September 11

LD17

MIA
7. A New World Part 2

So as the dust cloud goes by we get all the civilians out of the deli and north. We resume looking for the guys we came out with. We walk back over to the Tip of City Hall, hoping that everyone regrouped there. As we get there a Captain comes up to us and asks where we were coming from...before we can say anything sarcastic, he catches himself (realizing all the dust we were covered in) and says "I know you guys where over there but we need someone to secure City Hall", we looked at him for a second and just walked away...
We find our way to Beekman Hospital near the Brooklyn Bridge, we go inside and ask if they have an ophthamology department, they do and they bring us up (Mike and I both wear contacts and wanted our eyes cleaned out). Seemingly every single doctor, nurse, and receptionist in there rushes to us and before we know it they clean out our eyes and patting down our clothes to get the dust off, they were great. They give us some real masks and we leave the hospital, as we leave we see that they have already set up decontamination stations at the emergency room entrance, we see guys and girls being hosed down...good thing we came in on the other side of the Hospital !!

Our search now continues for our guys, we are now walking empty side streets around the WTC. As we are walking I hear on the radio something I would never hear again in my career.... I have switched to the City Wide frequency at this point and a Cop from the Upper East Side of Manhattan puts over that he has a suspect on a City bus and the suspect is saying he has a bomb, the ensuing calls from Cops all over the City to shoot him finally ends when I hear "Manhattan North Duty Captain to Citywide Central K" (we ended our transmissions with "K"), City Wide Central : "Go ahead Duty Captain", "Manhattan North Duty Captain, on my authority have that officer shoot that suspect"....there was silence..... (I later learned that two Cops tackled the guy, IMHO a pretty brave move with everything going on!)
 
7. A New World Part 2

So as the dust cloud goes by we get all the civilians out of the deli and north. We resume looking for the guys we came out with. We walk back over to the Tip of City Hall, hoping that everyone regrouped there. As we get there a Captain comes up to us and asks where we were coming from...before we can say anything sarcastic, he catches himself (realizing all the dust we were covered in) and says "I know you guys where over there but we need someone to secure City Hall", we looked at him for a second and just walked away...
We find our way to Beekman Hospital near the Brooklyn Bridge, we go inside and ask if they have an ophthamology department, they do and they bring us up (Mike and I both wear contacts and wanted our eyes cleaned out). Seemingly every single doctor, nurse, and receptionist in there rushes to us and before we know it they clean out our eyes and patting down our clothes to get the dust off, they were great. They give us some real masks and we leave the hospital, as we leave we see that they have already set up decontamination stations at the emergency room entrance, we see guys and girls being hosed down...good thing we came in on the other side of the Hospital !!

Our search now continues for our guys, we are now walking empty side streets around the WTC. As we are walking I hear on the radio something I would never hear again in my career.... I have switched to the City Wide frequency at this point and a Cop from the Upper East Side of Manhattan puts over that he has a suspect on a City bus and the suspect is saying he has a bomb, the ensuing calls from Cops all over the City to shoot him finally ends when I hear "Manhattan North Duty Captain to Citywide Central K" (we ended our transmissions with "K"), City Wide Central : "Go ahead Duty Captain", "Manhattan North Duty Captain, on my authority have that officer shoot that suspect"....there was silence..... (I later learned that two Cops tackled the guy, IMHO a pretty brave move with everything going on!)
Your posting this is appreciated. It is most interesting and sobering to read a first hand account, separate from the well-rehearsed narrative. Thank you.
 

