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tv   Father and Daughter Pilots Reflect on September 11 2001  CSPAN  September 23, 2017 10:30pm-12:01am EDT

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eastern. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. >> heather kenny was one of the -- she talks about her experiences that day and the possibility she might have to ring down flight 93, which terrorists hijacked. >> good evening, i am the deputy director of the smithsonian's national air and space museum. it is my pleasure to welcome you lecture.t's aviation since 1982, this series has spotlighted more than 140 of the
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biggest the 140 of the biggest names in modern aviation history. ofs is presented free charge. this is possible thanks to the ge aviation.ort of programs like theirs are critical to our exhibitions. privilege to thank them for our long-standing support. the digital solutions leader of at gery solutions aviation, lisa, you would answer colleagues ige, we thank you for your substantial and it enduring support. applause] >> and since we opened the and ourn the ball, housing center and chantilly you in 2003, more than 200 50
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million people of walk through our doors to be informed and inspired by the history of travel.nd space drying from the priceless collection of iconic artifacts and intellectual trust, our curators, volunteers, and others, and ever to tell stories about aerospace and how it is defined and shaping the american experience. this evening we are joined by a father-daughter team who by virtue of their professional roles on september 11, 2001, glimpse intoque the horrors and tragedy of that day. aviation stories uplifting or happy. indeed, for those of us professionally committed to the furtherance of aerospace, the of their vehicles
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for domestic terror was particularly disturbing but yet we endured as a community. the aviation industry has become moreaccessible, affordable, more sufficient, and influential than ever before. 9/11, for all of its pain and tragedy is a story to be told and remembered. to help do that i would like to introduce heather "lucky" penney. , most recognized for her service, she was part of those who went first into pilot training. she grew up around a and warbirds and applied to the national guard to fly f-16s as soon as she heard the the army flight to combat
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women. heather deployed to a operation iraqi freedom for initial operations in nighttime sky day in western desert iraq. heather flew the f-16 for 10 years before joining lockheed oftin as the director training systems specializing in strategic development. her passion has never faded. overas raced just and has pilotours in transport ratings and volunteers with the college foundation co-piloting their b-17 when her busy schedule permits. she enjoys flying her own cessna along with her family and rescue gilmoretingly named
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after roscoe turner's lien. it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you heather "lucky" penney. [applause] heather: so, thank you for coming out here. lisa, thank you for the generosity of ge to support this lecture series. should --erospace museumdoes is allow the to tell these stories. like mine. yourself cane like experience aviation and history in a far more personal and tactful manner than when you can simply see the signs next to the airplane. so again lisa, thank you for -- ge are you and ga doing to make it possible for people like me to come listen to
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my heroes on the podium. i am not calling myself a hero at all, because 9/11 was nothing that any of us land. you all know because you all have your stories. of 9/11. experiences every single one of us, every single american, was somehow touched by that day. we all have our connections. people,omehow lost i appreciate the fact that you were all here today to listen to my 9/11 story because really, all i did that they would show up for work. right? from twost gotten back weeks at red flag which was at that point in my time as a young baby fighter pilot he pinnacle
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of what i could ever hope for. i had dropped bombs, i had been there for my time on target, we had just gotten back from that that cairo weekend. we had landed on saturday. most people had taken that monday and tuesday and wednesday off to reconnect with family. i was single at the time so i went home on sunday, did laundry, and was ready to go to work. when we wereday going through the normal administration of running a but just wedron, have? what are we going to be flying? we were traditional mostly at the time with guard units. a guard is comprised of a few suretime staff to make that the internet runs and all of the administration and it is taking care of so that when the
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fighters show up they can jump in the jets and train. i was one of those few full-time staff. who needs check rights? who is doing upgrades? we had just gotten back from red flag said the jets were fitted out with fuel tanks, pods, training missiles. we were moving into a training phase. basically fighter maneuvering. the maintainers, it was going to take them a wild to pool the fuel tanks. gone to take them a while to hadnfigure the jets so we gr noses we had our off. we had a few guys we could send down to the ranges in north carolina. shooter campbell was
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brutally one. air was believed to. only hutchinson was believed three. they leave, they had off. they are headed to north carolina. a little bit of low angle straits. everyone loves shooting a gun. i have never seen a fighter "lot bullet gone and not go brrrrt!"" we all make that noise. there was a knock on the door. it was david tell him. he said, and her time just flew into the world trade center. we looked outside because our conference center was right on the site line.
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huge plate glass windows. we're thinking, how does that happen? as you know, new york city is not that are way. it is really just a stone flow as far as a bird flies. we look outside, it is a perfect out of how? what? we're taking, you know, did approach intoheir laguardia? it must've been one of those sightseeing airplanes going down the hudson. we made a couple jokes about the little airplanes bouncing off the buildings. they certainly don't do any damage. they fall to the ground. , we continued on. it was not really anything that triggered us. until a few minutes later i knock on the door again and
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chunks said, another airplane flew into the world trade center. it was on purpose. andot up from our chairs walked to the bar where we had the television. we saw what everyone else in america sought that day. we saw the footage of these airliners crashing into the trade centers. were absolutely stunned. so, people are vast, how could this event be possible? i mean, didn't we have aircraft on alert? well, once upon a time we were on alert that was before we got our f-16s. we gave up alerts when we shifted from the -- to the force. it had been a long time since we
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had alerts because a few were called in 1991 when the wall fell and the soviet union hell, we did not need it anymore, right? the soviet bear was gone. we pared down our entire military. on september 10, on september 11, there was really only for units sitting on alert looking over thethe oceans and polar region to ensure that no stray bombs came over the north ball. i mean, that was the paradigm we were living in. so no one ever imagined that the threat would come from inside. we had never, we just had never conceived that something so ingenious in the most horrible way could be done.
