale pink. A blackish or dark red knob can be seen at the bill base, and the bare skin of the face is similar to that in color. The eyes are yellowish-brown. The legs and webbed feet are blackish. The wild female is similar in plumage, but is also much smaller, and she has feathered face and lacks the prominent knob. The juvenile is duller overall, with little or no white on the upperwing.[5] Domesticated birds may look similar; most are dark brown or black mixed with white, particularly on the head.[6] Other colors such as lavender or all-white are also seen. Both sexes have a nude black-and-red or all-red face; the drake also has pronounced caruncles at the base of the bill and a low erectile crest of feathers.[3]
C. moschata ducklings are mostly yellow with buff-brown markings on the tail and wings. Some domesticated ducklings have a dark head and blue eyes, others a light brown crown and dark markings on their nape. They are agile and speedy precocial birds.
The drake has a low breathy call, and the hen a quiet trilling coo.
The karyotype of the Muscovy Duck is 2n=80, consisting of three pairs of macrochromosomes, 36 pairs of microchromosomes, and a pair of sex chromosomes. The two largest macrochromosome pairs are submetacentric, while all other chromosomes are acrocentric or (for the smallest microchromosomes) probably telocentric. The submetacentric chromosomes and the Z (female) chromosome show rather little constitutive heterochromatin (C bands), while the W chromosomes are at least two-thirds heterochromatin.[7]
Male Muscovy Ducks have spiralled penises which can become erect to 20 cm in one third of a second. Females have cloacas that spiral in the opposite direction to try to limit forced copulation by males.[8]

The term "Muscovy" means "from the Moscow region", but these ducks are neither native there nor were they introduced there before they became known in Western Europe. It is not quite clear how the term came about; it very likely originated between 1550 and 1600, but did not become widespread until somewhat later.

In one suggestion, it has been claimed that the Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands traded these ducks to Europe occasionally after 1550;[9] this chartered company became eventually known as the Muscovy Company or "Muscovite Company" so the ducks might thus have come to be called "Muscovite Ducks" or "Muscovy Ducks" in keeping with the common practice of attaching the importer's name to the products they sold.[9] But while the Muscovite Company initiated vigorous trade with Russia, they hardly, if at all, traded produce from the Americas; thus they are unlikely to have traded C. moschata to a significant extent.

Alternatively – just as in the "turkey" bird (which is also from America), or the "guineafowl" (which are not limited to Guinea) – "Muscovy" might be simply a generic term for a hard-to-reach and exotic place, in reference to the singular appearance of these birds. This is evidenced by other names suggesting the species came from lands where it is not actually native, but from where much "outlandish" produce was imported at that time (see below). A more recent parallel is the "Persian" cat, which resembles cats from Greater Khorasan and Ankara, but was actually bred in England.[10]

Yet another view – not incompatible with either of those discussed above – connects the species with the Muisca, a Native American nation in today's Colombia. The duck is native to these lands too, and it is likely that it was kept by the Muisca as a domestic animal to some extent. It is conceivable that a term like "Muisca duck", hard to comprehend for the average European of those times, would be corrupted into something more familiar.
The Miskito Indians of the Miskito Coast in Nicaragua and Honduras relied heavily on this domestic species. The ducks may have been named after this region.

The species was first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 edition of Systema Naturae as Anas moschata,[11] literally meaning "musk duck". His description only consists of a curt but entirely unequivocal [Anas] facie nuda papillosa ("A duck with a naked and carunculated face"), and his primary reference is his earlier work Fauna Svecica.[12] But Linnaeus refers also to older sources, and therein much information on the origin of the common name is found.
Conrad Gessner is given by Linnaeus as a source, but the Historiae animalium mentions the Muscovy Duck only in passing.[13] Ulisse Aldrovandi[14] discusses the species in detail, referring to the wild birds and its domestic breeds variously as anas cairina, anas indica or anas libyca – "Duck from Cairo", "Indian Duck" (in reference to the West Indies) or "Libyan Duck". But his anas indica (based, like Gessner's brief discussion, ultimately on the reports of Christopher Columbus's travels) also seems to have included another species,[15] perhaps a whistling-duck (Dendrocygna). Already however the species is tied to some more or less nondescript "exotic" locality – "Libya" could still refer to any place in Northern Africa at that time – where it did not natively occur. Francis Willughby[16] discusses "The Muscovy Duck" as anas moschata and expresses his belief that Aldrovandi's and Gessner's anas cairina, anas indica and anas libyca (which he calls "The Guiny Duck", adding another mistaken place of origin to the list) refer to the very same species. Finally, John Ray clears up much of the misunderstanding by providing a contemporary explanation for the bird's etymology:
"In English, it is called The Muscovy-Duck, though this is not transferred from Muscovia [the New Latin name of Muscovy], but from the rather strong musk odour it exudes."[17]
Linnaeus came to witness the birds' "gamey" aroma first-hand, as he attests in the Fauna Svecica and again in the travelogue of this 1746 Västergötland excursion.[18] Similarly, the Russia

name of this species, muskusnaya utka (Мускусная утка), means "musk duck" – without any reference to Moscow – as do the Bokmål moskusand, Dutch muskuseend, Finnish myskisorsa, French canard musqué, German Moschusente, Italian anatra muschiata, Spanish pato almizclado and Swedish myskand. In English however, Musk Duck refers to the Australian species Biziura lobata.

In some regions the name Barbary Duck is used for domesticated and "Muscovy Duck" for wild birds; in other places "Barbary Duck" refers specifically to the dressed carcass, while "Muscovy Duck" applies to living C. moschata, regardless of whether they are wild or domesticated. In general, "Barbary Duck" is the usual term for C. moschata in a culinary context.

This species was formerly placed into the paraphyletic "perching duck" assemblage, but subsequently moved to the dabbling duck subfamily (Anatinae). Analysis of the mtDNA sequences of the cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 genes,[19] however, indicates that it might be closer to the genus Aix and better placed in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae. In addition, the other species of Cairina, the rare White-winged Duck (C. scutulata), seems to belong into a distinct genus. The generic name Cairina, meanwhile, traces its origin to Aldr
Aldrovandi, and ultimately to the mistaken belief that the birds came from Egypt: translated, the current scientific name of the Muscovy Duck means "the musky one from Cairo".


This non-migratory species normally inhabits forested swamps, lakes, streams and nearby grassland and farm crops,[20] and often roosts in trees at night. The Muscovy Duck's diet consists of plant material obtained by grazing or dabbling in shallow water, and small fish, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, insects, and millipedes. [21] This is a somewhat aggressive duck; males often fight over food, territory or mates. The females fight with each other less often. Some adults will peck at the ducklings if they are eating at the same food source.
The Muscovy Duck has benefited from nest boxes in Mexico, but is somewhat uncommon in much of the east of its range due to excessive hunting. It is not considered a globally threatened species by the IUCN however, as it is widely distributed.[22]

This species, like the Mallard, does not form stable pairs. They will mate on land or in water (note the submerged female in the image below). Domesticated Muscovy Ducks can breed up to three times each year.

The hen lays a clutch of 8-16 white eggs, usually in a tree hole or hollow, which are incubated for 35 days. The sitting hen will leave the nest once a day from 20 minutes to one and a half hours, and will then defecate, drink water, eat and sometimes bathe. Once the eggs begin to hatch it may take 24 hours for all the chicks to break through their shells. When feral chicks are born they usually stay with their mother for about 10–12 weeks. Their bodies cannot produce all the heat they need, especially in temperate regions, so they will stay close to the mother especially at night.

Often, the drake will stay in close contact with the brood for several weeks. The male will walk with the young during their normal travels in search for food, providing protection. Anecdotal evidence from East Anglia, UK suggests that, in response to different environmental conditions, other adults assist in protecting chicks and providing warmth at night. It has been suggested that this is in response to local efforts to cull the eggs, which has led to an atypical distribution of males and females as well as young and mature birds.

For the first few weeks of their lives, Muscovy duckling feed on grains, corn, grass, insects, and almost anything that moves. Their mother instructs them at an early age how to feed.

Feral Muscovy Ducks can breed near urban and suburban lakes and on farms, nesting in tree cavities or on the ground, under shrubs in yards, on condominium balconies, or under roof overhangs. Some feral populations, such as that in Florida, have a reputation of becoming nuisance pests on occasion.[23] At night they often sleep at water, if there is a water source available, to flee quickly from predators if awoken. A small population of Muscovy Ducks can also be found in Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK, where they are considered a pest and culled by the local council.

In the US, Muscovy Duccks are considered an invasive species. An owner may raise them for food production only (not for hunting). Similarly, if the ducks have no owner, 50CFR Part 21 allows the removal or destruction of the Muscovy ducks, their eggs and nests anywhere in the United States outside of Hidalgo, Starr, and Zapata counties in Texas where they are considered indigenous. The population in southern Florida is considered, with a population in the several thousands, to established there enough be is considered "countable" for bird watchers.[24]

Legal methods to restrict breeding include not feeding these ducks, deterring them with noise or by chasing, and finding nests and vigorously shaking the eggs to render them non-viable. Returning the eggs to the nest will avoid re-laying as the female would if the clutch were removed.
Recent legislation in the USA prohibits trading of Muscovy Ducks and plans for eradication are in order to solve nuisance problems.[21]

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veterans Day in Browns Mills

Do you recognize anyone in this photo?

