Retired US Army major general reflects on his experience at the Pentagon during 9/11


ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – Retired U.S. Army Major General Scott West remembers 9/11 like it was yesterday. He was at the Pentagon just 100 yards from where Flight 77 hit the building.

“We were very lucky in the G4 army. We had about 100 people, probably about 150, including our contractors,” Scott said. “We all got out of the building, no one was hurt.”

In the following days, West heard of friends who had died in the attack on the Pentagon.

“Lieutenant Colonel Neil Hyland. The one I served with in Operation Desert Storm, Major Stephen Long, we call him Ranger Long. And then Lt. Col. Cliff Patterson,” West explained.

West also met Rick Rescorla who retired from the military and was on duty at the World Trade Center, Tower Two. Rescorla went against orders and evacuated people to safety.

“We could have lost another 2,700 cents without him,” Scott added. “He got these people out of the building, was going back to his tower, was seen on the 42nd floor heading towards more people when the building collapsed.”

West shared these stories at the 9/11 commemoration hosted by American Legion Post 104 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9855. Since 2002, they have commemorated the victims while honoring first responders.

“The firefighters and the police were running into the twin towers when people were running,” said the Reverend Brian Moore, Chaplain of Station 104. “You know, people were sacrificing themselves in the different cities because that’s what they are.”

During the event, they donated to the fire department and rescue team. 9/11 pushed many to serve.

West says the army will be short by about 30,000 this year.

“It’s a hole that can’t be fixed. But it’s my responsibility and the responsibility of people like me,” West said. “You know, influencers in our community to inspire young people to step up and serve the nation.”


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