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so, nearly immediately our dl at the time, he goes to the dan kane whosk and is our weapons officer turned to me and said, lucky i need you dtcigor to build a sum plus. get is some lending data. i do not know what it will look like, we will just make it happen. so brandon and i went to the planning room and started mission planning for something, we don't know what. again, i mean, this is not the defense of counter and air mission i had trained for you had to do. there was a certain point where you had a combat air patrol and appointed imed you funding but defending against who? we don't have -- we just have
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our own itty-bitty radar. we do not know who is hostile. who is friendly. and, nothing is clear. everything is confused as you can imagine. but we do our best. we print out our lineup cards. our takeoff and landing data. we get two sets because some jets are clean, some are still dirty in the air to ground configuration. we print out maps. we put points on top of where we know government buildings are, memorials are. we load up our data transfer cartridges. they are like these egg -- these big thumb drives for your jets where you can take on data and put it in the jet and downloaded so you can accelerate and down.m all the way we get that done. igor and i go to the cops desks.
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desk. i need to go through a little bit of bureaucracy because the national guard in washington, d.c., is not like the national guard in any other state. in other states, you know, the national guard has two teams and command. the federal chain of command which occurs when you get activated to deploy. arehat case, you will brought to the active-duty air force and for all intents and purposes you are active-duty air force. federal chain of command. the civilian chain of command goes up to the state of government. we are seeing that now with texas and florida and montana and washington, oregon, activating elements of their national guard to serve their domestic requirement to protect their people in their state. so there is a very clear chain of command goes up to
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government. well, weshing tin, d c, does not have a governor and a our chain of command does not go to the mayor. our chain of command, our civilian one, goes to the president of the united states. as you can imagine, he was pretty busy at that point in time. and, honestly, i do not think even realized that we were a resource that he had because his authority was traditionally delegated down through the army.ary of the and, that was certainly not what the secretary of the army was thinking, how do we get this up over washington, d.c.. that was not on his mind. so we are trying to get activated so that we can, we are trying to get the chain of command energized, we are to find someone who has the legal authority to tell us to launch.
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how do we get that? just take offnnot on our own. there is a very real and important reason why civilians have the command of our military. so, as much as we know we need to be airborne we can't. so we are grounded. whirlyeral officer david had come down from the winged building and was sitting by the desk making phone calls. trying to find someone to energize through his -- you know, he is our top guy. he is making as many phone calls as he can. "raising" kane at our commander, he makes a call to
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the bombs desk. it is where we keep our missiles, bullets, bombs. we do have some live missiles. but we do not fly with them everyday. you certainly would not want live bombs flying over your house on a daily basis if we have no intention of dropping them or using them. and, that would not make any sense to us either because it was simply wear out the system. and by the way, we don't keep the explosives and fuses in the bomb body all built up ready to go. you have it all separated. you have to build it. it takes time. for example, when we go to war it is a three-day cycle from the planning process to come down to the wing for the bomb to know how many bombs they need to build, to put that together, to bring it out of the flight line. it does not happen instead tenuously. so they call the bomb jump and tells them to build us up the
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main line. some heat-seeking sidewinders. if you are one of the enlisted airman down in the palm deck? television?watching you are probably in the middle of a card game. and you get a call from the weapons officer and he says, build me up some missiles. live ones. just trust me. can you imagine what would be going through your mind? you have no air testing order. you have no legal way for work, no paper trail to prove this is a legal order for you to execute. testament to is a the vision, leadership, and the courage that "raisin' phonee had to make that call.
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even though in my case, it would not be in time. washington, d.c., something unique operating out of andrews, we always had to deal with the hassle of air force one. distinguished visitor base,on andrews air force especially when it is the president, the entire air force base closed down. you cannot drive on the perimeter, you can't take off, you can't land. for very good reason, too procure the important leaders of our nation. but when you are a little fighter that burns a lot of gas ad uses it quickly, it is problem. so we had been working with the secret service to try to develop that weoordination so could facilitate our training as well as meet their security requirements. that is part of developing that relationship.
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we had the secret service and our unit, flung them in the back of the f-16 to prove we are good guys. so we knew who they were and they knew who we were. as a result, it was when the pentagon was hit that vice president cheney said, we have some fighters and andrews? somebody get those guys airborne. and they knew who to call. i mean, as i mentioned, when we -- in the 1990's and we drew down all of our forces, drew down our alert forces, we were no longer sitting alert, either, the first airn if force, if that authority had known we were andrews, i don't even know that they would -- they would not had the legal authority to be able to activate us. it -- it is a really unfortunate
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lesson that rihanna chris he and it has real-world consequences. -- it is a really unfortunate -- hasthat real world real world consequences. -- no -- he looked at me and said, you are with me. you take igor. lifen down the hallway to support. we are putting on g-suits. i am putting on my vest. throwing on my harness. i got my helmet. i got my achy sleep. i got my best. -- i got my akc. i got my best. -- vest.