LD17

MIA
8. Missing and Found Part 1

Now as we resumed our search for our guys, little did we know that Mike and I were officially listed as Missing by our Precinct, though we did not know this at the time we both started looking for payphones or any place that was open so Mike could call his wife and I could call my mom (I was single at the time and my mom still lived in lower Manhattan not far from the WTC). We finally find a bar (Pub) that's actually open and its packed!! It was literally packed with people, all drinking, mere blocks from the WTC, and it wasn't even noon yet! The bartender lets us use the phone Mike calls his wife and I call mom. We both do a shot of Jameson's and leave. about a block away (about two blocks from Church Street where we see the fires burning out the Borders bookstore that was on the WTC Plaza), a NYPD van pulls up, its not ours its another Precincts but I recognize the driver who in turn recognizes me.. "Angelo?!" and I get a "Louie?!" in response. Angelo had well over 15 years on The Job (we would say "OTJ") and though he worked in the neighboring Precinct we had been to many details together (A Detail in the NYPD had two meanings, 1) if you were detailed off Patrol to some special unit 2) if there was a concert or demonstration there were Cops taken off Patrol and detailed to police it, you were usually flown to the Precinct it was occurring in) This was not uncommon as after several years you would see the same faces at Details and would get to know Cops from other Precincts. Angelo tells me and Mike to get in as he is also looking for the the guys he came down with from his Precinct. As we get in the van there are two other Cops, one a rookie from Angelo's Precinct and another Cop who Angelo had picked up, he was covered from head to toe in dust, completely gray, and was in shock. He would not say a word, just looked down even when we used some water to clean his face. As we started to drive and relate what had happened to all of us and trying to figure out where our respective guys were, Angelo turned the corner and we came face to face with a twenty-something male Middle Easterner with a long beard, short hair, black slacks and a white collared dress shirt... carrying a huge black duffel bag.... well after a slight pause when we all just stared at each other, the vans doors flew open and about 30 seconds later the male was literally stripped down to his underwear and the duffel bag ripped apart (more clothes)> we were taking no chances and frankly were in no mood to apologize to anyone. Satisfied that he posed no threat, we got back in the van and left to continue our search.
 

LD17

MIA
9. Missing and Found Part 2

At this point we head to the South Street Seaport on the East Side of Manhattan, the air is clear over there and we hear of the full mobilization of all off-duty NYPD and FDNY members. We also hear that Manhattan is sealed off and we watch as hundreds, well thousands of people, head toward ferries pulling up to the East River South Street Seaport piers to get off the Island, these same boats are bringing hundreds of now On-Duty Cops and Firemen from the outer Boroughs who normally work in Manhattan and are trying to get to their Precincts and Firehouses to suit up. We were sitting parked near a parking garage on Fulton Street, the parking attendants were great to us giving us water, and even pulling food from their own lunches to give us something to eat. They tried to have us use there phone but by this time there was no landline service and our Department Radio service was spotty (our City Wide radio repeater was on the North Tower of the WTC, now gone). I remember the F-15s and F-16s screaming above us, almost on the deck, so low that I swear one went between the bridge towers of the Brooklyn Bridge. I later met one of those pilots, he told me they were doing that to show us that they were there, he was pretty broken up about it... it seems when alot of the Air Force planes were originally scrambled, he related to me that they didn't tell them much so they reverted to what they knew, they trained for a submarine or ship off the coast shooting missiles, so they went out to sea,. By the time they were told what was really going on they headed back, on afterburner, to be over the City. I could tell it bothered him, he felt in some way he failed...

After taking a quick bathroom break, I got back in the van and Angelo told us that his Sergeant had finally been able to raise him on the radio and, coincidentally was a block away under the Brooklyn Bridge on Water Street. A quick drive over there and Angelo was reunited with his guys, but what about us? Apparently Mike and I had become slightly famous as Angelo's Sergeant said " Your guys and your Precinct are looking for you two, they have you as missing". So it seems our guys had been driving around looking for us while we were looking for them, we quickly were able to get in radio contact with Ned and to everyone's great relief we were reunited under the same overpass....
 

LD17

MIA
10. The Longest Day Part 1

So now we were back with Ned (the Sergeant) DC, JW, Fish, Raj & CJ. We took a quick back to the Precinct, cleaned up a little and headed back down. At this point each Precinct looked like a fortress, Cops were everywhere and we had blocked off all the side streets so no cars could access our block. This was doubly important because our Precinct housed the NYPD Bomb Squad (originally the Italian Squad, formed to combat the Black Hand mobsters who would extort businesses by planting small IEDs, at the turn of the last Century the neighborhood had been heavily Italian).

