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Crane Group 

9/11 Pentagon Attack Oral History

The "Crane Group" was actually a class - thirty employees of Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane (Indiana) Division were in Washington D.C. for a weeklong capstone class that was part of their Public Management Certificate (PMC) course.  They were the thirteenth PMC class (PMC XIII) at NSWC Crane.  The morning of the attack on the Pentagon, the Crane Group was beginning their second day of their capstone class.  At 9:10am, they met with Under Secretary of the Navy (USECNAV) Susan Livingstone in a conference room on the fifth deck of the E Ring between Corridors 4 and 5 in the Pentagon.  USECNAV Livingstone had just finished giving her presentation and was taking questions when the plane struck the building directly beneath them.

DET 206 Reservists split the members of the Crane Group into two separate smaller groups in order to conduct oral histories. Reservists also collected photos, articles, and other materials that document the experiences of the Crane Group on the morning of the attack.  

Crane Group Oral History #1

Crane Group Oral History #2

Crane Group Pentagon Attack Narrative Accounts

Crane Group Oral History Participants Photos

Crane Group PMC XIII Class Photo, 25 January 2000
Title: Crane Group PMC XIII Class Photo, 25 January 2000
Description: Front Row: Moubray; McAtee; Richardson; Clark; Frady; Peckinpaugh. Second Row: Wilson; Suniga; Taylor; McGannon; Gillenwater. Third Row: Marshall; Mitchell; Hays; Allen, J; Embry; Hardman. Fourth Row: Speer; Allen, T; Shaw; Jarvis; Vaupel. Fifth Row: Scheid; Cox; Moody; Moore; Smith; Kumar
Catalog #: From Navy Archives Collection AR/670

Crane Group Oral History #1

“Then we saw...instantly the smoke came down and I remember the Under Secretary, I thought rather calmly, saying – she called it right away that it was a terrorist attack, that we were under a terrorist attack. That we need to get out of here…”

Date of Interview: 25 February 2002
Interviewers: CAPT Gary Hall, CAPT Michael McDaniel, & YNCS Kathleen Wright, USNR, Navy Combat Documentation Detachment 206

Oral History #1 Participants:
Clark, Roger L.
Frady, Trent
Jarvis, Jr., Carl R.
Marshall, Jr., Richard Dean
Mitchell, Frank E.
Moody, Eric S.
Moubray, JoAnn

Oral History #1 Summary:

The morning of the attack, the bus transporting the group to the Pentagon had picked them up late.  This meant the start time for the presentation by USECNAV Livingstone was pushed back.  She was signaling for them to wrap up, but had paused to take one question when the plane hit the Pentagon.  The initial impact felt similar to an earthquake or a bomb, but it was not as loud. Immediately, USECNAV Livingstone knew that they'd just been the target of a terrorist attack.  Despite the massive amounts of thick black smoke that was quickly filling the room and the corridor beyond, she, along with CAPT Dennis Kern, calmly began leading the evacuation.  At some point after exiting the conference room and heading in the direction of Corridor 4, the group was joined by more than a dozen individuals who had just evacuated from another Navy office on the same hallway.  USECNAV Livingstone and CAPT Kern were now leading a group of nearly fifty people to safety.  Without USECNAV Livingstone, CAPT Kern, and the voices guiding the group through the thick, blinding, choking smoke to safety, the Crane Group felt certain they would have surely gotten lost in the unfamiliar building and succumbed to smoke inhalation.

The group described in detail the smoke filled evacuate route they were lead through and obstacles they overcame. All 30 members of the group made it to safety together. The group returned to the hotel, some by foot and other by taxi. They returned to Indiana the next day via bus.

