Attack on the Pentagon: The Medical Response to 9/11

Attack on the Pentagon: The Medical Response to 9/11
Attack on the Pentagon: The Medical Response to 9/11
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(Contains some copyrighted material) Tells the story of the medical response to the Pentagon at ground zero through the eyes of many of those medical responders and, in so doing, paints a picture that no single view can capture. Based largely on oral histories of medical responders obtained by Defense Department oral history teams and the author; primary documents mainly from the Surgeon General's Medical History Office; and e-mail exchanges between the author and individual responders.

The narrative first focuses on the immediate medical response at the Pentagon, and the medical transition to recovery on the first day.

The story then moves to Army Medical Department headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, and San Antonio, Texas, where Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) personnel monitored the response. Accounts of the Army’s involvement in the recovery of deceased attack victims at the Pentagon and the work of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in identifying human remains at Dover Air Force Base follow. The roles of military and civilian hospital staffs and of military environmental health and mental health specialists in taking care of attack victims and their families are also examined. 

Late in the volume, a chapter is included on New York City because military medical forces also responded to ground zero. The telling of this story, mainly through the eyes of two MEDCOM officers detailed to New York to support National Guard troops guarding ground zero’s perimeter, may provide valuable insights on how to respond to similar events in the future.

A theme that stands out in the telling of this story is that preparation and training paid off. When these attributes were weak or absent, responders encountered problems. In Washington, DC, and New York City, MEDCOM put into effect existing disaster response plans. As a result, military medical response needs, including supplies, were with few exceptions already in place.

However, responders needed to learn how to use volunteers effectively and how to improve control of medical personnel, equipment, and supplies.



Related products:

Rogue Wave: The U.S. Coast Guard on and After 9/11 is available here:

Pentagon 9/11 (10th Anniversary edition) -Print Paperback format can be found here:

Terrorism & 9/11 History resources collection can be found here:

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:

Foreword vii

Preface ix

Chapter One The Attack and Rescue 1

Chapter Two Headquarters Response and Recovery Operations 51

Chapter Three Hospitals and Clinics 81

Chapter Four Environmental Health and Safety Issues 109

Chapter Five The Mental Health Response 129

Chapter Six New York City 155

Chapter Seven The Continuing Response 181

Bibliographical Note xiii

Acronyms and Abbreviations xv

Index xix


Medical and first responders, historians, young people learning about the 9/11 attacks, and anyone seeking to remember and commemorate the victims of the attacks on 9/11 and to honor the medical responders would want a copy of this book.

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Defense Dept., Army, Borden Institute, Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School
  • Condon-Rall, Mary Ellen
Key Phrases:
  • Medical Response to 9/11
  • Pentagon Building
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
  • Medical History
  • Military History
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