Photo from Community News.

If you do, please contact me at Billkelly3@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

White Deer Fawn Sir Phineas Pinkerton aka Finn

Rose Shields/staff photographer

Assistant rehab manager Sara Walsh gets kisses from Finn, a male fawn that is recuperating at the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge

While we have many photos of white deer in the wild from around these parts, this is the first picture we've seen of a white deer in captivity. It is being cared for at the Woodfore Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge in Medford.

Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
By Gail Boatman Special to the BCT |


MEDFORD — The arrival of injured and abandoned animals is not unusual at the Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge. Four thousand hurting creatures find their way to the refuge’s doorstep every year.

But this one was different.

One morning last month, a white fawn with blue eyes and pink hooves arrived, delivered by a concerned resident who had spotted him in her backyard. He was about 2 weeks old and had apparently been abandoned by his mother.

The woman who first saw him watched and waited for two days, hoping the herd would return for him. Finally, she called Cedar Run.

“She told us he was bleating and crying and couldn’t feed himself,’’ said Jeanne Gural, Cedar Run’s executive director.

The staff named him Sir Phineas Pinkerton, or Finn for short. Most fawns are born in the spring and have ample time to grow strong before winter sets in with its cold winds and scarce food supply.

This late-season fawn would not be so lucky.

Despite his coloring, Finn is not an albino, according to Gural.

“We know this because of his blue eyes,’’ she said.

But he lacks brown pigment, a condition that approximately one in 500 deer are born with.

The refuge’s policy is to return animals to the wild if there is a reasonable possibility they can survive.

“We’re good, but their mothers are better,’’ Gural said.

Finn’s chances of surviving were close to zero.

The coloring that makes him so exotic, almost mythic in appearance, also would make him a prized target for hunters.

And there is another factor.

Fawns quickly become accustomed to being around humans, a trait that would not serve Finn well in the wild. So, eventually he will become a resident of the 174-acre refuge.

“We will gradually integrate him with three other deer who live here,’’ said Sara Walsh, an animal rehabilitator and the assistant manager of the refuge’s hospital. “That’s so he will understand he’s a deer.’’

Until then, Finn is living in an enclosed area in the hospital and, as much as possible, being kept away from people.

Walsh and hospital manager Stephanie Stewart are involved in his day-to-day care, a schedule that many new mothers may recognize: feeding, sleeping and playing.

Walsh helps to bottle-feed him five times a day with a nutritious formula especially concocted for fawns. Finn is teething now, she said, and has been introduced to solid foods, apples and vegetables. He also is fond of the diamond-shaped leaves on a sassafras tree.

“It’s what he would eat in the wild,’’ Walsh said.

At first, Finn slept all day, but now, at nearly 6 weeks old, he is becoming more and more active. Last week, lured by the surrounding trees, he began to venture outside, wearing a secure harness.At about one year, Finn will begin to develop his antlers. Already there are small spots on his head where they will form.

Working hours for both women are 9 to 5, but they live on the premises and can be called in the middle of the night for an emergency.

Their days begin with food preparation for all the resident animals, about 20 now.

In summer, when that number can jump to 50 or 60, feeding can take up to half the day. Volunteers help, and during the summer months, three interns work with the women.

Walsh, a native of Colorado, started at Cedar Run as an intern after studying wildlife management at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa.

Most of the animals and birds that arrive at Cedar Run, injured or sick, eventually are released back into the wild.

They are prepared gradually, learning how to fend for themselves in the safety of the refuge before being released.

That is the moment Walsh and her colleagues look forward to.

“We watch them being wild animals,’’ she said.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Weapons of Mass Destruction in My Backyard


The search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq may have come up empty, but from where I’m sitting in the middle of New Jersey, it seems that there’s plenty of WMD right here in my backyard. It seems that I don’t have to go far to find such WMD as missing mice infected with biological warfare diseases, unaccounted for vials of liquid anthrax, nuke missile meltdowns and nuclear warheads missing offshore. It’s all right here. I couldn’t make this up, and we don’t need no terrorist to do it to us, it seems we shoot ourselves in the foot.

Not long ago, as detailed in the news, vials of anthrax are missing, along with three bubonic plague infested mice. Then there’s the BOMARC missile meltdown, complete with nuclear warheads, what they call a “Broken Arrow” incident that occurred at Fort Dix/McGuire AFB, which polluted the nearby ground and water. And there's also the two nuke warheads off the Coast of Cape May.

Know any terrorists looking for some nuclear warheads? There’s two in the water a few miles off Cape May, New Jersey, jetsoned during an emergency from a military plane out of Dover AFB in Delaware, and never recovered. Just like Ian Fleming’s fictional 007 adventure “Thunderball,” in which two nuclear bombs are hijacked by the terrorist organization SPECTRE – Special Executive for Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, for blackmail purposes.

Missing mice and anthrax, missile meltdown, nuke warheads lost offshore, we got it all. And each case study is a lesson in accidents that can get out of control. The most recent are the stories of the missing mice and anthrax.


Three bubonic plague infested mice went missing from a government lab in Newark in September, 2005, and not long after two-two inch tubes of liquid anthrax bacteria were reported unaccounted for at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratory in Trenton.

According to the Associated Press (Wayne Parry, Aril 26, 2006), “The mice were never located, and officials said the rodents might have been stolen, eaten by other lab animals or just misplaced in a paperwork error.” The three toxic mice were absent from their Newark lab affiliated with the University of Medicine and Denistry, where a scandal even more pressing than the missing mice forced the resignation of the director and sparked a federal financial probe.

“The Newark lab that lost track of the plague-infested mice conducts bioterrorism research for the federal government,” Wayne Parry Reported. “After the incident, the facility improved its video surveillance and stopped using contracted animal handlers. Before the incident, the center relied on a single security guard.”

The anthrax, kept at a more secure facility, was discovered missing during an inventory of more than 19,000 samples stored in a state laboratory, prior to their being relocated to an even more secure facility. 350 of 352 positive anthrax samples are accounted for.

According to Lauren O. Kidd of the Gannett newspapers, “The state is obliged by the FBI to store the positive samples as potential evidence if a suspect is charged in connection to the unsolved anthrax attacks that killed five and harmed at least 17 in October 2001. The U.S. Postal Service requires the state to store the thousands of negative samples as well, officials said.”

“In both cases, authorities say they think the items in question weren’t actually lost, but were simply unaccounted for due to clerical errors,” wrote Parry.

“It is likely that the discrepancy is an inventory or clerical error and not truly missing samples,” said state epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz.

Rutgers University microbiologist Richard Ebright said, “The fact that they don’t know the answer means they’re not running a properly secured facility. The odds are that it was an accounting error, but it is very possible that one of the persons with access to the lab has removed the material.”

Of the 300 institutions in the country capable of safely handling such materials, 16,500 individuals are certified and cleared to handle and possess deadly bio-agents, and only eleven people have such clearance at the Trenton lab where the anthrax was stored. All were questioned and cleared.

“The Trenton lab has multiple levels of security,” writes Parry, “including a padlocked containment area requiring two different sets of identification for access,…video monitoring and 24-hour security guards.”

“Samples of anthrax have been stored at a Trenton lab since shortly after the October 2001 anthrax mailings that went through a Hamilton (N.J.) post office, killing four people across the country and sickening 17.”

“The chance that these two positive specimens are somewhere outside of the laboratory is very small,” said Bresnitz, noting the missing anthrax is, “not in a mode that we think could be used as weapons. The spores would have to be put into an aerosol form to be used as a weapon, which would take a high level of technical sophistication.”

Well, we know who has a high level of technical sophistication. As Rutgers professor Ebright says, “If an adversary of the United States, such as al-Quada, wanted to obtain this material, the most effective, simple procedure to do so is to plant a person in one of those numerous institutions that the administration has put in place working with this material. Because the number of those institutions has increased and because it happened without an increase in effective security, the risk to the United States has dramatically increased.”

Not rare in New Jersey, we apparently have an abundance of anthrax, as New Jersey’s Homeland Security director Richard Canas said, “I think the genesis was that they were inundated with samples. What I would like to see is bringing this number down. Let’s at least cull these down into something more manageable.”

Indeed. And if you see three lose mice running around that glow in the dark, please notify the office of Homeland Security that you found their missing rodents.

Then there’s the nuke missile meltdown, a “Broken Arrow” event.

BOMARC Missile Meltdown. June 7, 1960

The United States was in the mist of the Cold War in early June, 1960, when major cities and military bases were surrounded by batteries of anti-missile missiles, poised to be launched to defend the country against jet bomber or missile attack with thermonuclear weapons.

The BOMARC – was one such anti-missile system, and a battery of them were set up on the east edge of McGuire Air Force base in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Surrounded by scub pine forests, a public nature preserve was just across the two lane blacktop highway from the line of missiles nestled in the woods. The idea behind shooting a nuclear warhead as a defensive weapon depended upon an advance notice being given to launch the anti-missiles so they could detonate high in the atmosphere and take out the incoming bombers and missiles with them.

Set to be launched on two minutes notice, the BOMARC missiles were poised skyward, set in a row a few hundred yards apart. On June 7, 1960, a helium tank under high presure exploded, rupturing the fuel tank that caught fire.

