Orderly Response Shown at Pentagon
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) _ In a calm, clear voice, Arlington Police officer Barry Faust radioed the first word: ``I think we’ve just had an airplane crash, east of here. It must be in the District area.″
Moments later, Officer Richard Cox advised that ``it’s an American Airlines plane, headed east down over the Pike, possibly toward the Pentagon.″
Those transmissions to police dispatcher Kyra Pulliam on Sept. 11 signaled the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, in Arlington just across the Potomac River from the District of Columbia.
The calm voices on an abbreviated police dispatch tape released Monday belie the activity of the moment as police and fire units scrambled toward the Pentagon.
One officer reports seeing the smoke; others begin checking in and heading toward the scene; Pulliam directs everyone responding to switch to police communications channel one.
``There is visible smoke coming from that area, high visible smoke,″ reports another officer.
As Pulliam continues to dispatch police units toward the scene, an officer, siren wailing in the background, radios a disturbing assessment of what’s unfolding:
``I’m responding,″ the officer says. ``I’m on (Highway) 110. It’s a lot; it’s bad.″
At that point, the tape segment provided by Arlington Police Chief Ed Flynn ends.
Flynn said the tape demonstrates an ``extraordinary degree of professionalism and calmness″ at a time when most people would be expecting to hear hysteria and confusion.
Pulliam, who has been with the police department for three years, credited her colleagues in the police communications office that morning with helping to maintain calm during the attack.
``There was no confusion,″ she said. ``There was no chaos.″