Military Exercises and the 9/11 Pentagon Attack

This article's a few months old, but it contains a summary of some important evidence relating to the Pentagon attack and the 9/11 military exercises.

Exclusive Report: Did Military Exercises Facilitate the 9/11 Pentagon Attack?
by Matthew Everett
July 18, 2006

Since 9/11, numerous authors and researchers have drawn attention to training exercises being conducted or prepared for by the US military and other government agencies at the time of the September 11 attacks. With names like Vigilant Guardian, Global Guardian, Timely Alert II, and Tripod, the question has arisen as to what connection these drills might have had with real-world events that morning.[1]

Attention has also been drawn to exercises held prior to 9/11, often bearing an uncanny resemblance to the actual attacks. For example, soon after 9/11 the New Yorker reported: "During the last several years, the government regularly planned for and simulated terrorist attacks, including scenarios that involved multiple-plane hijackings."[2]

USA Today reported: "In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating … hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties. One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center."[3]

As I will show in this essay, exercises also took place that bore a chilling resemblance to the attack on the Pentagon. I will look at evidence suggesting that the Pentagon actually scheduled another such training exercise for the morning of 9/11. I will end by briefly examining the possible implications of these exercises and consideringwhether they might have helped facilitate the attack on the Pentagon.


After 9/11, members of the Bush administration claimed that no one had previously envisioned the kinds of attacks that occurred that day. For example, Condoleezza Rice said: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."[4] However, these claims were totally untrue. Besides the exercise involving the simulated crashing of a plane into the WTC, there were at least three separate exercises in the 12 months prior to 9/11 based around a plane hitting the Pentagon.

The first of these occurred in late October 2000. In the Office of the Secretary of Defense's conference room, military planners held the Pentagon Mass Casualty Exercise, which was based around a passenger aircraft crashing into the Pentagon, with 341 victims. The exercise was first described in a military newspaper in a report that the British Daily Mirror later said, "reads like an account of what actually happened" on 9/11.[5]

The next such exercise occurred in May 2001. As U.S. Medicine later reported, the Department of Defense's response to the 9/11 attacks "was aided by the fact that department medical personnel had carried out a simulation exercise in May in which a hijacked 757 airliner crashed into the Pentagon."[6] The DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic and the Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic, both located within the Pentagon, participated. Doctors James Geiling and John Baxter later said this exercise prepared them well to respond to the Pentagon attack on 9/11.[7]

Presumably referring to the two exercises described above, Lieutenant Colonel John Felicio, the deputy commander for administration of the DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, said: "The saving grace to our efforts [on 9/11] was the two MASCAL exercises we previously had conducted with the clinic leadership and staff. You know it was kind of eerie. The scenario we had for these MASCALS was very similar to what actually happened. Our scenario for both MASCALS was a plane flying into the Pentagon courtyard."[8]

The third exercise occurred in August 2001, just one month before 9/11. This was another mass casualty exercise held at the Pentagon, involving an evacuation of the building. According to General Lance Lord, Air Force Space Command commander, "the scenario for that exercise included a plane hitting the building."[9]


We can see that Pentagon training exercises prior to 9/11 routinely involved the simulated crashing of an aircraft into the building. But might another such exercise have been scheduled for the morning of 9/11? There are various pieces of evidence indicating this may have been the case. Although the existence of such an exercise has never been stated explicitly, this might be because the exercise was declared classified. In fact, supposedly due to the national emergency declared by President Bush in response to the 9/11 attacks, then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz issued a memo to senior DoD officials in October 2001, requesting a particularly high level of secrecy. He urged that "Defense Department employees, as well as persons in other organizations that support DoD, exercise great caution in discussing information related to DoD work, regardless of their duties. Do not conduct any work-related conversations in common areas, public places, while commuting, or over unsecured electronic circuits. Classified information may be discussed only in authorized spaces and with persons having a specific need to know and the proper security clearance. Unclassified information may likewise require protection because it can often be compiled to reveal sensitive conclusions. Much of the information we use to conduct DoD's operations must be withheld from public release because of its sensitivity. If in doubt, do not release or discuss official information except with other DoD personnel."[10]

