9/11 is one the most prolific tragedies in American history. With after-effects still taking their toll today, it’s known as an event that forever changed the nation. What is less known, however, are all the personal experiences of those directly affected: some people just don’t want to talk about it and have been that way since it happened. Many years later, one woman is telling her story and shedding new light on the state of America’s military during the attacks.
Heather Penney is part of the first generation of female combat pilots in the country and she’s got the wings to prove it. Washington Post’s article on her tells the story of a woman who was given orders to fly her F-16 fighter jet directly into one the hijacked airplanes on September 11th.
The article says the counterattack sounds like it was hasty and last-resort because for the most part it was just that: a hasty last resort. America’s military in 2001 was a lot less prepared for immediate combat response than today’s. The times then just didn’t see the need for that type of cocked-and-ready attitude.
Readers of this amazing story get a first-hand look at the experience of Heather Penney and one other pilot who were ready to take a last stand and give their lives to stop the attacks. The kamikaze counterattack would not happen as the passengers of the hijacked flight had already sacrificed themselves done what the pilots were assigned, and willing, to do.
This article puts you in the mindset of the fighter pilot on that day. One who was just as confident and courageous as she was scared out of her mind. She wasn’t afraid of what was going to happen if the mission was a success but rather what would happen if she were to fail. Even trying to understand what she felt that day is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine, man and women alike.