Retired sea captain recalls his Pentagon service in the 9/11 attacks


SAN ANTONIO – The events of September 11, 2001 had an impact and changed the lives of everyone directly and indirectly across the country and the world. These tragic events still weigh heavily on the hearts of many Americans 20 years later.

Ken Jarvis is a man who has seen the good, the bad and the ugly in his 36 years of service in the United States Navy.

Jarvis, who has made two tours of Vietnam, said he didn’t necessarily dwell on past events, but said that particular date was always on his mind.

Twenty years ago, Jarvis represented the Navy Theater Ballistic Missile Defense Program in Washington DC. His office was outside the Pentagon.

On Sunday, September 9, 2001, Jarvis was aboard a red-eyed plane en route to London, England, on a mission, a mission that ultimately kept him out of harm’s way.

“My office was in the Navy Annex at the Pentagon, but I was often at the Navy Command Center and if I had been in the Command Center I would have been killed along with everyone. The entire surveillance section was killed that day. I lost people I saw on a daily basis, ”Jarvis said.

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The hijacking of US airline Flight 77 wiped out the section of the Pentagon it frequented on a daily basis. One hundred and twenty-five people were killed that morning, including everyone on that plane. For Jarvis, his anxiety didn’t come from the thought that he might have been one of the victims, but more from his worry for the people he worked with.

“I just had a huge, huge sense of confusion of God, who’s dead and who’s alive?” What is happening? It’s my office, it’s my home away from home, there are people I love who work there.

Jarvis said security was tightening in England, but it was after learning of the attacks that he immediately volunteered at the United States Embassy to help.

He helped manage the many people who came to sign the condolence book. The then Ambassador William S. Farish III and the Prime Minister were present that day for a joint media event. Jarvis said it was then that he was able to see and feel firsthand the love and support of the American allies.

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I had tears in my eyes before you arrived this morning as I watched the memorial services. It came to me as I was reflecting on my experiences in London, ”said Jarvis.

Although two decades have passed, he said he will never forget the efforts of the first responders who lost their lives that day.

Jarvis said he will always carry the memory of his colleagues near and dear to his heart. And as he reflects on how quickly time has passed, he addresses the faces he has seen every day with sadness, love and hope.

“I attended three of your funerals and we miss you … among all of you who gave your life, there was a goal and we have to keep fighting for that goal, we have to stop being so divided. We have to forget about being Republicans and Democrats to be just Americans, ”Jarvis said.

Jarvis was on board the second flight cleared to return to the United States shortly after the attacks. He adds that the theft was rather uneventful, but it was impossible to think of anything other than what had just happened.

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