Despite the secrecy, the combination of evidence I summarize below suggests a training exercise on 9/11, based around an aircraft crashing into the Pentagon:

i) Captain Charles Leidig, Jr. had assumed duties as the deputy for command center operations in the J3 Directorate of the Joint Staff just two months before 9/11. In August 2001, he qualified to stand watch as the deputy director for operations in the National Military Command Center (NMCC), which is located within the Pentagon. The day before 9/11, Brigadier General W. Montague Winfield, the deputy director for operations in the NMCC, requested that Leidig stand a portion of his duty on September 11. Thus, between 8:30 a.m. and roughly 10:30 a.m. that day (i.e. for almost the entire duration of the attacks) a stand-in officer was in charge of convening a Significant Event Conference (subsequently upgraded to an Air Threat Conference) in response to the attacks.[11] No further explanation has been given as to why or how this situation arose. But might the reason (or at least the excuse given) have been that Leidig needed to gain experience as deputy director for operations by assuming this role during a training exercise?

ii) The accounts of some Pentagon medical staff suggest they were preparing for a MASCAL (mass casualty) exercise the morning of September 11. For example, Sergeant Matthew Rosenberg, a medic at the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, recounts: "We had virtually completed our MASCAL plan. ? Believe it or not, the day prior to the incident, I was just on the phone with the FBI, and we were talking 'so who has command should this happen, who has the medical jurisdiction, who does this, who does that,' and we talked about it and talked about it, and he helped me out a lot. And then the next day, during the incident, I actually found him. He was out there on the incident that day."[12] According to Major Lorie A. Brown, chief nurse of the DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic, the morning of 9/11, "We actually had our MASCAL equipment out of the storage areas because we were doing an inventory. So there were many pieces that just fell into place and worked so well on that day. It was just fortuitous. It was just amazing that way that things kind of happened the way they did."[13]

As I have described above, three previous Pentagon exercises incorporated a simulated plane crashing into the place. And early in the morning of 9/11, Matthew Rosenberg was reportedly "down on Corridor 8" of the Pentagon, "grateful for an uninterrupted hour in which he could study a new medical emergency disaster plan based on the unlikely scenario of an airplane crashing into the place."[14] Might he have been studying in preparation for an exercise taking place later that day?

iii) At least two army bases near the Pentagon were conducting training the morning of 9/11 based around terrorist attacks or plane crashes. At Fort Belvoir, about 12 miles south of the Pentagon, they were running a "garrison control exercise," which aimed "to test the security at the base in case of a terrorist attack."[15] At the Education Center at Fort Myer, an army base 1.5 miles northwest of the Pentagon, firefighters were attending what has been described as an "aircraft crash refresher class" and a "week-long class on air field fire fighting."[16]

According to Major Don Arias, NORAD's public affairs officer, "it's common practice, when we have exercises, to get as much bang for the buck as we can. So sometimes we'll have different organizations participating in the same exercise for different reasons."[17] Might the antiterrorist exercise at Fort Belvoir have been scheduled as part of a larger exercise at the nearby Pentagon, and might the "aircraft crash refresher class" at Fort Myer have been scheduled as part of an exercise involving an aircraft crashing into the Pentagon? After all, the Fort Myer Fire Department is responsible for operating the fire station at the Pentagon heliport, just 150 feet from where the building was hit on 9/11.[18]


What is the significance of these training exercises? Is it just coincidence that at least three exercises were held in the year before 9/11, based around the scenario of a plane crashing into the Pentagon? If another aircraft-into-Pentagon exercise was scheduled for 9/11, is this just another even bigger coincidence?

Several writers have suggested a more sinister role played by training exercises that mirror real-world events. They believe such exercises happening at the same time, or prior to an attack, can indicate that a criminal group within the government and military are responsible. According to author Webster Tarpley: "Staff exercises or command exercises are perfect for a rogue network which is forced to conduct its operations using the same communications and computer systems used by other officers who are not necessarily party to the illegal operation, coup or provocation as it may be. A putschist officer [i.e. a rogue officer] may be working at a console next to another officer who is not in on the coup, and who might indeed oppose it if he knew about it. The putschist's behavior is suspicious: what the hell is he doing? The loyal officer looks over and asks the putschist about it. The putschist cites a staff maneuver for which he is preparing. The loyal officer concludes that the putschist's activities are part of an officially sanctioned drill, and his suspicions are allayed. The putschist may even explain that participation in the staff exercise requires a special security clearance which the loyal officer does not have. The conversation ends, and the putschist can go on with his treasonous work."[19]

Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones have elaborated: "The exercise fulfils several different goals. It acts as a cover for the small compartmentalized government terrorists to carry out their operation without the larger security services becoming aware of what they're doing, and, more importantly, if they get caught during the attack or after with any incriminating evidence they can just claim that they were just taking part in the exercise."[20]

Clearly, the plane crash drills at the Pentagon, and the possibility of another such drill having been scheduled for 9/11, raise serious concerns. Considering their similarity to the actual attack, the question of whether they fulfilled the kind of malicious and duplicitous purpose described above needs looking into. Yet the 9/11 Commission Report makes no mention of the three pre-9/11 Pentagon exercises, and fails to consider the possibility of a similar exercise occurring on September 11. This is additional proof that, five years after the event, we are yet to have a proper investigation into the attacks of 9/11.


[1] For a comprehensive list of 9/11-related training exercises, including those taking place on September 11 itself, see the "Military Exercises Up to 9/11" page of Paul Thompson's Complete 911 Timeline:

[2] "September 11, 2001." The New Yorker, September 24, 2001.

[3] Steven Komarow and Tom Squitieri, "NORAD had drills of jets as weapons." USA Today, April 18, 2004.

[4] "National Security Advisor Holds Press Briefing." Office of the Press Secretary, May 16, 2002.

[5] Dennis Ryan, "Contingency Planning: Pentagon MASCAL Exercise Simulates Scenarios in Preparing for Emergencies." MDW News Service, November 3, 2000.; Andy Lines, "Pentagon Chiefs Planned for Jet Attack." Daily Mirror, May 24, 2002.

[6] "Crisis Response Puts Agencies On Path To Better Coordination." U.S. Medicine, January 2002.

[7] Matt Mientka, "Pentagon Medics Trained For Strike." U.S. Medicine, October 2001.

[8] Soldiers to the Rescue: The Medical Response to the Pentagon Attack. Washington, D.C.: Office of Medical History, September 2004, p. 18.

[9] Gen. Lance Lord, "A year ago, a lifetime ago." The Beam, September 13, 2002.

[10] Paul Wolfowitz, Memorandum for Secretaries of the Military Departments, et al., "Operations Security Throughout the Department of Defense." Department of Defense, October 18, 2001.

[11] "Statement of Capt. Charles J. Leidig, Jr. Commandant of Midshipmen United States Naval Academy Before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States." June 17, 2004.; National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Twelfth Public Hearing, June 17, 2004.

[12] Soldiers to the Rescue: The Medical Response to the Pentagon Attack, p. 39.

[13] Ibid., p. 7.

[14] David Maraniss, "September 11, 2001: Steve Miller Ate a Scone, Sheila Moody Did Paperwork, Edmund Glazer Boarded a Plane: Portrait of a Day That Began in Routine and Ended in Ashes." Washington Post, September 16, 2001.

[15] Chuck Hagee, "An Engineer's Expertise Joins a Firefighter's Nightmare." The Connection Newspapers, September 5, 2002.

[16] Alan Wallace, "A Fire Fighter's Story." First Due News, April 17, 2003.; Spc. Jennifer Lilly and Chris Walz, "Local heroes: FMMC fire department reflects on attacks." Pentagram, November 2, 2001.; Michael J. Ward, "Attack on the Pentagon: The initial fire & EMS response." JEMS, April 2002.

[17] Quoted in Michael C. Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2004, p. 367.

[18] "After-Action Report on the Response to the September 11 Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon." Arlington County, July 2002, p. A-20.; Stephen Murphy, "ARFF Crews Respond to the Front Line at Pentagon." NFPA Journal, November 1, 2001.

[19] Webster Griffin Tarpley, 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA. Joshua Tree: Progressive Press, 2005, pp. 204-205.

[20] Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones, "London Underground Bombing 'Exercises' Took Place at Same Time as Real Attack: Culpability cover scenario echoes 9/11 wargames." Prison Planet, July 13, 2005.

there was more plane wreckage in the scale model of MASCAL!


Seriously, though--does anyone really believe Flight 77, with its ridiculously low occupancy rate, was anywhere near this building on 9/11? 


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force

or the same 'wreckage'

it was likely the same "plane wreckage" from the MASCAL exercise that was planted there in wake of the 9/11 event

Yes, we do...

