11 September 2009

Peter J. Ganci, Jr. (October 27, 1946 - September 11, 2001)

Eight years ago today, I was living in Oak Harbor, Washington, and awakened by a phone call by my dad that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. My immediate thought was that it was probably cloudy and some Cessna pilot had probably gotten lost and/or confused and flew into the tower. Turning on the TV, I couldn't have been more wrong.

After waking up my roommate and his (then girlfriend) wife, we watched in horror as the second plane crashed into the South Tower, and then saw both towers collapse soon thereafter.

It was almost an afterthought that we were currently in training at VAQ-129 (EA-6B Prowler Fleet Readiness Squadron, or "Rag"). We were in "ground school," meaning we were doing several weeks of academic training prior to flying.

Getting to the base (NAS Whidbey Island) was actually very easy on 9/11, probably due to the fact that things were still unfolding and it just wasn't very clear at that time what was going on (of course, 9/12 and beyond took hours and hours to get on base, and this is a small town on an island in a remote corner of the state).

As air traffic was shut down, the training flight schedule was also canceled. But ground school classes were not canceled. I remember sitting in class realizing no one was doing any learning, because everyone wanted to know what was going on. During every break, we would huddle around the TV in the front office, trying to find out any bit of news.

We had several people in our class who had relatives in New York City. Sadly, one of my fellow students, Dave Ganci, lost his uncle on 9/11: Peter J. Ganci, Jr., Chief of Department, the highest ranking uniformed fire officer in the NYFD. While we weren't especially close, Dave and I were friends, fellow NFOs and ECMOs, brothers in arms, and every 9/11 I think of the Ganci family and the loss they suffered that day.
Post a Comment