It is what they call a “Broken Arrow” event, or “any accidental or unauthorized incident involving a possible detonation of a nuclear weapon by U.S. Forces (other than war risk); the non-nuclear detonation or burning of a nuclear weapon; radioactive contamination; the seizure, theft or loss of a nuclear weapon or component (including jettisoning); Public hazard, actual or implied.”

While McGuire AFB is now the home base to the state of New Jersey’s nuclear response strike team, they were a little less sophisticated in 1960.

The local, mainly volunteer fire and rescue squads from nearby town of New Egypt, in Ocean County, responded to the explosion, and fought the fire with traditional firefighting weapons – high pressure water.

With the rocket’s fuel feeding the fire, which burned out of control for awhile, the nuclear tipped missile burned completely, and while there was no nuclear explosion, the fire melted the nuclear materials, which combined with the water runoff and contaminated the ground and the ground water below, which fed into a local creek.

One official report reads: Table 5-1: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents, 1950-1980
June 7, 1960 / BOMARC / McGuire AFB, New Jersey (p. 228).

“A BOMARC air defense missile in ready storage condition (permitting launch in two minutes) was destroyed by explosion and fire after a high-pressure helium tank exploded and ruptured the missile’s fuel tanks. The warhead was also destroyed by the fire although the high explosives did not detonate. Nuclear safety devices acted as designed. Contamination was restricted to an area immediately beneath the weapon and an adjacent elongated area approximately 100 feet long, caused by drain off of firefighting water.’

Another source is: U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History, by Chuck Hansen (Orion Books, New York, N.Y., 10003, 1988.

Also see: “The Greenpeace Book of the Nuclear Age: The Hidden History, The Human Cost” by John May, (Pantheon Books, NY, NY, 1989)

While the event took place in 1960, on July 29, 1999 it was announced from McGuire AFB that, “Officials at McGure AFB say they have hired a South Carolina firm to clean up radioacative plutonium that leaked during a 1960 fire at a nuclear missile site. The Trentonian reported that the cleanup was announced a day after federal authorities added other McGuire dump areas to the Superfund list….but not the missile site in Plumstead Township, which was abandoned in 1972.”

Under “Completed Actions,” the DOD report notes that, “Following the explosion that occurred in 1960, paint was applied to the shelter and concrete was poured over the most heavily plutonium-contaminated portions of the asphalt apron and floor area of the shelter. An asphalt cover was placed in the drainage ditch that leads from the shelter to the nearby stream to impede erosion of contaminated soil. Access to the accident area is restricted by a 6 foot chain link fence topped with barb wire.”

The nearby Colliers Mill Wildlife Management Area, a nature park just across the highway from the accident site, is a popular public camping and recreational park.

A huge underground water drainage pipe was replaced in the 1970s and even though is highly contaminated, it has not been located.

From what I understand, having talked with residents of the area, a local piney with a truck was hired to haul some of the contaminated dirt and melted and contaminated metal away from the site.

And that's exactly what happened. In 2011 the Trentonian newspaper reported that they had located a living witness, a former Air Force enlisted man who said that he followed the contaminated metal that was taken away from the site and delivered to a West Trenton junk and scrap metal yard.

An extensive Public Health Assessment by the Boeing Michigan Aeronautical Research Center – of the “Broken Arrow” event at the McGuire Missile, New Egypt, Ocean County, New Jersey, concluded, “No apparent health hazards are associated with an explosion and fire at the BOMARC site in 1960, which released radionuclides to the environment via smoke, dust and water runoff from fire-fighting efforts. Workers responding to the accident, downwind at the time of the accident, or involved in cleanup may have breathed in alpha radiation when they inhaled radionuclides, primarily plutonium, carried on smoke or attached to resuspended soil, or they could have been exposed to small amounts of external gamma radiation.”

The report continues, “Given the lack of information about the exposure conditions at the time of the accident, it is challenging to accurately assess workers intake and does. Conservative estimates, however, suggest that radiation dose received during or after the accident are not expected to cause harmful long term effects or cancer.”


JULY 28, 1957 – C-124 Globemaster Jettisons Cargo – 2 Plutonium-239 atomic warheads – within an area 100 miles southeast of the Naval Air Station, Pomona.

The Department of Defense has officially reported thirty-two serious accidents involving nuclear weapons, three of which occurred while transporting weapons from one place to another, using the C-124 “Globemaster” transport.

Destination Europe, the C-124 with three weapons aboard took off from Dover AFB in Delaware, but immediately began experiencing engine trouble. In order to avoid crashing into the water, the crew jettisoned two of the weapons into the water.

According to a 1981 report by the Center for Defense Information

[ Washington, D.C. #0195-6450 The Defense Monitor (Vol. X. Number 5) U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents: Danger In Our Midst – republished by MILNET – http://www.milnet.com/cdiart.htm ]

“On July 28, 1957, a C-124 jettisoned two weapons from a C-124 aircraft. There were three weapons and one nuclear capsule on board the aircraft, though nuclear components were not installed in the weapons. Enroute from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, “a loss of power from number one and number two engines [of four a major problem for this aircraft when carrying extremely heavy atomic bombs of this era ] was experienced.

Maximum power was applied to the remaining engines; however, level flight could not be maintained. At this point, the decision was made to jettison cargo in the interest of safety of the aircraft and crew. The first weapon was jettisoned at approximately 2,500 feet altitude. No detonation occurred from either weapon. Both weapons are presumed to have been damaged from impact with the ocean surface. Both weapons are presumed to have submerged almost instantly. The ocean varies in depth in the area of the jettisonings. The C-124 landed at an airfield in the vicinity of Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the remaining weapon and the nuclear capsule aboard. A search for the weapons or debris had negative results.”

[See: http://www.milnet.com/cdiart.html]

“The weapons were jettisoned within an area 100 miles southeast of the Naval Air Station, Pomona, N.J., where the aircraft landed,” the MILNET report notes. “The two weapons are still presumably in the area, somewhere east of Rehobeth Beach Delaware, Cape May and Wildwood, N.J.”

Even though this incident took place in 1957, you can be sure that bombs are still there. “Plutonium-239, an isotope used to fuel atomic bombs,” the report dryly notes, “has a half-life of 24,400 years and remains poisonous for at least half a million years.”
The problem is – who is looking for these lost nukes? Nobody. If we don’t keep looking for them until they are found, then the terrorists will one day most certainly go looking for them.

Nor do we know what long-term effects of these nuclear accidents if we don’t find out what happened to them and monitor the affected environment.

Under the DOD definition of a nuclear accident, the jettisoning of nuclear warheads is a “Broken Arrow” event #4 – “Seizure, theft, or loss of a nuclear weapon or component (including jettisoning);” a “Public hazard,” whether “actual or implied.”

The DOD report on nuclear weapons accidents concludes “the increased numbers of nuclear weapons suggest that more accidents and perhaps more serious accidents will occur in the future.”

William Kelly – billkelly3@gmail.com

Sunday, October 2, 2011

White Deer Photos

Many thanks to Renae SunMoon for the photos.


One night a few years ago I was driving home after visiting some friends on the other side of Mirror Lake from where I live.

Instead of going back to the damn I went around the far end of the lake, as I had done many times over the years.

As I was making a hard turn near the end of the lake, I came across a half dozen white deer that were standing in the middle of the road, forcing me to break hard and come to a complete stop in order to avoid hitting them. There was one big buck and four or five other smaller ones, but they were all white as sheets. The big one just stood there and looked at me as the others ran off and then meandeared into the woods behind them.

The next day at JC's, the local bar, I mentioned the herd of white deer I had seen the night before and everyone knew all about them. There were more, probably over a dozen all together, and a few mixed, brown and whites.

Not albinos, they are white deer.

I looked up white deer on the internet and found that there were a few out west, and a larger, protected herd of white deer on a military reservation in upstate New York. Still, they are a rarity.

Later on I went for a drive to the same area I had seen them before, just before the curve at the far southwest end of Mirror Lake, and about one block off Lakeshore Drive I saw what I thought was a white doberman standing on a sideroad. I stopped, backed up and sure enough, it was a small white doe. I drove up and it scooted off into the woods, but only about ten or fifteen yards and stopped to eat some more. I drove up to about twenty yards of it and it never ran off, just took its time eating some schrubs, so they are very used to people.

One of the regulars at JC's, Tommy, said his mom lives right along there and sees the white deer all the time in her back yard. She has pictures that Tommy let me make copies of that I'll post as soon as I figure out how to post pictures.

Then I found one photo already posted online at Roger Beckwith's wwwroadhousereport.com.

Roger lives in the same neighborhood and sees the white deer all the time too.

If you scroll down the Roadhouse pictures past the Asbury Park scenes, Billy and Roger at the Stone Poney, you come to a white deer in Roger's backyard.


Come last November, hunting season, and local hunter and JC regular Michael, was proud of the fact he bagged a white buck, as did his son, whose name is Hunter.

Both of these white deer were from a different herd that is located near 4 Mile Circle, about ten or fifteen miles away, but not that far.

Michael said that some hunters around 4 Mile told him that the white deer came from an overturned truck that crashed near the circle. The white deer, they said, came from China and were being transferred to a zoo somewhere when they were released in the accident.

Although I have yet to find any record of such a truck accident, I did Google White Deer China and came up with the White Deer Academy, an ancient school in China where white deer are legend.