I believe that FL77 did indeed crash into the Pentagon, and Jim Hoffman's site agrees. What does the low occupancy rate of the plane have to do with anything? Flights with low numbers of passengers were probably chosen to reduce the possibility of a passenger revolt interfering with the hijackings.

If the apparent lack of wreckage concerns you, consider that the plane may have been blown up seconds before impact, thus reducing the plane's damage to the Pentagon building. The explosion may have been caused by one of these:

A. A missile fired from the Pentagon's air defense system.

B. Explosives planted on the plane in luggage, similar to Lockerbie. Such a bomb could have been planted with the cooperation of the Israeli-owned company that controlled security at IAD (as well as EWR and BOS).

something you may want to see

the evidence for me is the

the evidence for me is the large landing gear which is verified on the question comes down to whether you think a massive landing gear could be placed covertly.. some might argue placed during reconstruction, but it is really all hearsay.. when you argue 'no plane hit the pentagon' that landing gear will be thrown in your face by anyone who takes the time to try to disprove your theory.

there is a lot about the pentagon scene which is out of place it seems, just the secrecy alone surrounding the scene and the limited number of photos and videos that are available is questionable.

keep in mind dz, the

keep in mind dz, the Pentagon was emptied numerous times on 9/11 because of false reports of incoming aircraft. everyone was cleared out for long stretches.

Or planted beforehand

This is where a military exercise could have been ideal cover for planting evidence, especially if it was going to be another one based around a plane crashing into the Pentagon. Because Wedge 1 was mostly empty before 9/11 due to the renovation, the plotters could perhaps have planted the landing gear and other plane debris in vacant rooms. If anyone asked, they could have said it was being stored there ready for the forthcoming exercise, when it would be used to make the simulated plane crash appear more realistic. Then after the Pentagon is hit on 9/11, they can falsely claim that this debris is from the attacking plane, when in truth it had been planted there beforehand.

I'm not saying this is what happened. But it is certainly a possibility that will need to be investigated.

Bravo to you, shoestring.

Bravo to you, shoestring. You are one of the few participants in this forum who actually is trying to figure out who did what on 9/11.

The terror drills were a perfect opportunity for the conspirators to "practice" for the big day, with no one able to pin anything on them for it. Then, later, they get to bash the loyal members of the government over the head for being "incompetent," since they were thus "warned" and should have been prepared! What a one-two punch!

Now we have to figure out who exactly was planning and participating in these drills. But don't wait for any new guvment commission to do it. Don't hold your breath waiting for the new regime of Democrat bozos to investigate it. We have to find out this stuff for ourselves. We can do that by making connections with the loyal members of the government and getting them to talk. This should be the focus of the 9/11 truth movement.

Fabricated evidence

I think the military exercises are really important and raise many possibilities.

If there was an exercise planned for the morning of 9/11 based around a plane crashing into the Pentagon, as this article suggests, among other things it would have provided good cover for any rogue operator wishing to plant evidence. If they'd got caught, perhaps planting a piece of 757 debris, they could simply have said "this is for the exercise, to make it more realistic."

guess they didn't like the hotlink


OK so...  the plane exploded before impact?  Not only does that not jibe with the released video frames bu surely we would expect to see some burned grass, some charring on the surrounding structures, etc.  Not there from what I can see.  The landing gear was found inside?  OK, where is it now?  Who positively identified it as the landing gear of AA Flight 77?  I've heard all major parts of an aircraft are coded with identifying info--where is the collection of parts found?  Why was no reconstruction done?  But really, let's get back to the picture--did the plane go inside, if so through where?  If it blew up outside, where is there any sign of that?  This photo was taken shortly after the hit, so it represents the best idea we have of the post hit state of the Pentagon (before people showed up and corrupted the crime scene.  So... what does it look like? 


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force

You seem to be falling for

You seem to be falling for the common fallacy that since it has not been proved to you that AAL77 crashed into the Pentagon, therefore AAL77 could not have crashed into the Pentagon. The authorities who handled this crash scene are naturally going to be secretive, even if they are not in on the conspiracy. That's the nature of the higher levels of the US military.

Furthermore, those who are in on the conpiracy have an incentive not to prove to anyone that AAL77 was what hit the Pentagon: by refraining from doing so, they are giving encouragement to truth activists like you to follow an incorrect path, and thus discredit all 9/11 truth efforts as being wild conspiracy theories.

