On 9/11 Anniversary, Remembering the Battle to Save the Burning Pentagon

A new book offers a detailed account of how firefighters and military officers responded.


This September 11, seven years after that deadly morning, a new memorial is open at the Pentagon, while somber services are being held at ground zero in New York and in a field in Shanksville, Pa.

Along with honoring the victims, the day has also become an occasion to remember the survivors and the rescuers.

Dramatic stories from that eerily sunny day are continuing to emerge. A new book by volunteer firefighter Patrick Creed and U.S. News chief business correspondent (and former Pentagon reporter) Rick Newman explores the breathtaking story of how firefighters, military officers, and brave (sometime foolhardy) volunteers struggled to save the burning Pentagon after American Airlines flight 77 smashed into the nation's military nerve center.

Five years in the making, Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11 draws upon voluminous eyewitness interviews and public records to tell a nearly minute-by-minute account of the aftermath of the attack. The book relives the utter chaos and confusion experienced by everyone from the most junior firefighter to the top echelons of the U.S. military's command structure.

Perhaps one of the most alarming findings is just how fragile the military's backup command and control systems were at the time.