MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - September 11, 2001, the United States was baffled as four planes were hijacked by terrorists who caused this nation to be flipped upside down for days. Two of the planes were flown into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and one crashed in a field, which devastated the country and left many Americans with a loss for words.
In acts of honor and heroics hundreds of firefighters were called in and entered the burning towers to rescue as many people they could, with some never to return.
“For hours after those towers collapsed all you could hear was the sound of the motion detectors we wear, going off signaling that there was no motion from the firefighter who wore it,” said Gunnery Sgt. David A. Stone, training staff non-commissioned officer for Station Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting. “We have been telling our Marines this all day as we prepared for this training exercise.”
More than 15 ARFF Marines conducted night fuel fire training at the Cherry Point fuel pit Sept. 10 just a day before the anniversary of the firefighters who courageously sacrificed themselves while reacting to the attacks on the World Trade Center.
“We do this training at night because the air station doesn’t shut down during the night,” said Stone. “They fly planes here all day every day, and it is our job to be there if the worst happens.”
The Marines with ARFF were briefed, and then set into groups to fight the three fires that their command had scheduled.
“We have more than 500 gallons of fuel for the Marines to burn tonight, and I want them to work on their basics,” said Stone.
After all the fires were out and the Marines had full accountability of gear, they circled around Stone as he gave them some things to think about as they left for the weekend.
“In less than 24 hours it will have been nine years since the biggest loss of firefighters ever in our history,” said Stone. “As you all go about your weekend, remember the more than 300 of our fellow firefighters that gave their lives to save the people of 9/11.”