Located in the Five Old Men Peak, the White-Deer Cave Academy is one of the earliest institutions of higher learning, and was named after Li Bo, who raised a white deer during his study here. Li later served as the Regional Chief of Jiangzhou (Jiujiang today). The academy is one of the four famous academies in China, along with Shigu in Yunnan, Suiyang in Henan, and Yulu in Hunan.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Air Defense Stand Down - How & Why it Happened

Mrs. Todd Beamer and the "Let's Roll" motto on 177th F-16

9-11 AIR DEFENSE STAND DOWN – How and Why it happened.

By William Kelly - billkelly3@gmail.com

Shortly before 8:30 AM on Tuesday morning, September 11th 2001, the telephone rang at the Pomona, New Jersey headquarters of the 177th Air National Guard wing at the Atlantic City Airport.

The caller, from Boston Center of the Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control, asked for jet fighters to be scrambled to intercept a hijacked airplane heading for New York City.

Unaware that the 177th New Jersey Air National Guard (NJANG) fighter wing was taken off alert status a few years earlier, the FAA Boston Center made the call, sending off one of the first warnings a few minutes after they realized there was a hijacking.

They were attempting to set off the first alarm to the last line of defense – the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), scrambling jet fighters to protect the skies, but instead, they were put on hold.

That call came in 18 minutes before the first hijacked plane hit the North tower of the World Trade Center, a full half hour before the second hijacked plane hit the South tower, an hour before the Pentagon would be attacked and a full hour and a half before the final hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania. The significance of this misdirected emergency call has been overlooked, and what happened during those 18 minutes, before the world knew anything was wrong, has yet to be analytically examined.

The FAA officials at Boston Center, around the same time, also called Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts, where two fighters were on alert that morning, but because the call came in outside the normal and official chain of command, they could not act on it.

As General Richard Meyers, USAF, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said during the 9-11 Commission hearings in Washington, “We are the last line of defense,” and the air forces should only come into play after the failure of all other lines – including the penetration of the country, evading airport security, breaching the cockpit and hijacking the plane, so the air defense failures are magnified by the failures of those before it.


First let’s address the changing of the mission status of the 177th New Jersey Air National Guard (NJANG) wing that for decades, always had two planes on alert status that could launch within minutes and form a protective umbrella from New York State to Virginia.

Historically, the 177th NJANG began in September 1917 as the 199th Aero Squadron, an active duty training unit during World War I. In 1958 the 199th Fighter Squadron moved to Egg Harbor Township, N.J. and in 1962 was re-designated the 177th Tactical Fighter Group. Activated in 1961 during the Berlin crisis and in 1968 during the Pueblo incident, the 177th also served during Desert Storm and in Panama, but were most proud of their active alert status protecting the skies.

With 17 single-seat F-16C “Fighting Falcon” aircraft, the wing maintains its base in building on a 296 acre tract at the Atlantic City International Airport, which is also the home of the William Hughes FAA Technical Center, and is cleared for landings for Air Force One.

At the height of the Cold War a typical mission would be to intercept and escort Russian aircraft heading for Cuba, or escort an errant private pilot astray over the ocean. But after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Soviet Communism in Russia, the mission of the 177th changed and they were taken off alert status in October, 1998.

When the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General Richard Meyers testified before the 9-11 Commission in March, 2004, Commissioner Jamie Gorelick asked him, “…You know 20/20 hindsight is perfect, but if I were sitting at the Pentagon and seeing the kinds of threats that were coming in that summer, I would say to myself, is business as usual appropriate? I mean, the question I have is whether you thought to say: Should we have defenses pre-positioned in a way that we don’t? We know that our forces, that our aircraft from NORAD came too late to the Pentagon.”

“Meyers: Sure, we changed our whole air defense posture at the end of the Cold War. We went from about 22 sites [on alert status] down to about 7, I believe, between the U.S. and Canada, purposely and at the direction of our senior leadership.”

So a subtle but profound change in military and defense policy occurred in 1997-1998 when the Defense Reform Initiative was enacted, and “designed to streamline the organizational structure and business practices of the Department of Defense.”

At the time the Air Force removed the ANG fighter wings from air defense alert missions and made them part of the general-purpose fighter force, reducing the number of dedicated air defense units from 10 in 1997 to four in 2001. These cuts were made as part of the “Quadrennial Defense Review” proposals of May, 1997.

As reported in the 1998 177th Annual Report: “As a result of NORAD tasking, the 177th FW began conversion to the general purpose F-16 mission on October 1 (1998). This action ended the wing’s 25-year association as part of NORAD’s alert force. During that tenure, the wing’s NORAD responsibility included providing air sovereignty of the mid-Atlantic between Long Island, New York and the Virginia Capes.

As of October 1, the wing extended into its extensive period of general-purpose fighter retraining. In the general-purpose F-16 role, the 177th will be capable of assuming a variety of air force missions to include overseas deployments and assignments to one of the newly created Air Expeditionary Force.”


In the months leading up to September 11th, 2001, the 177th ran simulated and real bombing runs, live and ran simulated air-to-air missile training at Tyndal Air Force Base in Florida, the home of the First Tactical Air Force and Headquarters of the NORAD defense of the Northeast Sector of the continental United States.

The 177th also participated in Operation Stand Down, a community effort to assist homeless veterans, THAT through its name, infers the non-alert status of the deactivated wing.

On the morning of September 11th, the 177th was not a part of the NORAD defense command, which was engaged that day in an annual exercise – VIGILANT GUARDIAN, which mimicked a Cold War response to attacking Russian bombers.

At least one other emergency defense drill was being enacted on September 11th at the Washington D.C. Headquarters of the National Recon Office (NRO), which simulated an airplane crashing into the building. The idea of hijacked planes being used as missile weapons was a planned NORAD war game exercise that had yet to be executed, but it was being considered.

As General Meyers later testified at the June 17th, 2004 9-11 Commission public hearing, “Another exercise scheduled for November 2001 portrayed a terrorist threat to the Pentagon requiring evacuation of the facility and conducting operations from a relocation site. Additionally, Assistant Secretary of Defense Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict has sponsored a series of tabletop-seminar exercises since 1992, focused on the coordinated interagency response to terrorist threats, including domestic scenarios.” AMALGAM VIRGO 01 was a multi-service exercise to test the defense and response capabilities to a cruise missile attack on Tyndall AFB in June, 2001, when the 177th was STILL engaged in air-to-air missile practice.

One “domestic scenario,” as outlined by Tom Clancy in one of his novels, ends with a hijacked airliner piloted by a Kamakazi suicide pilot who plows the plane into the Capitol, killing the President and many members of Congress.

On September 11th, because the NORAD command was engaged in the VIGILANT GUARDIAN war game exercise, most of their officers and commanders were at their battle stations, although as they later testified, their focus and their radar was aimed outwards, and not geared for a domestic terrorist air attack from within.

In addition, the FBI, FAA and domestic law enforcement agencies were tasked with the primary response to a terrorist attack, not NORAD, and the pilots were not trained to respond to such a situation as being ordered to shoot down an unarmed commercial airliner with Americans on board. An order to do so would have to originate with the President, and go down the official chain of command, opposite the way the early warnings of hijacked planes went up the chain of command.

On the morning of September 11th, the entire air defense of North America was in the hands of 14 fighter pilots on alert at seven sites in the continental United States. As General Myers testified, “In accordance with Department of Defense (DoD) directives in effect on 9/11, NORAD was to monitor and report the actions of any hijacked aircraft, as requested by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). We had procedures for potential air hijackings, which were based on the premise that a hijacked aircraft would be used for ransom or political purposes, not as a weapon.”

As for the official take on events, General Myers said, “On the morning of 9/11, we were conducting a NORAD command post exercise and our headquarters and regions were postured for ‘wartime conditions.’ Six minutes prior to the first attack on the World Trade Center, the FAA informed NORAD of the potential hijack of American Airlines Flight 11. As events unfolded throughout the morning, NORAD responded immediately with fighters and appropriate airspace control measures. Unfortunately, due to the constraints of time and distance, we were unable to influence the tragic circumstances.”


According to Jack White, the Former Facility Manger, Air Traffic Control Systems Command Center (FAA), “The only manner in which I can address this topic is to write how I believe coordination should have taken place on September 11. The hijackings should have been reported by the controllers up their management chain to the regional operations centers. The regional operations centers should have passed the information to the Washington Operations Center. The Operations center should have advised the FAA official assigned the responsibility of coordinating military assistance. I cannot say that during the attacks of 9/11 my personal understanding of the process was crystal clear, but I did know that the request for military assistance had to come from headquarters.”

As Monte Belger, Former Acting Deputy Administrator (FAA), “Prior to 9/11, FAA’s traditional communication channel with the military during a crisis had been though the National Military Command Center (NMCC). They were always included in the communication net that was used to manage a hijack incident. When a hijacking was reported, FAA security personal activated a command center in the Washington Operations Center and a senior executive from the FAA’s security organization was responsible for managing the situation and the communication network with other government and industry agencies. FAA would frequently ask the military, though the NMCC, for airborne surveillance of the hijacked aircraft to monitor movements. On 9/11 FAA did not have formal dedicated communication channels directly to NORAD. Although the FAA had letters of agreement with DoD and the FBI which defined procedures to follow and roles and responsibilities, it became clear that the events of 9/11 went far beyond the scope of those existing agreements. In the HQ and the FAA field facilities we were reacting to a real scenario that had not been practiced or modeled. Decision makers were reacting quickly, and in my opinion professionally in an untested environment.”


