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New 9/11 Timeline Entries: Fighters on Training Mission, Special Ops Exercise, Intercepts over the Atlantic, and More

From the History Commons Groups blog:

Entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, which, in particular, reveal new details about events from the day of September 11.

Several entries describe how a group of fighter jets from Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts were taking part in a training mission when the terrorist attacks began. Although the pilots of these jets had seen two other fighters taking off from their base in response to the hijacked Flight 11, they were unaware of the reason for the scramble. They therefore continued with their training mission--described as a "mock war scenario"--over the Atlantic Ocean.

The fighters were recalled to Otis Air Base after the base started preparing all of its fighters for takeoff. At least one of the pilots involved in the training mission soon took off again. Along with another pilot, his first task was to intercept a military cargo plane over the Atlantic. The two fighters were subsequently sent to New York, where they helped patrol the airspace over the city. Before returning to their base, they were directed to inspect a supposedly suspicious aircraft that turned out to be just a tanker plane that had been providing them with fuel.

Military personnel were also concerned about a convoy of aircraft approaching America across the Atlantic, which repeatedly failed to respond to radio communications. But when fighters intercepted the convoy, they found it was just some military planes coming back from Europe.

One timeline entry describes how the military contacted a tanker plane from Bangor, Maine, just after 9:00 a.m. and arranged for it to provide fuel to the fighters launched in response to Flight 11, and yet the tanker appears to have inexplicably been unavailable to support those fighters for the next half hour. Another tanker from Bangor was flying off the coast of North Carolina when the attacks began, in order to participate in a training mission.

Thomas McGuinness is revealed to have only been assigned as the co-pilot of Flight 11 on the afternoon before 9/11, pushing from the flight another pilot who'd signed up for the position minutes earlier. Another entry describes how the control tower at Boston's Logan Airport was called about Flight 11 when contact with it was lost; a tower employee immediately wondered if the plane had been hijacked.

And on September 11, a new entry reveals, the US military's elite counterterrorism force was making its final preparations for a forthcoming major exercise based on the scenario of terrorists threatening to attack the US with a chemical, biological, or nuclear weapon.

Source.

"One timeline entry describes

"One timeline entry describes how the :military contacted a tanker plane from Bangor, Maine, just after 9:00 a.m. and arranged for it to provide fuel to the fighters launched in response to Flight 11, and yet the tanker appears to have inexplicably been unavailable to support those fighters for the next half hour."[Quote]

That's a pretty neat trick. The planes were scrambled at 8:52 (radar at 8:53) and are low on fuel before 9:00! Having traveled only about 50 miles (see 911 Commission Map of Otis fighter's flight route & their location at 9:03). Considering F15's have combat radius of over 1,200 miles and that these were carrying 3 external fuel tanks (Boston Globe 9/11/05) I'm of the opinion that the low on fuel claim is an outright lie to cover up for Col Marr refusing the request at 9:09 to scramble Langley. If Langley had scrambled at 9:09 those aircraft would have been up over Washington DC in time to protect it from an attack from any direction (South West - Flight 77/North East - phantom Flight 11). There would have been no reason to send Langley fighters to New York. The Otis fighters were already there and were NOT low on fuel.

Another military exercise on 9/11 ...

Here is yet another military exercise that was being prepared for on 9/11, this one based around "a foe like al-Qaeda" threatening to attack the US with an unconventional weapon:

(After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Military's Counterterrorism Force Cancels Preparations for Exercise Based on Terrorists Threatening to Attack US
The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which is the US military's elite counterterrorism force, cancels its final preparations for a large-scale training exercise that is based on the scenario of terrorists threatening to attack the US with an unconventional weapon. The exercise, code-named Ellipse Charlie, would involve Special Operations troops who are trained in hostage-rescue operations and counterterrorism missions "rehearsing a complicated mock attack from a foe like al-Qaeda," according to journalists Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker. ...
Source.

That's one more to add to the list!

Books for 9/11 researchers now available online

Anyone researching 9/11 may find the following books useful, all of which you can now download for free:

Pentagon 9/11, by Alfred Goldberg et al.:
http://osdhistory.defense.gov/docs/Pentagon%209-11.pdf

Then Came the Fire: Personal Accounts from the Pentagon, 11 September 2001, by Stephen J. Lofgren (editor):
http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/070/70-119-1/CMH_Pub_70-119-1.pdf

Attack on the Pentagon: The Medical Response to 9/11, by Mary Ellen Condon-Rall:
http://www.bordeninstitute.army.mil/other_pub/pentagon.html

Air National Guard at 60: A History, by Susan Rosenfeld and Charles J. Gross:
http://www.ang.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-080527-040.pdf

Although these are all official publications, they do contain some valuable information.