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i knew i would take the tale. i remember my dad had been involved in a safety investigation analyzing a crash of a 737 out of colorado springs and they had the vertical and horizontal tail locked and the airplane just went straight in. there was just nothing left. there was no way they could've pulled out, no with a could of controlled it. and the other thing, they would not of glided in. there would be no pattern of debris. it would just be straight down. so i knew i would take the tale. we were running out. as fast as we could go. go.ast as i could he outran me. he is a major, he is an old guy. gear it kindlight of nearly doubled my body weight. next one.he know, iecall that you
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am just a brand new lieutenant. i recently had become combat mission-ready. i just went to my first red flag. as every pilot knows, it is when you begin to deviate from your habit had instead mistakes are made. so i went up to my jet and i put my gear down and i shake his hand and i grab the forms and i goes, lucky and he what the hell are you doing? !et in the jet it was not because i was negligent, it was because i knew that if anything in my life mattered, that was it. and, i could not screw it up. sent a recalling, we had ship to the air force -- while we were working to try to get the authorization launch, while
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i was making dtc's and lineup cards, he was calling to get missiles don't up. supervisor, doc thompso n had this big fluffy vietnam mustache, he was just a crusty old fighter pilot and i loved them. i respected him. he had just good tactful horse sense. he called them home. he told them to buster. that means come home as fast as you can without using your afterburner. said those guys are coming back as fast as they possibly can. i did not realize, none of us knew just yet, when doc called down there that believed to have run himself out of gas. which meanted bingo
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he no longer had fueled to play on the ranges. it rather had just enough fuel to come home. .o shooter clears pack off he says, go home and we will go home, finish up the mission, finish the debrief later. bully 2 is on his way helmet and another gets a call. where did he go? washington does not want to let me in the airspace. head home, i will take care of this. doc puts the phone down, picks it up to get bully 2 home. then in a couple minutes puck
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calls back and says bully 2 go. they're asking me if i've any missiles or bombs of onboard. don't you worry about that, just come on home. the center had been asking air if he had those weapons on board because they needed to know in case they could somehow find a way to use them. bullies were still living in the pre-9/11 world, right? was a pre-9/11re world and a post-9/11 world. what mattered was to find that doorway. if you had seen the images. on that day, some of us were still living in a pre-9/11 world because who could have imagined something like that happening? those of us who had seen it, we are now living in that post-9/11
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world. so, -- soad no idea puck had no idea what was going on. he came down and landed. we had bully 1 and bully 2, shooter and billie coming home. it was until a few weeks later that i had the opportunity to listen to puck. as he was coming and getting ready to land, he was pulling up the air drum terminal information system. it is a loop. loop transmitted every hour to give pilots the information they need to know to plan. whether, barometric pressure, landing, runway, any information you need to know to plan. it lands the workload of the air
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traffic controllers. said,s what puck adis this is andrews information bravo. andrews air force base is close. bravo airspace is close. any aircraft trying to enter will be shot down. so, i am in my jet. [chuckling],alize i have to throw the lookout. i don't even bother strapping him. normally it is about a 20 minute pauses to strap in, wake your all your systems, configure navigation, get your avionics set up right, i had
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been doing a close by little dogfighting mission. 10 minutes most. at that point, we did not have gps on the aircraft. we had just uploaded to the ringleader ins system. it only took eight minutes not eight minutes -- 18 minutes so we were high-speed. we did not have 20 minutes. we did not have 10. we did not have ate. we needed to go. strapping young. the mantra, the rhythm, the dance to the response you do with your crew chief was out the windows. i was relying on my knowledge to know what i needed to do. battery on. start. 20%, over the help to idle. i am watching my temperature. i'm good.
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i am yelling out my crew chief, pull the chock. rater.ot have a there is no data link in the aircraft. all i have right now is my engine and i have waking up the rest of the airplane as i can. they pulled the jocks. i am taxiing. crew chief is still plugged in and he is running underneath me. other crew chiefs are running underneath me pulling the pens out of my external fuel tanks, gears, other things. my tapes, ixiing on up." two's billy, bully an
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doggettd bully checks on fuel. we think there is another one coming down the river. you have fuel for one pass up and down the river. billy takes off. first one airborne. he takes off, stays low, goes northwest over the center gone up to great fall, turns around, down the potomac, down where the potomac books into the bay and come that, and lance. we take off seconds after him. and, we take off and we had andheast into a serene peaceful and silent sky. there is no one airborne. andad out to the northwest
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we never find anything. that day.t heroes the passengers on flight 93 worthy heroes. the heroes. 93 were so you can see why you believe that what i was willing to do today -- that day was nothing special. because anyone would've been willing to do what i was willing to do and what they actually did. day were average, at every americans. who realized there were things in this world more important than themselves. and, although they might not and takend their hand an oath to give their life in our nation's defense, they did. true heroes.the
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[sniffling, sigh] d.c. guard commanded the air force patrol for two weeks after. clearly, an incident like that -- for the guard to on the authorization of that combat control was truly unique and different. we did it because there was a lot of untangling to do after that day. as you can imagine, trying to go through what was wrong, figure out the appropriate lines of authority, lines of command, and even something as mundane as how do you schedule and provide to
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ensure we can protect our nation's capital? these were all the projects we were dealing with over the next few weeks. not me, i was just a line flyer. midnight-4:00 a.m. night air combat patrol. johnson ", jeff tonight" was in the pentagon doing a lot of that. he is wearing his flight suit. he has his patches on. if you understand how that works, you know, not only was -- you know the aircrew but you can decode with the patches mean. so, "t gets stoppeduna" by some guy in the pentagon that says, are you from the d.c. guard? he says, yeah. let me tell you a story. this is a story he told "tuna"
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" tolde story that "tuna us. one day pentagon was hit, they of course evacuated everyone. flowing into self parking, most likely got in their cars and drove away. but for the people who had to evacuate through the north parking were trapped. they were coming out the river and they were coming out to north parking, going over the bridge that goes over 110 and getting stuck in that parking lot that is in between root 110 and the potomac river. they cannot go anywhere. because there were evacuation procedures for primarily fire, not something like this. light.e wind was it was a perfect flying day.