While most of the official and unofficial timelines begin around 8:40 AM (0840), when the military was officially notified, Boston FAA Center realized that something was wrong with American Airlines Flight 11 much earlier, around 8:2? AM (8:14 IS when the transponder was turned off, the pilot failed to acknowledge a request for it to be recycled, and a stranger came over the radio saying, “We have planes….” While the FAA air traffic controllers in Boston requested that the tape of that transmission be reviewed to be sure it said, “planes,” as in plural, it was apparent to some Boston controllers that a hijacking was in progress.

The 9-11 Commission staff has been reviewing the records and issuing Staff Reports on various issues, and according to Staff Statement #17, “Improvising Homeland Defense,” released during the Commission’s last public hearing on June 17, as soon as Boston Center realized that AA Flight 11 was hijacked they made two misdirected telephone calls that were outside of the official procedures.

“Boston Center did not follow the routine protocol in seeking military assistance through the prescribed chain of command. In addition to making notification within the FAA , Boston Center took the initiative, at 8:34, to contact the military through the FAA’s Cape Cod facility. They also tried to obtain assistance from a former alert site in Atlantic City, unaware it had been phased out. At 8:37:52, Boston Center reached NEADS (North East Air Defense System). This was the first notification received by the military – at any level – that American 11 had been hijacked.”

At 8:30 AM in Atlantic City, there are published reports [See: Mike Kelly, Bergen County, N.J. Record and James Bamford’s book ] that two F-16s were in the air, running practice bombing runs over the Jersey Pine Barrens. At the same time, two F-16s were on the tarmac, ready to take off for a bombing practice run at a target range in upstate New York.

A pilot known by his flying handle as “Gilligan” and his wingman were held at the end of the runway for an unusually long time, probably because the phone call from Boston Center began to circulate around their headquarters. The two pilots were ordered to return to base without having taken off, probably because of the Boston Center phone call.

NORAD General Paul Weaver officially explained that it didn’t scramble jet bases nearer to the hijacked planes because they used bases in the NORAD Defense network.

On the morning of September 11th, many of the top military command leaders were out of position to react properly. The President was enroute to a Florida elementary schoolroom, the General Shelton, the OUTGOING Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was flying to Europe, leaving his deputy, Air Force General Richard Myers in command. Myers was on Capitol Hill, meeting PRIVATELY with Congressman MAX CLELAND about his pending approval to take the chairman job.

At the National Military Command Center (NMCC), the War Room at the Pentagon, Brigadier General Montague “Que” Winfield, USA, had the day before requested to be relieved at 0830 on 9-11 by his deputy, Captain Charles J. Leidig, Jr., USN.

Because of the annual Vigilant Guardian command exercise being run that day, all of the other NORAD commanders were at their posts, General Ralph E. Eberhart, USAF at the Rome, New York headquarters of NEADS, Major General Larry Arnold, USAF (now retired) at the NORAD Region (CONR) at Tyndall AFB in Florida, and the principal NORAD commanders led by Gen Ralph E. Eberhart, in the Cheyenne Mountain battle center, Fort Peterson, Colorado.

At the FAA in Washington, as Jack White described to the 9-11 Commission, “Each business day, the ATCSSCC (Air Traffic Control Systems Command Center in Herndon, Virginia) operations and administrative managers conduct a review of the previous day’s operation. On September 11, 2001 this meeting was convened at 0830 EDT. At the time the meeting began, the ATCSSCC had already received reports of a hijacked aircraft. Subsequent, reports resulted in the termination of the meeting and the management team moving to the operations room.”

In the operations room at ATCSSCC near DC, White continued, “…I received a telephone call form the Deputy Director of Air Traffic. I took this call on the administrative phone at the first level supervisor position in the East area of specialization. During this call, I was ordered to remain on the line to facilitate instant communication. I remained on this ad hoc communication position for approximately five hours…”

Benedict Sliney reported in his statement to the 9-11 Commission, “At approximately 8:28 a.m. on September 11, 2001, I was informed by one of the supervisors on duty, that there existed the possibility that American Airlines Flight 11, Boston to Los Angeles, had been hijacked. Shortly after 8:30 a.m., I was further informed that the potential hijacking had been escalated by a report of violence to one of the crew members of the aircraft. A second possible hijack was then reported as United Airlines Flight 175, Boston to Los Angeles, was not responding to Boston Center. A report was received that a radio transmission, not attributed to a particular aircraft, on a Boston Center radio frequency was heard to the effect that, ‘…we have more planes.’…Initially and at the request of New York Center we issued a limited (first tier) ground stop for all traffic landing within or transitioning the New York Center airspace boundaries. Shortly thereafter this that ground stop was expanded to include all such traffic nationwide….”

After making fruitless calls to both Otis AFB in Cape Cod and the 177th NJANG at Atlantic City before 8:30 AM (probably at 8:24 AM), the FAA Boston Center air traffic controllers finally made the correct call to the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) of NORAD in Rome, New York, where Tech. Sgt. Jeremy W. Powell took the call. He notified the commander of the base, Col. Robert K. Marr, Jr., who was engaged in VIGILANT GUARDIAN, and thinking it might be part of the war games asked, “Is this real world or is it part of the exercise?” He was told that it was not an exercise, or a drill.

Marr called Air Force General Larry Arnold, commander of the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONAR) at Tyndall AFB, Florida, told him of the suspected hijacked aircraft and suggested interceptors be scrambled. Arnold, a former pilot with the 177th in Atlantic City when it was on NORAD alert status, quickly ordered the alert jets at Otis to scramble, “we’ll get the approvals later,”

As Gen. Arnold later testified, “First thing that went through my mind was, ‘Is this part of the exercise?” Is this some kind of a screw-up?….I told them to scramble; we’ll get the clearances later.”

At the Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Lt. Col. Timothy “Duff” Duffy had already heard about the suspected hijackings from the errant phone call from the FAA Boston Center. Duffy and his wingman, Maj. Daniel “Nasty” Nash, had suited up and were walking to their planes, helmets in hand, when the order came in and the alarm was sounded.

As reported in Aviation Week [June 3, 2002 – William B. Scott, almost simultaneous with Marr’s call to Arnold at CONAR, the same hijack notification was being passed by phone to a NORAD command center deep inside Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, and the joint FAA/Defense Dept. Air Traffic Services Cell (ATS) co-located with the FAA’s ATC System Command Center in Herndon, Va.”

In the Pentagon at the National Military Command Center (NMCC), Navy Captain Charles J. Leidig, Jr. had taken over for Gen. Montague Winfield, USA, at 0830. He reported to the 9-11 Commission, “Shortly after assuming duty, I received the first report of a plane’s striking the World Trade Center. Some time after, I learned of the second plane’s collision with the World Trade Center. In response to these events, I convened a Significant Events Conference, which was subsequently upgraded to an Air Threat Conference. During the Air Threat Conference, Brigadier General Winfield relieved me [at approx. 1030] and reassumed duties as Deputy Director for Operations for the NMCC.”

Capt. Micahel H. Jellinek, a Canadian Navy officer was serving as NORAD command director that morning, with another Canadian, Maj. Gen. Eric A. Findley, who was working on the VIGILANT GUARDIAN exercise. Both approved the scramble of jet fighters

Unfortunately, due to the roll back in active alert bases, few planes were available. One non-alert ANG commander told Marr, “Give me 10 minutes and I can give you hot guns. Give me 30 minutes, and I’ll have heat-seekers (missiles). Give me an hour and I can give you slammers (Amraams).” Marr replied, “I want it all.”

Also offshore, were two Navy carriers in the North Atlantic, which were called and alerted by the deputy director to the mayor of New York City.

The official timeline and military response originally had the military notified at approximately 8:40 AM, with the scramble order issued at 0846, the precise time that AA11 impacted the North Tower of the World Trade Center and when the rest of the world suddenly became aware that something was happening.

However, at the 9-11 Commission public hearings in June in DC, a new scenario was introduced. Instead of the previous reports that the F-15s from Otis flew directly to New York City at supersonic speeds, it is now revealed that “Duffy” and “Nasty” had no set destination other than to a staging area over the ocean south of Long Island, New York, where they awaited further instructions.

Meanwhile, back on the ground at the Atlantic City International Airport HQ of the 177th NJANG, “Gilligan” and his wingmen reported in, and were called back from takeoff, both under the impression that a personal incident, a family accident or something had led to the order, something that had never occurred before. When they entered the HQ however, and saw the burning World Trade Center tower on television, their commander asked if they were willing to volunteer to go back up, once their planes had been properly rearmed with air-to-air missiles.

Both agreed, as did another pair of 177th pilots who were at the base. It was, according to “Gilligan,” one of the most frustrating and gut-wrenching experiences of his life.

On September 11th, 2001 Betsy Diaz, an armament specialist assigned to the 177th Fighter Wing was a part-time guardsman and civilian employee responsible for loading weapons. As she later reported to the Armed Forces Press Service, “It was weird. Our jets were on their way out to the flight line and, all of a sudden, they turned around. They called us on the radio and told us we had to come in. Then they told us what happened. We had to reconfigure our aircraft, started putting on live missiles.”

According to the story, “Everyone was in shock. People were excited. Things got hectic. ‘I personally tried not to pay attention to it because I didn’t want it to affect me while I was working. I just wanted to continue on my everyday mission. I didn’t want to think about what actually happened…It was amazing how everyone got together and there was no arguing. Everybody got straight, did what they had to do, and everything was set. We did it really fast and really smooth. It just went great.”

