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Dwyer, Terrence CDR

9/11 Pentagon Attack Oral History

“The people of New York and Police and Firemen of New York are probably a slightly different breed from maybe the rest of us. They were very...concerned about their colleagues and co-workers and they weren’t going to...let down their guard to worry about themselves.”

Date of Interview: 5 December 2001

Interviewers: CAPT Wayne Cliburn & CDR Karen Loftus, USNR, Navy Combat Documentation Detachment 206

At the time of the attack, CDR Dwyer was serving as a rheumatologist at Bethesda Naval Medical Center and as Head of Medical Services for the hospital ship USNS COMFORT.  On the morning of the attack, he was seeing patients at Bethesda.

Oral History Summary:

After the attacks on the morning of 11 September, getting the hospital ship USNS COMFORT mission ready became CDR Dwyer’s responsibility, because the medical center CO was out of town.  CDR Dwyer made the decision to activate the Critical Core Group which could provide a 250 bed capability. While in transit to New York, they learned that there would not be a large number of survivors rescued from the rubble, so the COMFORT’s mission shifted to providing hotel services and care to first responders and relief workers.  They pared the crew down to provide only essential medical services and mental health providers. The COMFORT moored Friday 14 September in Manhattan at Pier 92, near the field offices of FEMA and Office of Emergency Management. While pier side, the COMFORT provided sick call services, massage therapy, mental health services, meals, and hotel services to first responders and those working at Ground Zero. The COMFORT was on station providing these services for about three weeks.  When they sailed out of New York City, a fireboat sprayed USNS COMFORT with red, white, and blue water.   

Oral History Abstract and Transcript: Dwyer, Terrence CDR Pentagon Attack Oral History (PDF, 497kb)

Published: Thu Jun 10 18:25:19 EDT 2021