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Posted by Dave on Wed Sep 11 15:16:05 2019, in response to Remember, posted by BILLBKLYN on Wed Sep 11 07:53:15 2019.“They made the decision we didn’t have to make.”
Those are the words of Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville, as recalled 18 years later in a new account of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks from the perspective of decision-makers in Washington, survivors, military service members and the families of those aboard United Flight 93, which was hijacked before passengers fought back and brought the plane down.
Sasseville – an F-16 Air Force pilot who, along with Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, was tasked with stopping Flight 93 by any means necessary from being weaponized like the jets at the World Trade Center and Pentagon that morning – lauded the brave passengers for doing exactly that, sacrificing themselves to foil the terrorists.
The new book, "The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11" by Garrett M. Graff, details the harrowing moments before it all ended.
Top Bush administration officials scrambled to respond. From a bunker, then-Vice President Dick Cheney planned for the possibility of bringing down Flight 93. As for Sasseville and Penney, they were looking at a suicide mission.
Because they had no missiles, any operation to take out Flight 93 would put their lives on the line too.
“We would be ramming the aircraft. We didn’t have [missiles] on board to shoot the airplane down,” Penney said. “As we were putting on our flight gear in the life support shop, Sass looked at me and said, ‘I’ll ram the cockpit.’ I made the decision I would take the tail off the aircraft.”
This would be a last resort if they could not otherwise divert the aircraft. At the time, Sasseville said, he “was going into this moral or ethical justification of the needs of the many versus the needs of the few.”
It was a suicide mission, but they were ready to do it if needed.
“I genuinely believed that was going to be the last time I took off,” Penney said. “If we did it right, this would be it.”
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