A Survivor Remembers Those Killed At The Pentagon

Pacific Admiral Timothy Keating
Pacific Admiral Timothy Keating

HALAWA, Oahu (KHNL) -- The Commander of U-S Pacific Command here in Hawaii, has profound memories of 9/11.

Admiral Timothy Keating was at the Pentagon six years ago and remembers those who perished in the attack.

As highest ranking military officer in the Pacific, Admiral Timothy Keating has a busy schedule, but not too busy to take time out to reflect on this anniversary.  On the morning of September 11, 2001, Admiral Keating was at the Pentagon.

"We were in our command center and spent better part hour with a large number of Navy personnel that morning," he recalled.

They watched the attacks in New York City, and then Keating admits he narrowly escaped the Pentagon attack.

"I went up to my office briefly, at that moment, shortly after 9:30 eastern time, I felt the Pentagon shudder," he said.  "I tried to get back down to the command center where I should have gone but obviously it was engulfed in flames and smoke and we couldn't get back in there."

A plane crashed into the Navy command center.

"We lost 26 young men and women with whom I had taken a brief that morning," said Keating.  "They didn't get out of the building that day."

Many others never made it out.

"And a total of 184 lost their lives in the airplane and in the Pentagon that morning," said Keating.  "I think about them all the time."

And another personal loss for Admiral Keating was Capt. Charles Burlingame, III, the pilot of the American Airline Flight #77 that crashed into the Pentagon.

"(He was) a close, close friend," said Keating.  "I miss them, I think about those folks all of the time and it's a privilege for me to be wearing the uniform and do what we can to make the world a safer place for them."