Except it wasn’t great for “Gilligan” and his wingman, who had to wait about 45 minutes for them to get the missiles, stored in an old nuclear bomb bunker at the other side of the 200 acre base, and lock them into position and the proper configuration on the planes.

In the meantime, United Airlines Flight 175 – Boston to Los Angeles was hijacked, FAA notified NEADS at 0840, additional Otis F-15s were scrambled,
and at 0902 (0905?) the South Tower of the World Trade Center was hit, making clear in no uncertain terms that the United States was under terrorist attack.

As detailed in the June 17th public hearing of the 9-11 Commission, UA Flight 175, once it was hijacked while heading west, was flown southeast, across the New Jersey Pine Barrens, four minutes from the 177th NJANG base, and within easy intercept range of the F-16s, had they been in the air.

At 0924, nearly an hour after Boston Center FAA called Otis and Atlantic City to put them on notice of the hijackings and requesting fighter jets be scrambled, the FAA notified NEADS that American Airlines Flight 175 Dulles to Los Angeles was hijacked, as well as United Flight 93 – Newark to San Francisco was in trouble.

At 9:37 AM, AA 77 hit the Pentagon, where Defense Secretary Rumsfield was sitting at his desk, and at 10:03 AM, UA 93 crashed in Western Pennsylvania.

Once in the air, “Gilligan” and his wingman were sent vector west, towards Pennsylvania, possibly to intercept UF 93, however they were then ordered to New York, where they were the first non-alert status fighter planes to reach ground zero. Other 177th NJANG planes were sent to Washington, D.C., where they were also the first non-alert status jet fighters at the scene over the capital.

Since September 11, 2001, Air Force General Richard Myers was promoted to the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Winfield was promoted to head the Joint POW/MP-CIL office, and Capt. Leidig has been promoted to admiral.

NORAD – FAA Timeline – per 911 Commission Final Report

06:00 am – Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz al Omari board flight from Portland, Maine to Boston’s Logan International Airport.

06:45 am – Atta and Omari arrive in Boston.

06:45-07:40 – Atta (Business class 8D) and Omari (8G), w/ Satam al Suqami (10B), Wail al Shehri (1st class 2A) and Waleed al Shehri (1st class 2B), check in and board American Airline Flight 11 (AA11), Boston-LA, scheduled to deparat 7:45 am. At another terminal Shehhi (2B), Fayez Banihammad (2A), Mohamd al Shehri (6C), Ahmed al Ghamdi (9D) and Hamza al Ghamdi (9C) check in for United Airlines Flight 175, Boston-LA, set for 08:00 am departure.

06:52 am – Atta takes a 3 minute call from Marwan al Shehhi at another terminal at Logan.

07:15 am – Khalid al Mihdhar (12B) and Majed Moqed (12A) check in at the American Airlines ticket counter at Washington Dulles Airport for Flight 77 (AA77), DC-LA, followed shortly thereafter by Hani Hanjour (1st C 1B) and brothers Nawaf al Hazmi (5E) and Salem al Hazmi (5E).

07:35 am – Hani Hanjour places two carry on bags on the x-ray belt in the Main Terminal’s west checkpoint, followed by Nawaf and Salem al Hazmi to AA77.

07:58 am – UA175 departs gate at Logan Boston-LA; Captain Victor Saracini; First Officer Michael Horrocks, seven flight attendants, fifty-six passengers.

07:59 am – American Airlines Flight 11 (AA11) takes off - Boston – LA. Captain John Ogonowski; First Officer Thomas McGuinness; 9 flight attendants, full capacity 81 passengers.

08:01 am – United Airlines 93 (UA93) leaves gate at Newark- San Fran. 41 min. delay and doesn’t take off until 08:42, unaware of other hijacking.

08:10 am – AA77 scheduled to depart DC Dulles for LA. Captain Charles F. Burlingame pilot; David Charlebois First Officer; four flight attendants, fifty-eight passengers.

08:13 am – AA11 acknowledges instruction f/ FAA Boston Center (in New Hampshire)

08:13:30 am – AA11 hijacked. Pilot John Ogonowski activates talk-back button, enabling Boston controllers to hear cockpit conversations.

08:14 am – United Airlines 175 UA175 takes off for Logan Boston-LA.

08:14 am – Hijacking of AA11 begins, cruising altitude 29,000 feet. Daniel Lewin, seated behind Atta and Omari, is stabbed by hijacker, most likely Satam al Suqami, seated directly behind Lewin, an Israeli military officer.

08:15 am – AA11 fails to acknowledge FAA Boston Center

O8:19 am – Flight attendant Betty Ong calls [Vanessa Minter] the AA Southeastern Reservations Office in Cary, N.C., via ATT airphone to report an emergency aboard the flight: “The cockpit is not answering, somebody’s stabbed in business class, I think there’s Mace – that we can’t breath – I don’t know, I think we’re getting hijacked.” Also two flight attendants stabbed.

08:20 am – AA11 turns of IFF (identify friend or foe) beacon signal.

08:20 am – AA77 takes off from Dulles IA DC – LA.

08:21 am – Boston air traffic controller reports to supervisor that something is seriously wrong. Follow SOP for “no radio” contact. AA11 off radar.

08:21 am – Vanessa Minter at AA North Carolina relays info to Craig Marquis, manager of AA ops center, Fort Worth, Texas. FBI logs onto call and tapes it. AA11 Flight attendant Amy Sweeney calls AA ground manager Michael Woodward, who takes notes.
“Listen and listen to me very carefully. I’m on Flight 11. The airplane has been hijacked.” Gives seat numbers to four of five hijackers of Middle East descent and reports that two flight attendants have been stabbed and a passenger’s throat slashed. Woodward quickly identifies all four including Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari.

08:23 am – AA dispatcher unsuccessfully tires to contact AA11.

08:24:38 am – AA11 transmits “We have some planes. Just stay quiet, and you’ll be okay. We are returning to the airport” Then after a pause, “….Nobody move. Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.”

08:24:40 am – FAA Boston Center Air Traffic Control (BCATC) notifies superior that AA11 hijacked. Manager of BCATC orders the tape of transmission “pulled” to determine if the transmission said “Planes” – as in plural.

08:25 am - Amy Sweeney calls American Flight Services Office in Boston and reports someone aboard flight is hurt, but is cut off.

08:25 am – FAA BCATC, per protocol, begins notifying chain of command that AA11 hijacked.

08:26 am – Ong reports that the plane was “flying erratically.”

08:27 am – AA supervisor Nydia Gonzales begins to listen in to Ong-Minter call.

08:28 am – FAA Boston Center ATC notifies New York Center ATC that hijacked AA11 is entering it’s airspace, heading south.

08:29 am – AA11 fails to acknowledge AA Boston; AA dispatcher notifies FAA Boston Air Traffic Control Center, already aware of the problem, because of AA11 radio transmissions.

08:29 am – Amy Sweeney reconnected to the AA office and begins reports to manger Michael Woodward, including seat numbers of hijackers so he immediately obtains their names.

08:30 am – Brigadier Gen. Montague Winfield leaves the National Military Command Center (NMCC) – the War Room at the Pentagon, and is replaced by Navy Capt., per arrangement from the day before.

08:31 am – FAA Command Center tells FAA Operations Center at FAA HQ of possible hijackings.

08:31 am – FAA Boston Center notifies NORAD (Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins) of AA11 hijacking.

08:33 am – UA175 reaches cruising altitude of 31,000 feet. Flight attendants begin cabin service.

08:34 am – FAA Boston Center – Air traffic controller makes telephone calls outside of chain of command to Otis ANG and 177th NJANG in Atlantic City, requesting fighter interceptors, unaware that NJANG in Atlantic City had been taken off alert more than two years earlier.

8:34 am – Two F-16s from the 177th NJANG are reportedly in the air making making practice bombing runs over the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and two F-16s are on the tarmac ready to take off on a practice bombing mission in upstate New York. They are kept on the runway and eventually ordered not to take off and return to base. They arm with air-to-air missiles and prepare to go up once armed.

08:34 am – Third transmission from AA11: “Nobody move please. We are going back to the airport. Don’t try to make any stupid moves.”

08:37 – FAA Boston Center communicates with UA175 about AA11 and UA175 reports of suspicious transmissions. Last contact with UA175.

08:37:52 – FAA Boston Center notifies NORAD NEADS (North East Air Defense Sector) in Rome, New York : “Hi. Boston Center TMU, we have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York, and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out.”

08:38 am – NEADS responds: “Is this real-world or exercise?”
FAA: “No, this is not an exercise, not a test.”

08:40 am – AA77 handed off routinely from DC to Indianapolis Center.

0840 am – NEADS senior tech. Jeremy Powell calls Otis ANG to upgrade their “readiness posture.” Maj. Daniel Nash (“Nasty”) and Lt. Col. Timothy Duffy (“Duff”) are notified “by colleague” about hijacking.

08:41 am – American Airline’s Operations Center declares AA11 a hijacking.

08:42 am – United 93 (UA93) takes off from Newark, N.J. to LA. Jason Dahl Captain; Leroy Homer First Officer; five flight attendants, thirty-seven passengers.