Oral History Abstract and Transcript: Crane Group Pentagon Attack Oral History #1 (PDF, 525kb)

Crane Group Oral History #2

“…but initially I just think it was the one voice that I remember. And it was clear, I mean, I think everyone kind of remembers the same thing. 'Come to my voice. Come to my voice. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”'

Date of Interview: 25 February 2002
Interviewers: CAPT Gary Hall, CAPT Michael McDaniel, & YNCS Kathleen Wright, USNR, Navy Combat Documentation Detachment 206

Oral History #2 Participants:
Allen, James
Allen, Troy
Buher, James
Gillenwater, Mark
McAtee, Steve
Peckinpaugh, Donald
Reece, David
Richardson, Doris
Scheid, Eric (James)
Taylor, Craig
Vaupel, John

Oral History #2 Summary:

The NSWC Crane PMC course was five one-week classes completed over a one year period.  The final class in the course was the weeklong capstone in Washington, D.C., where students were exposed to all aspects of government.  After an orientation day on Monday, Tuesday was their first real day of learning.  Because they were running behind that morning, the presentation by USECNAV Livingstone ran late.  As she was wrapping up an answer to the final question from the group, the plane hit the Pentagon directly below their feet.  USECNAV Livingstone knew immediately that the Pentagon had been the target of a terrorist attack.  She asked everyone to remain calm and evacuate.  As they followed USECNAV Livingstone and CAPT Dennis Kern down the hallway o Corridor 4, they ran into several others who were evacuating the offices around them.  Their way was hampered by the thick smoke which made it nearly impossible to see or breathe.  But they all heard a voice beckoning them to safety.  Although the fire suppression walls almost sealed them into the E Ring corridor, they all made it out safely.  Later that day, USECNAV Livingstone called to make sure that everyone in the group was accounted for and safe.

The group described their experiences leading up to the moment of impact and in the minutes that followed.  They talked about the smoke and the voice that called them to safety.  They also discussed their efforts to get transportation back to Indiana the day after the attack.

Oral History Abstract and Transcript: Crane Group Pentagon Attack Oral History #2 (PDF, 521kb)

Crane Group Pentagon Attack Narrative Accounts (AR/668):

Embree, Duane (PDF, 430kb)

Frady, Trent (PDF, 315kb)

Moody, Eric (PDF, 570kb)

Moubray, Jo Ann (PDF, 125kb)

Richardson, Doris (PDF, 319kb)

Smith, Gregory (PDF, 125kb)

Vaupel, John (PDF, 16kb)

Wilson, Dusty (PDF, 541kb)

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Crane Group Oral History Participants

Allen, James
Title: Allen, Jim (James)
Description: Program Manager, Expeditionary Warfare, NSWC Crane

Allen, Troy
Title: Allen, Troy
Description: Program Manager, Expeditionary Warfare, NSWC Crane

Buher, James
Title: Buher, James
Description: Director of Admin Services, Indiana University School of Public Environmental Affairs

Clark, Roger
Title: Clark, Roger
Description: Budget Officer, NSWC Crane

Frady, Trent
Title: Frady, Trent
Description: Surface Electronic Warfare Group, NSWC Crane

Gillenwater, Mark
Title: Gillenwater, Mark
Description: Integrated Product Team (IPT) Lead, NAVAIR EA6B Aircraft Programs

Jarvis, Jr., Carl
Title: Jarvis, Jr., Carl
Description: Small Arms and Weapons Department, NSWC Crane

Marshall, Jr., Richard Dean
Title: Marshall, Jr., Richard Dean
Description: Microelectronics/Engineering Department, NSWC Crane

McAtee, Steve
Title: McAtee, Steve
Description: Section Manager, Airborne Electronic Warfare, NSWC Crane

Mitchell, Frank
Title: Mitchell, Frank
Description: Crane Army Ammunition Activity

Moody, Eric
Title: Moody, Eric
Description: Manager, Q-7 Computer Systems, NSWC Crane

Moubray, Joann
Title: Moubray, Joann
Description: Supply Systems Analyst, Supply Directorate, NSWC Crane

Peckinpaugh, Donald
Title: Peckinpaugh, Donald
Description: Environmental Test Supervisor, NSWC Crane

Reece, David
Title: Reece, David
Description: PMC Course Lead Instructor, Indiana University

Richardson, Doris
Title: Richardson, Doris
Description: Financial Analyst, Public Works Center, NSWC Crane

Scheid, Eric (James)
Title: Scheid, Eric (James)
Description: Combat Systems Analyst & Special Weapons Designer, NSWC Crane

Taylor, Craig
Title: Taylor, Craig
Description: Engineer, Open Air System Branch, NSWC Crane

Vaupel, John
Title: Vaupel, John
Description: Information Technology, Ordnance Engineering Directorate, NSWC Crane

Published: Thu Jun 24 10:35:13 EDT 2021