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(8:34 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Boston Center Calls Atlantic City Military Unit to Request Fighters; Outcome of Call Unclear

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Apparently around 8:34 a.m., Boston Center attempts to contact an Atlantic City, New Jersey, military unit, to have it send fighters after Flight 11. However, the outcome of this call, and whether it is even answered, is unclear. [1]

Atlantic City International Airport Wikipedia.png is the home of the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard Wikipedia.png, which flies F-16 fighter jets. The 177th FW was part of NORAD’s alert force for many years, and kept two F-16s constantly on alert, ready to scramble when requested. But in October 1998, as a result of Pentagon cutbacks, it lost its scramble-ready status and began converting to a general-purpose F-16 mission [see 1]. . [2]

The outcome of Boston Center’s attempt at contacting the Atlantic City unit is unclear. The 9/11 Commission will only state, “The center… tried to contact a former alert site in Atlantic City, unaware it had been phased out.”[1] NEADS will also try contacting the unit minutes later, but its call will not be answered [see 2].[3]

The Bergen Record will later comment that, with the removal of the Atlantic City fighters from NORAD’s alert mission, “the Pentagon left what seems to be a yawning gap in the midsection of its air defenses on the East Coast—a gap with New York City at the center.” . [4] Around this time, two F-16s from the 177th FW are away from base performing a training mission, and are just minutes from New York City, but the pilots are unaware of the unfolding crisis [see 3].

  1. 1.0 1.1 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 20
  2. [GLOBALSECURITY (.ORG), 10/29/2001; BERGEN RECORD, 12/5/2003]
  3. Lynn Spencer (2008). Touching History:The Untold Story..... 34
  4. [[[BERGEN RECORD]], 12/5/2003]

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