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as light, out of the southwest. so, it was blowing the smoke and ashes in the air up over the center and actually write up over north parking. childhere is a development center, it is still there but it is closed now. the women are evacuating the the out -- babies out of center. their procedures are for fire drills. so they are pushing out these cribs with four babies to a crib. six toddlers to a buggy, right? tot they cannot stay next the building. they have got to get up the stairs and over the bridge to get to north parking but they do not have enough people to do that because it was not something they were manned for. it should not then.
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i mean, it was -- said these women are giving babies away. as people are coming out of the pentagon, they are literally handing babies to strangers. i cannot take them all away. can you please get them to safety. take them away. they are giving davies away. but once they get to north parking, they are trapped. the ashes are falling on them. smoking.s a credit and it was. the pentagon burn for weeks, months afterwards. they know something is coming. if you remember, this is before everyone had a cell phone in their pocket, right? i mean, if you are really somebody might have a pager. they know there is something else coming. they don't know what, they don't know when. they are not at their desks so they cannot refresh that information. they are simply waiting. they are trapped. and then the hutchinson comes
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zooming over them in full afterburner. silence they are broken into cheers because they know we are now airborne. that american air fighter jets are airborne and we are not going to let anyone hurt them. -- they aree ok going to be ok. i think that now, with the years between me and that day, and again, i was there just as i showed up for work. and, anyone would have been willing to do what i was willing to do. not i know that because only because the passengers on flight 93 grouped it but when you look at what everyone up in new york did.
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the hair was some of the first responders running toward the towers and not a ways. that towersals in who helped each other get out, saved each other's lives, and about this. the people who cleaned up the towers. going to work every day knowing they would die for what they were doing. and they did it every day and anyways. so, when i look back on that day, with the years being able to reflect upon what it might this it is strange to see but i actually have hope because we showed who we are as americans. we are not a fearful people. we are not a week people. we do not shy from hardship and we know that there are things in this world that are more
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important than ourselves. that are more important than our own personal safety. , it is worthk taking. it is worth taking for the same thing, us, collectively, together. america. pie,onstitution mom, apple freedom, our wait of life. these are things that matter. these are things that bring us together. so when i think back, as hard as that day has been far our nation, it rings me help -- it gives me hope.
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thank you. [applause] christopher: thank you, heather. we do all have stories as to where we were in how that date impacted us. as i segue into the next part of our program and make our next introduction, allow me a moment to sort of share a context that might help with the introduction. on 9/11, was the airport manager
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of reagan international and so i thought from the ground, like and i don't want to take your time now because actually if i do my job well i will save time for questions think,u all later but i as you know, we were close at national not for three days but we remained closed following after all the other airports reopened and it was rather disconcerting and we did not know whether to mothball the airport, put it on life support, to close it. you may recall from my opening remarks, in 2003 -- there were people who mentioned to me in 2001, why don't we turn reagan into an annex for hobby. thinkeople did not national was going to reopen. vice president cheney and the secret service were dead set
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against it. it was interesting because they would say, we cannot have aircraft close to the airport. yet, when the system reopened in the course of the were withinaircraft 18 minutes flight time of reagan international. there were things put in place afterwards in retrospect you wonder, did it make much sense? that many of us worked very hard to go ahead and take the actions necessary to reopen reagan. and from my perspective, from a it isound of flying, startling to me that there was his idea that somehow the nation's capital could not be sufficiently protected and a way that would allow aviation to proceed. because on aircraft carriers, we are in harms way all the time. but we have very distinct procedures you have to follow to get back on that ship when you are 100 miles off of lebanon.
