Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Boroff, Jeffrey CAPT

9/11 Pentagon Attack Oral History

"It's good to be alive...that's reflected on right away as soon as you climb out of a burning building."

Date of Interview: 2 April 2002

Interviewer: CAPT Michael McDaniel, USNR, Navy Combat Documentation Detachment 206

At the time of the attack, CAPT Boroff was serving as the OPNAV N3 Current Ops Branch Head.  On the morning of the attack, he was in his office in the Navy Command Center at the Pentagon.

Oral History Summary:

On the morning of the attack, CAPT Boroff was in his office in the Navy Command Center. He and others on the OPNAV N3/N5 staff had just wrapped up a meeting across the hall from his office when the attacks on New York City occurred. CAPT Boroff was in his office watching the events unfold live on CNN when the plane struck the Pentagon. Even though his office was in the Navy Command Center, it was not in the direct path of the plane. As a result, he was able to make his way from his office, through the dark, smoke filled passageway to the alley between C and B Rings. It was there that he first encountered several of the other survivors from the Navy Command Center. He also witnessed individuals jumping from the windows on the upper decks. He and the others quickly realized that it would be impossible to reenter to assist in rescue and evacuation efforts, because they did not have any equipment that would help them see or breathe in the smoke-filled building.

Once he made his way out of the Pentagon structure, CAPT Boroff began working with others to compile a roster of his staff and identify those that were missing. Because the plane went through the Navy Command Center, he knew that many of those on his staff and those that he worked with in the Navy Command Center were likely not to have survived. He then began working on contacting family members. CAPT Boroff personally called the families of two-thirds of those missing. Then he and his staff had to get back to work running the day to day operations of the United States Navy. As CAPT Boroff said:

“Parallel with the casualty response that’s going on in the personnel side, you also had [Operations Noble Eagle & Enduring Freedom] kicking off right away and so the N31 had to continue to process and operate. So it did.”

Published: Thu Jun 10 17:28:34 EDT 2021