Retired U.S. Army Major General looks back on his experience at the Pentagon during 9/11

Published: Sep. 11, 2022 at 7:25 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Retired U.S. Army Major General Scott West remembers 9/11 like it was yesterday. He was at the Pentagon just 100 yards away from where flight 77 impacted the building.

“We were very fortunate in the army G4. We had about 100 people, probably about 150 including our contractors,” said West. “We all got out of the building, no one was injured.”

In the following days, West learned about friends who died during the attack at the Pentagon.

“Lieutenant Colonel Neil Hyland. One that I had served with in operation desert storm, Major Stephen Long, we use to call him Ranger Long. And then Lieutenant Colonel Cliff Patterson,” explained West.

West also met Rick Rescorla who retired from the army and was on duty at the World Trade Center, Tower Two. Rescorla went against orders and evacuated people to safety.

“We could’ve lost another 2700 hundred had it not been for him,” added Scott. “He got those people out of the building, was going back into his tower, was seen on the 42nd floor heading up to get more people when the building collapsed.”

West shared those stories at the 9/11 remembrance hosted by American Legion Post 104 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9855. Since 2002, they’ve commemorated the victims while honoring first responders.

“Fireman and police officers were running up the twin towers when people were running down,” said Post 104 Chaplain Rev. Brian Moore. “You know, people were sacrificing themselves in the different cities because that’s who they are.”

During the event, they donated to the Fire Department and the Rescue squad. 9/11 influenced many to serve.

West says this year the army will be around 30,000 people short.

“That’s a hole that cannot be repaired. But it’s the responsibility of me and people like me,” said West. “You know, the influencers of our community to influence young people to step up and serve the nation.”