08:42 am – UA175 reports “suspicious transmissions” from another airliner were received while taking off at 08:14. Last communication with ground.

08:43 am – 08:46 – UA175 hijacked, stabbing both pilots, two passengers and a flight attendant.

08:44 am – Gonzalez loses phone contact with Ong. Sweeney reports to Woodward, “Something is wrong. We are in rapid descent…we are all over the place…We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low…Oh my God we are way too low.”

08:44 am – Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld at the Pentagon says of terrorism, “Let me tell ya, I’ve been around the block a few times. There will be another event. There will be another event.”

08:46 am – (approx.) UA93 hijacked.

08:46 am – AA77 reaches cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.

08:46:40 am – AA11 impacts World Trade Center 1 (WTC1 North Tower)

08:46 am – CIA Director Tenent is told of the WTC “attack” over breakfast with former Sen. David Boren. Tenent : “You know, this has bin Laden’s fingerprints all over it.”

08:46 am – Two F-15s scrambled Otis ANG, Falmouth, Mass (Cape Cod) 153 miles out.

08:46 am – Two F-16s assigned to Andrews AFB, flying bombing practice mission over North Carolina, recalled to DC, 207 miles away.

08:46 am – FAA opens telephone line with Secret Service.

08:46 am – NORAD Command Capt. Micahel Jellinek reports telephone links established with the National Military Command Center (NMCC)- the war room at the Pentagon, Canada command, theater commanders and federal emergency-response agencies.

08:47 am – UA175 changes transponder codes, which went unnoticed for several minutes

08:48 am – First news reports that plane has hit the WTC1. Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, learns of WTC1 crash from TV report before entering a meeting with Sen. Max Cleland on Capitol Hill.

08:48 am – FAA New York Center reports to FAA HQ Command Center (Herndon, Va) that American Airlines (Dallas, Tx) reported in that one of their flight stewards was stabbed and hijackers in cockpit, unaware AA11 had crashed into WTC1.

08:50 am – FAA Indianapolis Center radios AA77. Acknowledged, last transmission.

08:51 am – FAA New York Center notices UA175 code changed. No radio response, and flight deviating from assigned altitude.

08:51 am – AA77 makes last routine transmission.

08:51:30 – 08:54 – AA77 hijacking takes place.

08:52 am – Fighters airborne from Otis, ordered to staging area south of Long Island, NY and into a holding pattern.

08:52 am – Lee Hanson, in Easton, Conn. Receives call form son Peter on UA175, “I think they’ve taken over the cockpit – An attendant has been stabbed, and someone else up front may have been killed. The plane is making strange moves. Call United Airlines – Tell them it’s Flight 175, Boston to LA.” Hanson then calls Easton PD. Flight attendant on UA175 calls United office in San Francisco and tells Marc Policastro the flight has been hijacked, both pilots killed and flight attendant stabbed, and hijackers flying the plane.

08:53 am – FAA NYC air traffic controller reports “we may have a hijack” re:US175.

08:54 am – FAA Indy notices AA77 deviates from flight plan.

08:54 am – Capt. Deborah Loewer, director of the White House Situation Room, traveling with Bush in Florida, receives message from WHSR about WTC1, and she informs Bush.

08:55 am – FAA NYC air traffic control (a women) notifies manager US175 probably hijacked, but FAA regional managers, discussing AA11, “refuse to be disturbed.”

08:56 am – AA77 transponder turned off, now off radar. No radio response.

08:58 am – UA175 turns around and heads for NYC.

08:59 am – UA175 passenger Brian David Sweeney calls wife and leaves message on her answering machine, calls mother, tells her plane hijacked.

09:00 am – Lee Hanson gets second call from son Peter on UA175. “It’s getting bad, Dad – A stewardess was stabbed – They seem to have knives and Mace – They said they have a bomb – It’s getting very bad on the plane – Passengers are throwing up and getting sick – The plane is making jerking movements – I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane – I think we are going down – I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building – Don’t worry Dad – If it happens it’ll be very fast – My God, my God.” Hanson heard a women scream before the phone call was cut off.

09:00 am – AA Ex. VP Geral Arpey learns that communication lost with AA77, the second AA plane in trouble. He orders all AA planes on the ground in the Northeast to remain on ground.

09:00 am – FAA Indy notifies other agencies AA77 missing, believed crashed.

09:00 am – Pentagon moves its alert status up one notch to Alpha, United warns all aircraft of potential cockpit intrusion, Flight 93 acknowledges.

09:01 am – NYC calls FAA HQ Command Center (Herndon) “We have several situations going on here. It’s escalating big, big time. We need to get the military involved with us….we’re, we’re involved with something else, we have other aircraft that may have a similar situation going on here.”

09:02 am – NYC Center: “Alright, heads up man, it looks like another one coming in.”

09:03:02 am – US175 impacts WTC2 (South Tower)

09:03 am – Bush enters Florida school.

09:03 am – Gen. M. Winfield, (absent from his station at NMCC) later said, “When the second aircraft flew into the second tower, it was at that point we realized that the seemingly unrelated hijackings that the FAA was dealing with were in fact a part of a coordinated terrorist attack on the United States.”

09:03 am – Secret Service agents carry VP Cheney into basement to underground bunker; calls Andrews AFB and requests F-16s CAP, but Andrews off alert, not battle ready and must arm planes with air-to-air missiles.

09:03 am – Boston Center reports they deciphered the transmission, “I’m gonna reconfirm with, with downstairs, but the, as far as the tape…seemed to think the guy said that ‘we have planes.’ Now I don’t know if it was the accent, or if there’s more than one, but I’m gonna reconfirm that for you, and I’ll get back to you real qick, Okay?”

09:03 – NORAD receives calls from fighter units, “What can we do to help?” Marr replies, “I want it all. Get to the phones. Call every major National Guard unit in the land. Prepare to put jets in the air. The nation is under attack!”

09:04 am - Boston Center: “A second one just hit the trade center.” New England Region: “Okay, yea, we gotta get – we gotta alert the military real quick on this.”

09:05 am – FAA New York Center declares ATC Zero, no aircraft permitted to depart from, arrive at or travel through New York Center airspace until further notice.

09:05 am – Boston Center radios all aircraft of New York situation and to secure cockpits

09:05 am – AA77 reemerges on FAA Indy Center radar, east of last known position.

09:07 am – FAA Boston ATC requests FAA Herndon Command Center “get messages to airborne aircraft to increase security for the cockpit.” No evidence Herndon did this.

09:08 am – FAA Indy Center notifies Langley and W.V. State PD of possible crash.

09:08 am – NEADS learns of WTC2 impact and sends F-16s to Manhattan. “This is what I forsee that we probably need to do. We need to talk to FAA. WE need to tell em’ if this stuff is gonna keep on going, we need to take those fighters, put ‘em over Manhattan. That’s the best thing, that’s the best play right now. So coordinate with the FAA. Tell ‘em if there’s more out there, which we don’t know, let’s get ‘em over Manhattan. At least we got some kind of play.”

09:09 am – Langley F-16s placed at battle stations.

09:10 am – AA77 reenters DC airspace.

09:10 am – AA orders all planes on the ground nationwide grounded.

09:12 am – Passenger Renee May calls mother, tells her to alert AA of hijacking.

09:16 am – FAA informs NORAD Flight 93 hijacked.

09:16 am – Passenger Barbara Olson calls her husband Ted Olson, solicitor general of US, reporting the flight AA77 has been hijacked. Call cut off.

09:20 am – FAA Indy learns of other hijacked aircraft.

09:21 am – FAA reports to NEADS “I just heard a report that AA77 is still in the air, and it’s on its way toward – heading towards Washington.”

09:21 am – NY Port Authority closes all bridges and tunnels in NYC.

09:23 am – UA93 notified to beef up cockpit security.

09:24 am – FAA HQ CC Notifies NEADS of hijacking of AA77 – Dulles – LA

09:24 am – Three F-16s scrambled from Langley AFB, Hampton, Va. Fly east to staging area over the ocean.

09:25 am – Combat Air Patrol (CAP) established over Manhattan. Fuel now low, Langley planes considered as back-up.

09:25 am – Barbara Olson, passenger on Flight 77, calls husband, Theodore Olson at Justice Dept. again, mentions hijackers used knives and box cutters. Ted Olson tells wife of other hijackings.

09:25 am – FAA orders grounding of all commercial air traffic.

09:27 am – Chaney and Rice, in WH bunker, are told that an airplane is 50 miles out, bearing in.

09:27 am – UA93 passenger Tom Burnett calls wife, “They already knifed a guy. There’s a bomb on board. Call the FBI.”

09:28 am – UA93 at 35,000 feet, drops 700 feet. “Mayday” broadcast amid sounds of physical struggle in the cockpit. “Hey get out of here – get out of here – get out of here.”

09:29 am – UA93 acknowledges ATC radio transmission. Last pilot contact.

09:29 am – AA77 auto-pilot disengaged at 7,000 feet, 38 miles west of Pentagon.

09:30 am – Radio transmission “Get out of here, get out of here!” Transponder from Flight 93 goes off.

09:30 am – Hijackers of Flight 77 tell the passengers to phone home because “they are all going to die,” by hitting the White House. Barbara Olson calls husband Ted a second time, five minutes after first call.

09:30 am – No radio response from UA93.

09:30 am – Radar tracks Flight 77 30 miles from DC.