Look at the big picture, Real Truther. What advantage did the conspiracy gain by crashing something else into the Pentagon? Why not crash the real thing there? Why increase the complexity of the operation by having to figure out a way to get rid of a 757 with 50 passengers aboard?




i'm LOOKING at the big picture

above, and still marveling that anyone could look at that and think "yeah, it looks like a big jumbo jet just crashed there."

As far as Flight 77 and what happened to it, we can start speculating as to that once we know for a fact that it was a real flight that even took off that day. We KNOW planes hit the towers, so there is reason to leave open the possibility that those passengers and crew were in fact on them when the planes were commandeered (not by terrists onboard, mind you, but by accessing the flight computer and autopilot).

In the case of the Pentagon, there is no way a Boeing flew into it, sorry. That isn't wild speculation, that is an observation. Never mind what it is said was found inside (landing gear, fake corpses, whatever) no Boeing crashed at the Pentagon. Wild speculation is imagining that a big plane did, and how it might have left no trace as it sneaked through a small hole to leave pieces of itself inside.

What is much more likely is that a missile, perhaps even one disguised as a small plane, and carrying a tip of depleted uranium, was fired at the building. Or maybe it was just explosives placed inside, or both. What we can be sure of though is that Barbara Olson et al did not die in a passenger plane crash at the Pentagon. That is a fairy tale that was spun by the perps for the benefit of people who would not look into the case for themselves. Passengers on Flight 77, if it flew that day or not, are most likely alive and well and living beyond the reach of the law, since they are presumed dead. You would think that at least one member of a family of someone on that plane would have decided to forego the 1.5 million dollars of "victims compensation"hush money in order to sue the obviously negligent security folks at Dulles and/or American Airlines. Were ther any that chose that route? I don't know of any.

So again, Andrew, if it was true that Flight 77 had hit the Pentagon we would have ample proof of the fact by now. Instead we have a mish mash of contradictory testimony and physical evidence. You can engage in wild speculation as to what hit the Pentagon or what actually happened to Flight 77 but that is not what I do. I simply look at the evidence and decide where I think it points. How am I speculating wildly when I am not the one making claims that go against the apparently obvious facts shown in the big picture above?


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force


I guess we'll have to agree

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. But you still haven't explained what the conpirators gained by this ruse. They clearly were able to commandeer two other flights and fly them into buildings. Why not do the same at the Pentagon? Why a big, complicated bait and switch?

Anyway, I invite you to go to Jim Hoffman's site, 911research., and then explain what is wrong with his analysis. (He comes to the conclusion that AAL77 did indeed hit the Pentagon.)

i'm happy to disagree on this

to me the whole Pentagon aspect was a bit of a sideshow, which is why I focus on the WTC demolition, where most people actually were killed that day.

I've been to Hoffman's site before and don't recall it convincing me. But if you want to summarize his best points I'm all ears (eyes).


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force


Here is Hoffman's page that

Here is Hoffman's page that deals with the Pentagon attack:

Hoffman seems to be well respected among the participants in 9/11blogger, and with good reason. I consider his site to be the gold standard in 9/11 research. He does note on his site that for many years he agreed with the "no 757 hit the Pentagon" theory, until he realized that many of those expounding that theory were supporting it with flimsy evidence .

I do not have his capacity for technical analysis, so I'll just post an excerpt from the page I listed above:

"Proponents of the no-757-impact theories have argued that photographic evidence, being physical evidence, is more objective than eyewitness evidence and therefore outweighs it. The fundamental problem with applying this reasoning to the Pentagon crash is that it ignores the inferences required to conclude that no 757 hit the Pentagon based on the photographs. The eyewitness evidence is direct, with many witnesses claiming to have seen a twin-engine jetliner fly into the Pentagon and explode. Scores of other witnesses corroborate that account. In contrast, there is no credible photographic evidence showing the Pentagon being hit by something other than a jetliner -- only photographs of building damage and surroundings that many believe is inconsistent with the crash of a 757 based on a series of inferences. Errors in many of those inferences are exposed here....

"A scientific approach to resolving questions about the attack is to draw conclusions directly supported by all of the credible evidence and then formulating hypotheses that fit those conclusions. We believe that that a careful examination of the photographic and eyewitness evidence strongly supports the following conclusions, if it does not prove them.

* A Boeing 757 or very similar aircraft crashed into the Pentagon
* Portions of the plane were destroyed before impact
* The attack involved an explosive detonation not explainable by jet fuel combustion"