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i can assure you, and a 14 coming back from a ship, we did not follow very prescribed flight procedures. if we did not wear going to get withdown and so i met secretary norm monadnock, one of this country's great, great americans who is arguably the one who shut down the airspace on that day. and, as a side note, what air-traffic did that day is a relative and a story in itself. but i remember going to his office at the time and showing him a picture of an aircraft carrier. and i said, think of national as an aircraft carrier. what we need to do is to buy procedures. profiles, squat, chicken, all the various things on the ship. do that and you can get
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airplanes in and out of here. and oh by the way, you might not know -- you could see them from the airport. and somebody did not follow those seizures, there was a roll engagement to shoot them down. so i do not know that that suggestion carried the day but i do know what came out of it was this idea that yes, you can have flight into a high area and do it safely and successfully if you have receivers. the idea that you had to stay seated for 30 minutes before a flight kind of went away for obvious reasons. but at the end of the day, 3.5 weeks later, the decision the president made was to reopen and i recall going back over to the secretary's office on a tuesday and he said, -- and i went into the foyer and who was in there -- a bunchigarette
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of the ceos were sitting there and said -- i don't think you can do that here. and secretary minetta had summoned the ceos. those who cannot make it wanted telephone and said, the president once to reopen national can you do it in 48 hours? i was sitting there thinking, every cabdriver, restaurant operator, rental car worker, everyone was gone. i was thinking, this is sort of starting a jet. it normally takes time to get back into the game. without skipping a beat, every be said, yes, sir, we will ready. i am sitting there thinking, you do not even know where your people are. the reality is, we did reopen but it was very limited. 10 flights a day. we eventually joined the rest of the aviation system and reopened. it is the day
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after what happened after 9/11 that is as informative and impressive in my mind as many of the action set people took on that date itself. among the commercial airline pilots who boldly returned to their carpets and help restore our nation's most critical and criticalost transportation infrastructure was heather's dad john. during his academy years he built model airplanes, sale plans, earned a degree in error canonical engineering. aeronautical engineering. he flew combat missions a-seven and vietnam. after the war, he served as an 8-7 and structure. -- instructor. after his first brief stint with the airlines with united, he landed a job with lear at reno
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airport where he worked for 5.5 years as an engineer and test pilot. he became associated with an teamd the rare bear air and flu in his first champion or 1975.n he kept his hand and military aviation by joining the nevada international air guard. businessd his own flight testing and instructing u.s. and foreign aircraft including the big 15 make 17, others. and his perspective as a commercial aviator with united which he after 9/11 and as the father of a daughter tasked with defending our skies that day is to really amazing. we will hear from both of them now. i invite heather and strong back to the podium.
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[applause] john back to the podium. [applause] john: thank you chris. it is an honor to be here tonight and shares some perspectives as the father of a fighter pilot, as an air pilot, now retired from united airlines. i like to thank lisa and the ge corporation and todd and bill who are here sponsoring this event. it is an honor to be here and speak to you. i would like to share with you a few things and events that happened on the day of 9/11 and some perspectives that we gained from that day and things that happened that affected us as a family and as pilots of the united and as all americans. the morning of 9/11, actually,
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my wife and i were starting the first of 30 days of vacation i had stored up for a couple years. the activities that morning were pretty much normal morning activities. breakfast, coffee. until my younger brother eric called and said, is your tv on? i said, no. he said, turn on the tv so we did and it is everywhere. at that time, both of the towers had been hit. it was obvious the united states was under attack at that point. distraughtphanie was at that time and i did everything i could to reassure her. i said, heather is ok. little did i know what was going on. it seemed to calm some of her fears, though.
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so we got on the phone and tried to call heather immediately and of course as i am sure all of you know, the telephones were jammed. there was no way to get through. my wife got on and emailed to heather, what is going on. after heather's first mission when she got on the ground she emailed back and said, i'm ok. i am fine. i am busy. i will call you tonight. thereafter,n heather's twin sister, jill, need tos up and said, i talk to my sister. i need to talk to her now. the phones were jammed so she could not get through and we could not get through. .eather called that evening
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we did not know what had get happened with that first mission she had described. . the only noise we heard in the skies above where the f-15s patrolling from the international guard base. the air force base in denver. over low.of them came some had afterburner. first -- we found out also that day that jason doll, captain jason doll was the captain on flight 93, united flight 93.
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a friend of ours. his wife called and told us about what had happened with jason's airplane and as you all know the airplane crashed in pennsylvania. now, there was a three-way link andeen heather, jason, myself. that was the flight that heather and lieutenant colonel were searching for after they launched out of andrews air force base, unbeknownst to them, flight 93 had already crashed even as they were getting airborne so that is why they never found it. the airplane crashed. iw, captain jason doll and cubicle at thee
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united airlines flight training center. he had a picture of his son matt who i believe at that time he was still in high school. wife, sandy.y they were bragging about everything they did, all the fun wife,ad, his love for his sandy. after the events of 9/11, there was a memorial service in denver at the church. there were fighter pilot's, we were all in our uniforms. this was not a mega church they went to but i guess you could call it about atari moore
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theatre, as big as what you are sitting in right now. it was standing there. of us were in our uniforms the unit was looked over by matt, jason's son. he was poised. he was very articulate. eulogy. beautiful there was not a dry eye in the house. to this day, i do not know how he stood there and did that. service, another fund and united pilot said, john, tomorrow let's put our uniforms on and go out to denver international airport in go into the terminal and talk to the passengers. i said, that is a great idea. we did that. we went out to dia, spent several hours going up and down
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the terminal talking to passengers trying to reassure them about the security and on all of theng airlines, not just united airlines. for some people, it was very emotional and they were very touch. for other folks, they were very stoic and showed a lot of courage to be, you know, good, andl americans and get up travel again in the skies. we hope that was a meaningful experience for them. i'm sure that was a meaningful experience come i'm sure was for myself, i can guarantee you that. there are some anecdotal accounts by other pilots. things that happened on 9/11 and afterwards. after the initial attack, and ground control and the tower, anybody they could get a hold of, they turned them around and
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sent them back to the gate out it dulles airport. actually one of the captains and he said, as soon as they parked and shut down and opened the door, several young males, middle eastern in a parents, jumped up and ran forward out the door of the aircraft and disappeared into the crowds in the terminal. it can only be supposed what might have happened had that airplane gotten airborne. i won't theorize about that but i think you might know. the four airplanes used as weapons were not the only ones they had planned for that day. there were other accounts and some other pilots i talked to that had gone up in
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altitude and cruising. there were incidences, once, twice, of again, young men that probably came from that part of the world would get up and were moving rapidly up the aisle toward the cockpit area and then it would stop and sit down and go back and sit in their seats. we can only surmise perhaps they were trying to probe. i do not know. i do not know what came of any reports of those incidents. i know there's were searched by the fbi, secret service. i had my own personal experience prior to 9/11. it hurt some reports that united of some -- we had heard some reports at united of some uniforms stolen. some rooms broken into.