All done and refreshed we head back down, for awhile we just drive around moving cars out of the roadway...
there were a ton of cars abandoned near the WTC and its approaches, by this time out of state Fire, Police, and Military were flooding in. So we needed to get these vehicles off the roadway, we did this with a combination of using the van to push cars onto the sidewalk or breaking windows, popping the hood, grabbing the shift cable where appropriate and shifting the cars into neutral so we could push them out of the way. We weren't much interested in niceties at this point we just wanted them off the road, so cars were, like I said pushed onto sidewalks, into each other, or into grassy areas. We also were told that everyone needed to be off the street, Manhattan below 14th Street was in lockdown and no one except emergency workers were to be out. This was driven home when we were told via radio to report to the South Street Seaport, this was about 1600-1630 by now.....

Getting there we found at least a hundred out of Borough (Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island) Cops forming up. We got out of our van too and milled about into a Captain called us to come closer to him. Once he gathered us together as close we could get to him, he began with updating us on the attack on the Pentagon, the crash in Pennsylvania, etc. He told us that Police HQ expected large numbers of Precinct personnel who responded to be dead or injured, possibly our whole Emergency Services Unit. He reiterated that Manhattan was closed and below 14th Street Manhattan was basically under an undeclared state of martial law. He then told us our job tonight was to drive around, make sure no one was on the street, emergency services had access, and there was no looting. When he came to the looting he paused, and then said, "There will be NO arrests, we will be engaged in 19th Century Policing, everyone here should know what I mean by that!" He then asked if everyone had their nightsticks, which seemed to be the majority, the others were quietly encouraged to find something similar for the night.

Now you may say "who the hell would loot or commit crime during a tragedy of this magnitude?", well in a City of 8 million plus...well, there were plenty.... There were several NYC Housing Projects (think Council Estate) in the area, we had already seen several intrepid souls on bicycles snooping around stores and looking into all the abandoned cars. Well they didn't stay intrepid for long, it seems the East River became a depository for bicycles and a there was a gentle reminder to some that their personal disappearance could be chalked up to the tragedy that day if they pushed their luck. Fortunately these tactics managed to discourage the 99.9%, but the .1%, or should I say one who also thought it was intelligent to fly a Palestinian Flag from his bicycle, was strongly discouraged....I heard the bicycle and flag found its way to be an artificial reef in NY Harbor and I also heard the gentlemen might have been held upside down by his ankles over a pier, being told that he could join his former belongings if he so wished and it was his last chance that day to make better life choices........
 

LD17

MIA
11. The Longest Day Part 2 and the End of the Beginning

We were finally relieved around 0700 on September 12, exhausted we headed back to the Precinct, changed and headed home. I don't remember getting home or going to sleep but I guess I did. I had to be back at work for 1500. When I returned to the Precinct it was a hive of activity, some guys never went home and retired Cops were showing up to help out. At roll call they told us we would be doing 12 hour tours with no days off for the forceable future. We were told that another attack was expected (this prompted individual Cops to start bringing to work their own shotguns and rifles, the "Assault Weapons Ban" was still in affect, but guys could still get their hands on Mini-14s, which guys/gals purchased in quantity, as they only came with 5 round magazines, we had to find a place in the MidWest which had 20 round ones and had them ship it to the Precinct). That next day they kept all of us back who had been at the Towers the previous day. My adventures for this day were chronicled here...

The days blended together because even though we were officially doing 12 hour tours, it was more like 18-20 hours by the time you were relieved. I can't, in writing, describe the level of exhaustion we all felt and even though Police from all over the Country arrived to help it was still exhausting. Besides the normal Patrols anytime we heard, and the word spread fast, that someone might be found, alive or dead even if we were assigned in the Precinct, guys would head down to assist in digging.

