Jungle School cadre share memories of 9/11

| September 9, 2016 | 0 Comments
Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial


Spc. Peter Walser
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — America experienced a devastating attack on Sept. 11, 2001, as four commercial airplanes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon – killing many citizens who were mourned by their family members.

Although a painful memory, the Lightning Academy cadre at the 25th Infantry Division’s Jungle Operations Training Center shared their memories of 9/11.





“When 9/11 happened, I was in the fourth grade. I didn’t really know what was going on at the time,” instructor Staff Sgt. Larry Potter said. “They brought a TV in, and we saw the second plane hit, but I was a kid. I didn’t really understand what I was watching.”




Capt. Austin Rutherford, JOTC operations officer, recalled, “I was at a friend’s house. I grew up homeschooled, so we were doing school at his house when his mom got a call.”

The mother of his childhood friend brought them into her living room and switched on the television to witness a second plane already wreaking havoc on the towers.

“It was a bit surreal,” Rutherford said. “It was the first time that I was aware of us being attacked.”


Spc. Jesse Wooley, Lightning Academy orderly room clerk, recalled that he was in second grade on 9/11.

“I vaguely remember sitting on the floor in our classroom, and someone came in and told the teacher what had happened,” Wooley said. “Come to find out, she had family in New York, so she started calling her brother.”

Wooley’s second grade classroom watched as the second plane collided with the building. “I think I remember going home early that day, because the whole school district was freaking out.”




Sgt. Amber Kaneakalau, commo representative for the JOTC, said that she was on her way to a university class when the event occurred.

“When I got to class, they had told us what had happened, so they sent everyone home for the day. By the time I had gotten to my room, the other plane had hit. It was kind of surreal when I had seen them collapse completely down,” Kaneakalau said.


The veterans also shared their thoughts on patriotic service to the country.

For Kaneakalau, serving in the Army means becoming a part of something greater than her.

For Potter, serving in the Army is kind of like being in a big family.

“You have your brothers and your sisters. Everyone takes care of everyone,” Potter said. “I know that I can call up guys who I first served with when I got in, and they’ll still take care of me. They’re there for me.”

According to Wooley, it takes a special type of person to live up to the responsibility and duty of being a Soldier.

“Anyone who serves should be proud of what they do,” Wooley said.

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