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i think in one hotel room, a guy answered the door and a guy knocked on it and subdued the guy who answered it and overpowered him and stole his uniform. back at that time, you might surmise they were just trying to get a free ride in the cut it as a jumpsuit or much like who was in that movie, what is the name of the movie, heather? catch me if you can. yes. i don't know if the movie was made get, but that was the scenario. get a uniform and try to get a free ride in the cockpit wherever you want to go. i had a layover, i think you are all obviously local to washington. the dulles airport, next to the terminal, i had a trip i had a layover at the hotel at the airport and a early in the morning there was a knock on my door. so, i get up and i look out and
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guess what the gentleman looks like? outside that door? i said, who is it? of aid, with had a report problem with air conditioning. i said, just a minute, let me put my clothing on. i ran back and got on the phone and called the front desk and said, have you sent anybody from engineering to come and work of my air-conditioning? they said, no. i went back to the door and looked out the people and there was nobody there. and thereple whole was nobody there. foolishly i opened the door to take a look. it could've been hiding. i looked up and down the hallway in the prison was gone. i got dressed, and immediately went to the desk and said that they were from engineering. that was prior to 9/11. only a few weeks prior. that could've. been connected to some other --
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it sot was a so could've been connected to other dots. there were some in flight school who said, i do not want to know how to land the plane only to fly it. beingts were not connected. the dots i saw that morning i must admit i did not try to get it connected to anything. now, many of you, almost everybody in this country has a whether theyhing were involved with some activities or terrorist acts. evergreen,nd i in there are four families on that court.
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three out of four families on that court had a tie with something or someone from 9/11. my wife stephanie and i, obviously our daughter heather. and the mission she performed on that day with honor. right across our court, the gentleman and his wife who moved in there, he had been an executive at a financial services company that had their offices up on one of the upper floors on one of the twin towers. if i recall correctly, you think you us they lost about 12 or maybe 13 friends that morning. done at the bottom of the court, the couple down there, their son joe work for a company that was either at the bottom of one of the twin trade towers or the building immediately next to it.
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-10, do you ever have 9-10? you only have 9/11. joe worked very, very late that night and into the next morning and he decided to sleep in and did not come into work that morning. and whether or not he would've perished, whether he could've been one of the people escaped, we will never know but he on a normal course of events did not go into work that morning. let me know if i've gone past my 10 minutes. get the hook or get the gone. -- gong. there are a lot of media stories that have been written about our daughter heather's activities the morning of 9/11 launching in her f-16 and everything that transpired afterwards.
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and, i had been interviewed about that also. have used some artistic license trying to say that heather could have thought she was maybe taking off and could she have shut down an airliner that i may have been the captain of. i had been to the east coast. i had in fact recently flown some flights from the east here whenon a layover i arrived door was getting ready to leave. as i said, i had called heather. another fact -- which he know if i was flying that warning? no, she did not. -- heather, as you have seen from her story was totally
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focused. focused on the mission at hand. took her duty as an f-16 pilot in a correct manner and was a good thing man to do whatever was required on that morning to try to protect her country. now, the supposition by some of these news writers to try to again, using dramatic license, try to make us sound as if our daughter heather was running out to the airplane are getting airborne and heading on out looking for united flight 93 and they did not know if it was 93, just that it was an down but that she was thinking -- all my gosh, my dad might be a captain on this airplane and i might have to bring down an airplane for which my dad is on board. that is not the case at all. she was totally focused on the job at hand. so, there was a lot of artistic license taken by people over and stories about this and that gives me some concern.
