Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • September 11--Pentagon
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  • September 11--Terrorist Attacks
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Davidson, Mark CAPT

9/11 Pentagon Attack Oral History

“To be locked down like that and not be able to see the full visual effects and having to rely on media reports, it was frustrating. It was frustrating, because a lot of the Flag and General Officers...who were trapped up there in the conference room...we felt absolutely, totally helpless.”

Date of Interview: 28 February 2002

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

At the time of the attack, CAPT Davidson was serving in the U.S. Navy Reserves doing work related to personnel management in the Guard and Reserve organizations.  On the morning of the attack, he was an annual meeting of the Reserve Forces Policy Board at the Army and Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia.

Oral History Summary:

CAPT Davidson spent the day of the attack locked down with other flag and general officers at the Army and Navy Country Club.  While locked down, they tried to obtain as much information they could, but for the most part, they were limited to media reports, which often ended up being false.  He did have access to one accurate source of information though.  One of the reserve flag officers locked down with him was an American Airlines pilot.  From the airline issued communications device he carried with him, they learned that the pilot of the plane that had hit the Pentagon was Charles Burlingame, a retired Navy Captain who had once served in the Pentagon on the Assistant SecDef Reserve Affairs staff.  They also learned that two of the passengers on the flight had been retired Rear Admiral Bud Flagg and his wife.  Although he was retired, Flagg had still maintained a strong connection to the Navy Reserve.  After the day of the attack, CAPT Davidson was mobilized to assist VADM Totushek and the reserve force mobilization efforts.  

In his oral history, CAPT Davidson discussed his experiences on the day of the attack.  He also talked at length about the work they were doing related to reserve force mobilization in the wake of the attacks and the beginning of armed conflict in Afghanistan.  He also talked about a visit he made to Ground Zero in New York City the month after the attacks.

Oral History Abstract and Transcript: Davidson, Mark CAPT Pentagon Attack Oral History (PDF, 484kb)

Related Oral Histories:

Totushek, John VADM

Published: Mon Jun 14 12:45:25 EDT 2021