09:30 am – FAA’s Emergency Operations Center is up and running.

09:30 am – Secret Service call Chris Stephenson, flight controller at Washington airport tower, re: unidentified plane heading for DC, and he makes visual contact as it flies by Crystal City, Virginia, 30 out of DC.

09:30 am – Three F-16s from the North Dakota ANG 119th fighter wing, stationed at Langley are airborne over the Atlantic Ocean – Maj. Brad Derrig, Capt. Craig Borgstrom and Maj. Dean Eckmann.

09:31 am – Flight 93 cockpit transmission of flight attendent “Don’t, Don’t Please, I don’t want to die,” shortly before she is stabbed.

09:32 am – UA93 radio transmission: (probably Jarrah) “Ladies and gentlemen: Here the captain, please sit down and keep remaining seating. We have a bomb on board. So sit.” UA93’s flight data recorder that was recovered indicates the autopilot was instructed to turn the flight around and head east. Voice data recorder indicates a struggling female flight steward was killed in the cockpit at this time.

09:32 am – New York Stock Exchange closes.

09:32 am – FAA Dulles DC ATC observes target (later determined to be AA77) tracking eastbound at high rate of speed, notify Reagan airport and Secret Service.

09:33 am – C-130H military cargo plane, taking off from Reagan DC to Minnesota, identifies incoming unknown target as an American Airlines Boeing 757.

09:34 am – Tom Burnett calls wife a second time, “They’re in the cockpit,” he said, as he checked the pulse of the knifed, dead man in seat 5B (Mark Rothenberg). She tells him about the WTC. “Oh my God, it’s a suicide mission.”

09:34 – FAA Command Center tells FAA HQ that UA175 may have bomb on board.

09:34 am – NEADS contacts FAA CC DC re: AA11, and FAA reports AA77 missing.

09:34 am – Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport advises Secret Service of unknown aircraft heading in the direction of the White House; AA77 5 miles west-south-west of the Pentagon.

09:35 am – AA77 flys across Captitol Parkway at 400 + mph, crosses the Pentagon at 7,000 feet, makes a high speed descending turn, spirals in almost a complete circle and drops the final 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes.

09:36 am – FAA Boston calls NEADS “Latest report. Aircraft…six miles southeast of White House, deviating away.” NEADS: “Okay, we’re going to turn it, crank it up, run them to the White House.” When NEADS discovers that Langley F-16s staged over the ocean instead of heading north as expected, he ordered them to DC, “I don’t care how many windows you break, Damn it, Okay. Push them back.”

09:36 am – FAA Cleveland Center asks FAA Command Center whether someone had requested military to launch fighters to intercept UA93. Cleveland Center offers to contact nearby military base. “Command Center replies that FAA personnel well above them in the chain of command had to make that decision and were working on the issue.”

09:37 am – Flight 93 passenger Jeremy Glick calls wife, describes hijackers as Middle Eastern, Iranian looking, who put on read headbands and ran into the cockpit. She tells him about the WTC.

09:37 am – Radar image of AA77 disappears from screen, four minutes from White House, six miles from Pentagon.

09:37 am – Defense Secretary Rumsfield is in the Pentagon meeting with Rep. Cox, watching TV, and says, “Believe me, this isn’t over yet. There’s going to be another attack and it could be us.”

09:37:46 am – AA77 impacts Pentagon. (Langley fighters 150 miles away).

09:38:30 am – C-130H pilot : “Looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon, sir.”

09:38 am – Secret Service calls Andrews, “Get in the air now!”

09:39 am – Rumsfield went downstairs, outside and sees a young women sitting on the ground, bleeding who says to him “she could see people holding, drips going into people, IV of some kind, and she said, something to the effect, if people would, if someone could bring that person over, I could hold it.” (huh?). (He helps people into ambulances until 10:30).

09:39 am – FAA’s Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center overhears second announcement about bomb on board and plane.

09:40 ? – F-16s from 177th NJANG are armed and scrambled, ordered vector West, towards Pennsylvania, then north to New York City. Others from the 177th are scrambled and sent to DC, the first non-alert air wing to arrive at both cities.

09:41am – UA93 transponder turned off. Lost on radar. Passengers and flight crew from UA93 make GET airphone and cellular phone calls to

09:41 am – Passenger on Flight 93 Marion Birtton calls a friend and reports that two people have been killed and the plane turned around.

09:42 am – Passenger Mark Bingham calls home.

09:42 am - FAA Command Center learns of Pentagon plane crash, FAA’s National Operations Manager Ben Sliney, orders nationwide shutdown of all commercial air traffic

09:43 am – Bush’s motorcade arrives at Sarasota airport AF1. He learns plane has hit Pentagon.

09:44 am - Three F-16s from Langley are five minutes out from DC, flying at 650 (top speed: 1500 mph), armed with Sidewinder heat seeking missles. The pilot “Honey” hears a garbled message about Flight 93, and “White House and important asset to protect.” Neither Honey nor another pilot, Lew, are never given shoot down orders.

09:45 am - Tom Burnett calls his wife a third time, she tells him about Pentagon. He doubts hijackers really have bomb, and “a group of us are making a plan.”

09:45 am - Passenger Tod Beamer speaks with phone operator Lisa Jefferson from the back of the plane and talks for about 15 minutes, with FBI listening in.

09:45 am – FAA National Operations Mgr. Ben Sliney orders nationwide commercial air traffic shutdown.

09:45 am – White House evacuated.

09:46 am –FAA Command Center updates FAA HQ that UA93 was “twenty-nine minutes out of Washington D.C.”

09:47 am – Flight 93 passenger Jeremy Glick is still on the phone with wife, and says that the passengers are taking a vote on whether to try to take back the plane, and all the men say yea.

09:48 am – Capitol building begins evacuation. House Speaker, third in line after Chaney, is still there.

09:49 am – Three F-16s from Langley arrive in DC airspace and set up a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) over the Capitol.

09:49 am – FAA Command Center suggests that someone at HQ should decide whether to request military assistance. FAA HQ : “…scrambling aircraft?…FAA CC: “Uh, God. I don’t know…Uh, that’s a decision somebody’s gonna have to make probably in the next ten minutes.” FAA HQ: “Uh, ya know, everybody just left the room.”

09:50 am – Three F-16s from Andrews (Maj. Billy Hutchison, Lt. Col. Marc H. “Sass” Sasseville, aka “Lucky” arrive to support CAP, but only one is armed.

09:50 am – Flight 93 passenger Sandra Bradshaw calls her husband. They are filling pitchers with hot water to use against the hijackers.

09:53 am – FAA HQ informs FAA CC that DD for ATS was talking to Dept. Adm. Monte Belger about scrambling aircraft. UA93 lost over Pittsburgh.

09:53 am – The National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts a phone call from a bin Laden operative in Afghanistan to the Republic of Georgia “heard good news,” and another target is to come.

09:54 am – FAA HQ informed that visual sighting of UA93 placed it 20 miles NW of Johnstown.

09:54 am – Tom Burnett calls wife fourth time. “I know we’re all going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it. It’s up to us. I think we can do it. Don’t worry, we’re going to do something.” They were waiting until they were over a rural area.

09:56 am – Air Force One airborne – AF Col. Mark Tillman pilot. Bush talks to VP Cheney by phone. Cheney recommends that Bush authorize the military to shoot down any planes under the control of hijackers. “You bet.”

09:56 am – F-16 pilots are told over the radio by Secret Service “I want you to protect the White House at all costs.”

09:57 am - ? A military aid to VP Cheney asks, “There is a plane 80 miles out. There is a fighter in the area. Should we engage? Cheney, “Yes.”

09:57 am – Todd Beamer ends his phone conversation “You ready? Okay, Let’s roll.”

09:57 am – Passenger assault begins. Fighting reported outside the cockpit of Flight 93.

09:58 am – CeeCee Lyles on phone to husband tells him they are forcing their way into the cockpit. Sandy Bradshaw tells her husband, “Everyone’s running to first class, I’ve got to go, Bye.” Male passenger calls 911 from bathroom on the plane.

09:58 am – Two jet fighters from Selfridge Michigan ANG ordered after Flight 93, without any weapons.

09:59 am – The South Tower of the WTC collapses.

10:01 am – Visual contact with UA93 seen “waving wings,” radical gyrations.

10:01 am – FAA requests F-16s from Toledo, Ohio scrambled, though off alert.

10:02 am – Hijacker says “Pull it down! Pull it down!…Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest.”

10:03:11 am – UF93 impacts the ground in Western Pennsylvania.

10:04 am – C-130H that witnessed Pentagon crash, reports black smoke from UA93 crash site.

10:05 am – Flight 93 begins breaking up before crashing.

10:06 am – NORAD diverts an unarmed Michigan ANG fighter to Pennsylvania.

10:07 am – Military liaison to FAA Cleveland Center notifies NEADS UA93 hijacked, unaware it had crashed.

10:08 am – Bush informed of crash of Flight 93. “Did we shoot it down or did it crash?”

10:08 am – White House surrounded by armed guards.

10:10 am – All military forces ordered to Defcon Three – Delta (highest alert in 30 years)

10:15 am – FAA Command Center advises FAA HQ that UA93 crashed.

10:16 am – Toledo fighters take off – 16 minutes after being called.

12:16 pm – Benjamin Sliney (FAA) announces that the air is clear of all commercial air traffic, and no additional hijacked planes aloft.