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heather: about the true heroes on united flight 93. she has been called a hero by some people of written and she is, as you heard her by herself saying, she was not -- she discounts being called a hero. and she did not use the terminology, but she before used at that she was an accidental witness to history on 9/11, along with marks that filled. -- along withhers market and so many others. and she said the true heroes in that chapter of what happened on 9/11 regarding flight 93 were those passengers who prevented the terrorists from turning united flight 93 into a weapon allerror and we should
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never forget that. they were a small group of heroes who did that. a very, very small group who all the heroes and responded and did in theey did, the gone, air over washington, d.c., and who responded at the twin trade towers doing what they could to save as many lives as they could. so, again, thank you very much and istening to my drivel guess we will start some question and answer here. thank you very much. [applause] christopher: thank you, john. now i am going to go a little so i will keep my job. i think it is important to provide you all at least a few minutes of opportunity to ask
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questions because you know it is so important not just to tell the story and remember the story, but to get the facts right and who better to answer to that man john and heather. question appear. being in my house at national, seeing an f-16 turn onto what would have been final unused runway northeast southwest runway. lo, i think a landing configuration, definitely knows up and quite slow. only a couple feet. is that you? laughter] >> i don't think i need to repeat the question, think everybody probably heard that. >> no, my question is, the gentleman witness said there was
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an aircraft and wondered if it .as in fact heather heather: no, although i would love to put it in my logbook, i never got into a situation like that. during the course of that day, we did a number of intercepts on small aircraft which flying a f-16, picking an up speed. what convenient way to slow down than to get to a closer scene that is more cessna-like is to throw your gear down because that automatically deploys the flaps. you can have a flap override system to manually override but it is not something we normally do. the thing i can speculate is that someone -- and i did not do make that kindot of intercept that day -- is that someone that day who took off
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might have been able to intercept a small either craft and would've put his aircraft in that configuration to achieve that kind of speed but that was not me. >> i'm not sure if it syncs up with the timing of what you witnessed, but i do know that when the air traffic system was being shut down we did have arrivals into reagan coming in point was at that determined better to get them on the ground even if it was reagan than international -- national at the time rather than someone else. so even with everything happening, we were getting everything happening and reagan international. i do remember watching a 7:27 coming in having that same thought. said -- to 9/11, you something about coming over. ofyou were on hot standby as
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a procedure, what would that have gained for your mission after 2001? christ you want to repeat the question question mark heather: the question and you can -- >> do you want to repeat the question? what was their response? >> on alert. heather: alert on cc, while at that a been a light? the aircraft sitting on alert, they had profiles. when neighbors gravel, they would jump in their aircraft and they would actually take off over the atlantic so that is why you have the aircraft that were attached to langley actually taking off and flying east over the atlantic of why you have the otisaft sitting alert at flying over the atlantic. before they are turned around to
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respond to these threats that were actually internal. so, had andrews been sitting alert with that of something problem? thennot speculate and educated manner because there are a number of things that would've needed to happen within . not just what with the file of look like which marked how long would it take them to turn around? the chain of command. etc. unfortunately i do not think it is fair to what have, could have, should have. it just is. >> i was one of those rescue .orkers heather: thank you. >> no, i want to thank you because they pulled us away from doing what we was trained to do for years at that moment. until those fighters showed up. you are absolutely correct. we were trained. we are thanking you all for
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showing up, looking out for us. saving is. i want to thank you. i want to thank you. [applause] >> right here, sir. weapons onhave any your f-16? the question was, we did not have missiles but did we have any kind of weapon load-out. we routinely flew with weapons in the nose, partly for a weight balance issue but those bullets were connecticut bullets. lead-nose. they were just led balls. -- the go to combats canon in the f-16 fighters it's
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round at 6000 rounds per minute. so 510 rounds is a little over five seconds of guns and 100 rounds is one second of guns. we knew that between the two of us, even with perfect aim, that 200 rounds would be utterly insufficient to take down the airliner. >> in the back, sir. >> declared the civil aircraft coming down as the date of grass, who had the authority or two authority to authorize down so civil aircraft? was it on the white house? heather: we were provided -- the question is, after all civil aircraft were grounded, who had the command and control, who had the authority to declare an aircraft hostile so we could take it down? typically, within combat operations the rules of engagement are we have a very
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specific matrix that you have to fulfill in order to be able to shoot somebody down. we need to know what the aircraft is. where originated from. things like that. only we had that was actually provided, we were provided through fire that meant pilotindividual fighter sitting in my f-16 i, heather penney, made the decision to shoot down an aircraft. i did not need to ask, mother may i? there was no going up the chain of command. which, i mean, two things. the level of risk that was to makeby enabling us
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that decision was necessary because of the confusion and the chaos going on within all of the military elements because as you mentioned, there was no chain of command. there was nothing set up to be able to support that kind of our we -- that kind of --. my other authorization is that nobody used it. chaos and b fargo for, the confusion, and as you .an also imagine, the anger all of those emotions that every american was feeling that morning, it was overcome by the professionalism and the discipline of every fighter pilot airborne that morning but they chose not to use it. these guys were still full of airplanes.
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there was a time when you did not have to file before you flew. you did not have to talk on the radio. watch did not listen or the news that morning, you just got up and went into your little airplane and poured on some oil and took off. you had no idea we had just shut down the airspace. i think it is also truly a -- of all of us that we did not actually get triggered. have a lot of guilt of what i must've done to the wings that day. i must've scared the heck out of some of them but we kept everyone safe. here is what i want to bring up. chris, this is tied to your story. is inderappreciated --
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our response to 9/11. i would love to kiss those controllers because their mental agility in transitioning from keeping aircraft separated for the most affective operations to landing takennal off. trying to take off, i cannot get my eyes far enough. whenhey were so competent he said, hate potomac and do you have any military back? ok. let's just call the national board tech -- the national -- let's call it bullseye. do you have it on your scope? you have the radials coming off of their. you have the range rings.
