Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • People--Women
  • Places--Pentagon
  • Logistics
  • September 11--Pentagon
  • Operations
  • Planning and Strategy
  • Terrorist Attack
  • Evacuation
  • September 11--Terrorist Attacks
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  • Oral History
Wars & Conflicts
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Livingstone, Susan USECNAV

9/11 Pentagon Attack Oral History

"People are following me like a mother hen as if I really knew where I was going, but I didn’t.”

Date of Interview: 18 February 2002

Interviewers: Dr. Randy Papadopoulos, Naval Historical Center; CAPT Gary Hall & CAPT Michael McDaniel, USNR, Navy Combat Documentation Detachment 206

At the time of the attack, Livingstone was serving as the Under Secretary of the Navy.  On the morning of the attack, she was at work at the Pentagon.


Livingstone, Susan USECNAV
Title: Livingstone, Susan USECNAV

Oral History Summary:

USECNAV Livingstone was in a conference room on the fifth deck of the E Ring between Corridors 4 and 5 giving a presentation to a group of thirty individuals (the "Crane Group") when the plane hit the Pentagon.  She knew immediately what was happening.  Along with her Executive Assistant CAPT Dennis Kern, USECNAV Livingstone helped lead the Crane Group to safety.  They were joined along the way by other personnel from offices that were also in the same area. 

After escaping from the area that would eventually collapse, USECNAV Livingstone got back to work.  In her oral history, beyond detailing the experiences she had evacuating the Pentagon, she also discussed the work she and the rest of the Navy's senior leaders did to keep the Navy operational and get it ready for war.  She provided lessons learned from the day as well as the weeks following. 

A year after giving her oral history, Livingstone became the first woman to hold the position of Secretary of the Navy when she was named Acting Secretary of the Navy on 30 January 2003.

Oral History Abstract and Transcript: Livingstone, Susan USECNAV Pentagon Attack Oral History (PDF, 569kb)

Related Oral Histories:

Alleger, Sheryl CTAC

Crane Group

Kern, Dennis CAPT

Wirick, Gail

Published: Sun Jun 13 03:01:21 EDT 2021