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What's your 9/11 story? Chief Master Sgt. Dean Miller

Cheif Master Sgt. Dean Miller, 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jordan Jones)

Cheif Master Sgt. Dean Miller, 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jordan Jones)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- One of our fighter squadrons was deployed to MCAS [Marine Corps Air Station] Miramar. On the morning of September 11th, I walked out to the lobby of our billeting to go to work and saw my fellow Guardsmen standing in front of the big screen television watching the first World Trade Center tower smoking.

I asked what had happened and no one knew. Approximately 2 minutes later, the second tower was hit by a jet airliner. Everyone stood there in shock and knew at that time this was a terrorist attack.

Shock changed to anger and all were setting their minds for war. At least it was in mine.

As we approached the flightline gates, I stated to the Marine on duty to call on us if they needed assistance in defending the base. We went to our duty locations and stood by for instructions from our commanders.

We bedded down the jets and closed up our work locations, then returned to billeting to stay put until further notice. We were able to make a quick visit to the shopette, but it wasn't long before the base became a ghost town.

The next day, we launched the jets for home, packed up our equipment, and headed back to Tucson in our rental van. It was a long, somber, 6-hour drive back. I had no time to shed tears, but finally did a week later.

I will never forget that day. God forgive me, but it's even harder to forgive.

With respects to those lost on that terrible day.


Editor's note:

Ten years after Sept. 11, 2001, 162nd Fighter Wing members recall where they were that fateful day, and reaffirm their commitment to serve in the Arizona Air National Guard. Do you have a story to share? If so, email it to 162fw.pa.omb@ang.af.mil for posting here on the wing's official website.