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so, if you say contact, if you get a radar contact due east and it is 30 miles away, here's what i want you to say. you know, contact bullseye 090. give me the altitude as well. like that, the controllers swapped their mental approach. they swapped their paradigm. they adopted our fighter pilot language and a helped facilitate our ability to clear the air space and then, as thegot super congested with all of the responders, the helicopters, the medevac's, the army flights, not only did they call out the , they also called out the aircraft we knew were friendly and they would say -- flight whatever, this is their bullseye cut. this is their destination.
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so, we did not have to wait our s that werendly helping people, taking time to help people responded we can focus on those unknowns -- those bogeys -- and keep everyone safe. i really think that potomac is the heroes here. >> absolutely. i know we're going a little bit over but we will take one more question of there is another question in the audience. one back. >> in my airport, lear airport near annapolis, we were near the arrivals. after 9/11, it was just so eerily quiet. i know you do not call yourself a hero, the only thing we heard were the f-16's. it was an extreme comfort when i knew it would issue.
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thank you so much. [applause] that note, i think we will go ahead and wrap up. i want to thank all of you for taking time this evening to listen to the story. it was mentioned it is an important story to be remembered and it is a story to be told and retold. we were very fortunate to have john anthony join us tonight. kenny join usand penny join us tonight. thank you. sorry we cannot accommodate autographs tonight. given the hour, we cannot that. ge, thank you for sponsoring this event, past events, and future events.
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thank you so much. and, i guess i will just close by saying i hope in a few days time on the 11th of september, each of you well in your own way what it meant to those in the nation and individually and collectively and take a moment to thank those people that sacrificed so much that day and memories. on an hour thank you and have a great evening. [applause] watching: you're american history tv, all weekend every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation like us on facebook at c-span history. communicators,e comcast senior executive vice president talks about telecommunication development, competition, and fcc regulations. he has interviewed by policy and
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politics senior editor. >> what is your take on the trump administration? >> first of all i am compelled to say brian roberts pointed this out at the goldman sachs conference last week. we love it. we post nbc acquisition, universal acquisition, we view ourselves as essentially strategically complete. so we are not, you know, we're not out there saying all my god we have to find something else to buy. we have never viewed ourselves as being foreclosed from the acquisition macro place either mystically your internationally. it has to be the right deal. something that enhances the quality of the company, and thee fully the shares to company. enhances the value as a result
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of that. i think it is no secret that overall this resident and presidenttion is -- and administration is likely less hostile to horizontal or vertical growth and telecom space and elsewhere. announcer: watch the communicators monday night at c-span two.stern on >> usually things run smoothly but every once in while federal reserve banks are pressed into emergency action. for example, let's go back in time to 1992. ♪ >> it is august 1992. the b-52s released a new album called "good stuff or code "good stuff." the model of america opens for business. it is the largest shopping mall.
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a large hurricane is moving toward south florida. >> we expect the storm will be in our neighborhood right early in the day monday. >> monday, august 24, the storm hits. winds reach 160 miles an hour. local airports shut down. most of the area without power. in its way, devastation nearly total. put everything, every money in the house. all the life savings. everything. tuesday, august 25, almost everyone needs food and emergency supplies but most stores are shut down. >> we're selling generators, chainsaws, gas, oil. pension people selling things come from out of town. they will not accept checks or
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credit cards. so there is a huge demand for cash and local banks are running short. that triggers emergency action by the miami branch of the federal reserve. the miami branch is called the federal reserve inc. of atlanta southeast.s the branch manager jay currie was that the bank soon after andrew struck. >> we started calling all of the financial institutions and talking with them, letting them know we were in business and wanted to ensure we heard that we had cash available and we would do whatever possible to get that cash to them based on their need. >> local banks have an account with defense. the deposit their extra cash and the fed credits or come. in normal times, the local banks ask for cash is needed. in this case, it is needed immediately and in great quantity. bob jensen is vice president of the first national bank of comes
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up. >> people had to walk with somewhere between 3000-$5,000 in cash. many people needed far more than that and got more than that. >> porch sullivan owns a service station in homestead. the town was hit hard. there was no water, no phone service, no electricity. just to buy ice, residents had to drive out of town and wait in long lines. butch sullivan needed an emergency generator. >> you have to pay $2000-2500 dollars, cash. no credit card, no check, cash. they would not accept anything. i expect the fed, those in charge of shipping cash to local banks. tuesday, august 20 five, was the busiest downmarket. 99 that day. it was a very heavy day. it was done like manually.
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the $99 million was sent out to local banks throughout south florida including the first national bank of homestead. >> every day, every morning early. we had large amounts of cash. large bills. the fed essentially give us whatever we wanted, whatever we needed. >> thursday, august 27, south florida is just beginning the long process of rebuilding. hurricane andrew has left more than 300,000 people without homes. it is the most expensive in u.s. disaster history. many people did whatever they could to help their neighbors including workers at the fed. >> the federal reserve is like the main bank to all of these banks. it is like you go to your mom for help. that is what they're doing. going for help. the banks were in need of cash because the people were in need of cash so we were there for all
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of the banks and all of the people. >> interested in american history tv? visit our website. you can see our schedule, preview upcoming programs and watch lectures, archival films and more. american history tv, at >> up next, temple university professor andrew eisenberg teaches a class about consumerism in the 1970's. he talks about how the united states has dealt with waste and recycling programs. this is about 45 minutes. prof. isenberg: good morning. i'm going to start off with a brief one minute video. this ran for the first time in


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