Air Force fighter pilot says he was prepared to use his plane as a weapon to protect DC on 9/11
JOINT BASE ANDREWS - The nation is just one day away from marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and stories of bravery from those who responded are still being told.
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FOX 5's Bob Barnard visited Joint Base Andrews and spoke with U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Marc H. Sasseville who was with the 121st Fighter Squadron on the day of the attacks.
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Sasseville says he and the others on the ground that day rushed to their aircraft trying to get into the sky as quickly as possible once the news broke of the attacks. "As soon as we realized what was happening, as soon as we knew we were under attack -- the entire wing, the entire base, the entire capital region – as you know, swung into action," Sasseville said. "Our part of that – I thought – was to get into the air as soon as possible."
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Sasseville said he and others rushed into the air as fast as they could – but their jets were not all fully prepared and armed. Sasseville said he and his wingman took off without ammunition or missiles.
"Not only was it a tremendously challenging ethical dilemma we were facing – but the reality of trying to stop something like that – a big airliner – from hitting a target -- was something that we really wrestled with," Sasseville told Barnard. He said as he and his wingman rushed toward their plane they decided to use their aircraft to strike and disable any planes that posed a threat. "In the end – the ethical dilemma is the needs of the one versus the needs of the many," Sasseville said.
Luckily, Sasseville and the others at Joint Base Andrews were not faced with that challenge that day as they took to the air.