Because we lost a member of our Precinct we had guys/gals permanently stationed down at "Ground Zero" as they called it now. Getting back by September 13 I was back down there, officially we were tasked with some fixed perimeter Posts, however everyone just went to dig, we were sure that people survived and we were determined to find them.... that night we were digging on Washington Street and found a huge piece of the outer skin of one of the planes, obviously it was made of aluminum so we kept bending it back and force to try to get it out of the mass that it was stuck in, well I lost my grip and it whipped back at me, catching my left forearm and giving me an approximately two inch wide but deep cut, now I though it was nothing but I hadn't realized that as we were digging the were literally dozens of doctors, nurses, paramedics, etc all waiting to triage anyone we found. Seeing the blood on my arm and I guess because of their lack of work, began treating me as if I had been shot. I didn't understand at first why they were putting me on a backboard or starting to ask my blood type but I realized, just as we were determined to find anyone alive, they were just as determined to prevent any more people from dying....

I was finally able to convince them that it was a "mere flesh wound" (unfortunately not in a Monty Python voice). So I was bandaged up and went back to digging. (no stitches, probably needed them, but I have a little scar to remind me). We did this or versions of this for two weeks, until all hope of finding anyone alive was gone. Since I was on the small side I would usually be asked to check tight spaces in the pile, meanwhile Cops in general, because we always dealt with death in our careers and knew what it smelled like (I personally have dealt with probably a hundred or more dead bodies in my career in various states of decay... natural causes, suicides, accidents, and crimes), would be pulled to act as ad hoc sniffer dogs...we could smell death. To illustrate, a few months later a dump truck carrying debris from the pile passed us, a Cop said "wait stop that truck" we did, he said he smelt death and there was definitely someone or part of someone in there. We had the driver dump his load on West Street and 20 Cops proceeded to sift threw the load on our hands and knees...we finally found it...it was a hand and what I mean is that there were no bones, just muscle and skin, almost like it was a glove someone took off. We placed it to the side and grabbed one of the priests who happened to be nearby. So on a winter night on West Street, 20 NYPD Cops and a Priest joined hands as he performed The Last Rites/Funeral Rites for the person who we never knew that we had found.....
 
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I come on the site for shit and giggles but occasionally get to read a gem of a post. I was rolling up to Pine Island beach in Florida at about ten past 9 and the gate to the car park was down. I got out and the fella skipped from his booth. Whats the crack mate? get the gates open! He went on to tell me about the attack and we parked up and went and watched on his portable as the second plane went in. That afternoon back at the villa the news were reporting that maybe 100000 had died. Fighters from Edwards air force base were the only planes in the sky at the time and we were crapping it as they were saying disney was a target. Tried to give blood at local walmart but they turned us down. Then tropical storm Gabrielle dumped 13 inches of rain on us in just over an hour and all the power went. Flying home was strange to say the least. The footage we were watching on the telly was like it came from a disaster movie and at the time I was totally convinced that the towers were taken down by controlled demolition.
 

Dwarf

LE
@LD17 Thank you. An interesting and moving account.
 
What a story and so well told. Felt like I was stood next to you.
 

LD17

MIA
Thank you all, I have one last chapter. Which I’ll type tonight.

This is the first time I have put this all down on paper, so to say, and I chose ARRSE because, though this is a British Army site, I feel I would find people who understood and appreciated the experiences I had.
 
Thank you all, I have one last chapter. Which I’ll type tonight.

This is the first time I have put this all down on paper, so to say, and I chose ARRSE because, though this is a British Army site, I feel I would find people who understood and appreciated the experiences I had.
Thanks again for sharing it mate. Can’t have been easy going over some of that content.
 

Aquavite

Old-Salt
That's a moving read and interesting to hear a cop's perspective and experiences of that day instead of only firemen memoirs. That's not a slur on the firemen in any way shape or form, but there seems to be a distinct lack of the police coverage of the event.
 

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