On the day of the terror attacks, two F-16 fighters were ordered to make the ultimate sacrifice, ram their jets into one of the airliners. But, one of the jets crashed, was brought down by the heroism of its passengers.
The two pilots, Lieutenant Colonel Marc Sasseville and Lieutenant Heather Penney Garcia, saw what was happening as passenger planes became guided missiles.
On that day, they took off in their fighter jets, without weapons except for the plane itself. This day called on the pilots to give that what was expected, and they did not hesitate.
When terrorists used American airlines to crash into the Twin Towers
Earlier, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed at the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 am, which many assumed was an accident. About 17 minutes later, the United Airlines Flight 175 slammed into the South Tower, and now it was clear that the US was under attack.
The Pentagon lost control, never imagining such an attack would have confused the US military. Ordered up were Sasseville and Garcia on their jets that become the weapons to stop any plane attempting to make another attack. It was a one-way trip, reported the Daily Star.
The designated plane for the kamikaze mission is the United Airlines Flight 93. To destroy it at all costs, passengers revealed that the US capitol building would be the target. But on the doomed flight 93, a drama was unfolding as the plane was under terrorist control, noted News 4jax.
Kamikaze mission of F-16 fighters to take down Flight 93
When the two F-16 fighters were flying on September 11, they lacked missiles and guns with non-lethal dummy rounds, leaving the pilot no option but to ram at speed. It would mean certain death for the two pilots, but they still were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
As the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks were unfolding, then-Air Force Lt. Heather Penney was given a mission to intercept hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 before it reached D.C. The rookie F-16 pilot said she believed she would not come back from that mission. https://t.co/loAe6GASpI pic.twitter.com/jClNWi9di2— ABC News (@ABC) September 11, 2021
On the ground, after the crash into the World Trade Towers, it was death and destruction, below and shock. The lead plane, Sasseville, would be the death blow crashing into the cockpit, while Garcia would destroy the tail by impacting it, cited NBC News. None of them had ever trained for a kamikaze mission or to stop an enormous airliner. It would take more than an engine failure to stop a death dive on the Capitol.
Major Daniel Caine of the 113th Wing of the Washington DC Air National Guard called Kenneth Beauchamp of the secret service to offer the air guards services as the progress of the attack.
The secret service to the major would not be necessary as the base 10 in the southeast of DC had pilots scrambled. Then-Vice President Dick Cheney ordered an operation in the bunker called the underground Presidential Emergency Operations Centre. Caine was already preparing for a foray to arm planes while Sasseville and Garcia were getting ready. Besides the two on the mission, there were Captain Brandon Rasmussen and Major Daniel Caine. The Major told the others they were flying blind and gave the frequency to contact.
Brigadier General David Wherley authorized Sasseville by whatever means, he accepted and his wingman. Both left the Andrews Air Force Base at 10:42 am, barely armed.
These two F-16 fighters on 9/11 never had to make the ultimate sacrifice, as Flight 93 crashed in a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, due to the heroism of the passengers leaving everyone dead, including the terrorists. The act of heroism displayed by the passengers of Flight 93 will forever be remembered, same with Pilots Sasseville and Garcia, who never hesitated to give the ultimate sacrifice on a Kamikaze mission.