Monday, April 03, 2006

Rick Rescorla

No story from September 11, 2001 stuck with me like that of Rick Rescorla and yesterday, at Fort Benning, this man's incredible story was immortalized in the form of statue (h/t LGF) in the place where he went through Officer Candidate School on his way to Vietnam.

For those who have never heard of Rick, at the time of the World Trade Center attacks he was the Vice President of security for Morgan Stanley, in the South Tower, and if nothing else it's worth reading his story just because of this, of the 2700 Morgan Stanley employees that worked in the second tower, only 6 died that day; Rick, his 2 man security team and 3 others.

After taking the job at the WTC Rick and an old army buddy evaluated any security flaws and even warned the Port Authority of the possibility of someone attacking the pillars in the parking structure, all this prior to the first WTC attack. Even on that day in 1993, people noted that Rick was the last person out of the building, making sure 'no man was left behind'. He even ran drills of MS employees to make sure everyone was ready for a second attack which he was sure would come; and once again, he was right.

It was this dedication to his fellow man that ultimately cost him his life. After successfully starting evacuation procedures, even while the official Port Authority commands were to stay put, and directing his teams out of the building, Rick returned to the burning tower to make sure everyone else was out. Even though his office was on the 44th floor, several reports have put Rick as high as the 72nd, in his search for anyone requiring his teams assistance. The towers fell before him and his men could make their final descent.

This Picture was snapped by a secretary on her way out of the tower, and clearly shows Rick on his bull horn directing traffic and leading the evacuees in various songs including "God Bless America"; all the while remaining perfectly in control.

Like all the NYPD and Fire Fighters that gave their lives that day, when everyone else was running out of a burning building, Rick and his team were running into it; overcoming one of the most powerful of instincts, self preservation, to save every life they could.

The Mudville Gazette has more on his actions in Vietnam that led him to become a highly decorated officer. Among other stories, it details his actions during one of the most important military actions at the beginning of the conflict at Ia Drang Valley, the battle behind the book 'We Were Soldier Once and Young', and the basis for the Mel Gibson film. If you look at the cover you can see Rick in his heyday, once again marching towards the danger that others would quickly flee.

Rick Rescorla was 62. The bravest of the brave.


Blogger Jethro Bodine said...

A Hero, Twice Over.

April 05, 2006 12:15 a.m.  

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