by Jim Garamone
ARLINGTON, Va. � The beaming smile of Janice Jackson showed she appreciated the company of Joyce Rumsfeld, who visited Arlington Hospital here Sept. 13 to meet those hurt in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
Rumsfeld, wife of the defense secretary, met with military and civilian victims of the Sept. 11 blast. She heard their stories of fear and heroism. She also heard stories of loss, about coworkers who died in the attack.
Jackson, an automation expert and civilian contractor, told how her coworkers helped her and how, as she was escaping the fire, she helped another coworker out of the office. Jackson was burned on her hands, back and head.
|Janice Jackson, a computer specialist and an Army Reserve sergeant, laughs with Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.|
"When I was in there," she told Rumsfeld, "I thought about my kids and that I was going to get out."
Sheila Mundy had just started her second day on the job at the Pentagon when the plane hit. A personnel specialist, she told Rumsfeld of an incredible rescue.
After the explosion, Mundy and another woman struggled to reach a window in an attempt to flee the building. Neither had a clue what had happened nor that a gaping hole had been blown in the building, she said.
"A soldier, I believe his name was CPL Burns, he came in with a fire extinguisher," Mundy continued. "I heard him say, �Is anybody in there?� And I said, �Yes, we�re here!�"
The smoke was too thick for Mundy to breathe. She had to clap her hands to get the corporal�s attention. "He came toward the sound, and he put out the flames between us. I stepped over some of the rubble, and he led me outside," she said.
She told the corporal about the other woman inside. The man turned around, went back in and rescued her. "He�s an angel to have come in to get me," Mundy concluded.
|Sheila Mundy tells Joyce Rumsfeld about the Army corporal, her 'angel,' who rescued her following the Sept. 11 terror attack on the Pentagon.|
Rumsfeld also visited Dalisay Olaes, a victim being treated in the hospital intensive care unit. She escaped the building by following "my specialist." SPC Michael Petrovich, she said, rescued her and led her to an open window. She and LTC Marilyn Wills, now in an adjacent intensive-care-unit room, jumped to safety.
"The colonel said we had to jump or we were going to burn," Olaes said. "I did. I must have nine lives."
"I feel lucky that I got to see them and a regret that they�re here," Rumsfeld said following the visit. "They are just courageous, wonderful human beings. They all expressed their horror at what happened, and yet they are incredibly strong and eager to get back."
Mr. Garamone writes for American Forces Press Service.
Back issues on-line | "Most requested" articles | Article search | Subscriptions | Writer's guide
Army Communicator is part of Regimental Division, a division of Office Chief of Signal.