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United Airlines Held a Plane Crash Exercise Just Before 9/11

 
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Shoestring
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:27 pm    Post subject: United Airlines Held a Plane Crash Exercise Just Before 9/11 Reply with quote

Here is my new blog entry, in which I describe a training exercise held at United Airlines' headquarters less than two weeks before 9/11, which was so realistic that when the terrorist attacks took place on September 11, the manager who'd run the exercise had to assure his personnel that the attacks were "not a drill."

You can read the original article, with links to sources, on my blog, here:
http://shoestring911.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/united-airlines-held-exerc ise-so.html

United Airlines Held an Exercise So Realistic That Its Personnel Had to Be Reassured That the 9/11 Attacks Were 'Not a Drill'

United Airlines personnel were subjected to a surprise training exercise 12 days before 9/11 in which they were led to believe that one of their planes had crashed. The exercise was so realistic that some of them ended up in tears or became physically sick. Consequently, on September 11, 2001, when two United Airlines planes were hijacked and then crashed, the manager who organized the exercise apparently thought his employees had mistaken reports about the terrorist attacks for part of an exercise and therefore told them, "This is not a drill!"

Furthermore, United Airlines had previously conducted other exercises that were based around scenarios resembling aspects of the 9/11 attacks, which may have caused its employees to be confused on September 11 over whether the crisis that day was real or simulated. The scenarios included hijackings and planes crashing into buildings.

We need to consider whether these exercises hindered the ability of United Airlines personnel to respond to the attacks on September 11. If they did, was this intentional? Did people involved in planning the 9/11 attacks help organize exercises that would lead to confusion on September 11, so as to increase the likelihood that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon would succeed?

'NO-NOTICE' EXERCISE INVOLVED A PILOT INDICATING THAT HIS PLANE HAD CRASHED
The exercise held 12 days before 9/11 was arranged by Andy Studdert, United Airlines' chief operating officer, who was based at the airline's headquarters, near Chicago. Studdert has claimed that the exercise came about because he had been concerned that United Airlines hadn't had to deal with a "real accident" in over 15 years and was therefore unprepared to respond adequately should one occur.

Around March 2001, he notified other managers at his airline that he intended to run a surprise exercise to address the problem. "One of these days, I'm gonna come in here and I'm gonna do a no-notice drill," he told them. [1] (A "no-notice" drill is an exercise that is conducted without its participants being given any formal advance notice of when it will occur. [2])

Studdert ran this no-notice drill on August 30, 2001. [3] Only two people, apart from him, knew about it in advance: a pilot and a colleague of Studdert's who Studdert has only referred to as his "safety guy." (This "safety guy" may well have been Ed Soliday, United Airlines' vice president of safety and security.)

After he arrived at work, Studdert told his "safety guy" to call the pilot of a United Airlines Boeing 747 that would be flying to Australia that day and tell him to simulate an emergency. Based on Studdert's instructions, the pilot was told to call in during his flight and say his plane had experienced an "uncontained number three engine failure, rapid descent, decompression." He was told that halfway through the word "decompression" he should stop talking and then remain silent. He was also told to turn off his plane's transponder around the time he stopped talking to ground personnel. [4] (A transponder is a device that sends an aircraft's identifying information, speed, and altitude to the radar screens of air traffic controllers. [5])

AIRLINE'S CRISIS CENTER WAS OPENED DURING THE EXERCISE
The exercise took place in the afternoon. At around 2:00 p.m., Studdert's secretary rushed into Studdert's office and said a Boeing 747 had lost contact while flying over the Pacific Ocean. In response to the news, Studdert ran to the United Airlines operations center. [6] The operations center, located in a building adjacent to the headquarters building, was a room about the size of a football field in which a few hundred people worked, tracking planes and pulling up information relating to the airline's flights. [7]

United Airlines' normal procedure when there was a crisis involving one of its planes was to isolate that aircraft and move the handling of it to the crisis center, so as to avoid disrupting operations in the rest of the system. Located just off the operations center, the crisis center was "a terraced, theater-like room that resembled NASA's Mission Control," according to journalist and author Jere Longman. On one of its walls, a large screen displayed the locations of United Airlines' flights. Other screens showed CNN and other television news channels. [8]

After reaching the operations center, Studdert opened the crisis center so his personnel could respond to the simulated emergency from there. [9] This was a major action. "Opening a crisis center in an airline is the single most significant thing you do," Studdert has commented. When the crisis center was opened, Studdert said, everyone at United Airlines had "a second job, and that second job is to either run ... the rest of the airline or act to support the crisis." It meant 3,000 employees were "put on an immediate activation." [10] Once the center had been opened, a representative from every division of the airline's corporate structure was required to report there and carry out specific predetermined duties. [11]

DEVASTATED EMPLOYEES THOUGHT THE SIMULATED EMERGENCY WAS REAL
Around the time Studdert opened the crisis center, employees in the operations center genuinely thought one of their planes had crashed. They presumably believed hundreds of people had died in the catastrophe. Some of them were extremely upset. "There [were] people throwing up in the hall; there [were] people crying; there [were] people just staring out the windows," Studdert recalled.

And yet, despite this disturbing response to the simulated crisis, Studdert let his employees believe one of their planes had crashed for 30 minutes. He then went on the crisis center's communications link, which, he described, "has got 170 stations and people all over the country, all over the world," and revealed that the apparent catastrophe was just simulated. "This has been a no-notice drill," he announced. "There is no event. Everything's fine." [12]

There was a furious response to what Studdert had done in the following days. The exercise was deemed inappropriately intense and emotionally damaging. "I had the board members calling; I had the unions demanding I be fired; I had people telling me I'm the most evil person in the world," Studdert recalled. [13] Some airline employees "wanted to kill me," he said. [14]

Studdert's exercise must surely have been unprecedented in how realistic and intense it was. It seems unlikely that the exercise would have elicited such a severe response if United Airlines had conducted anything like it before. How curious it seems that United Airlines personnel were subjected to such a dramatic simulated emergency less than two weeks before September 11, when they had to respond to a genuine emergency involving two of their aircraft.

EXERCISE HAD SIMILARITES TO INCIDENTS AIRLINE PERSONNEL DEALT WITH ON SEPTEMBER 11
Bearing in mind that Andy Studdert's exercise was very realistic, took place without participants knowing about it in advance, and involved United Airlines personnel having to respond to problems similar to those they faced on September 11, we should consider whether this exercise had a detrimental effect on United Airlines' response to the 9/11 attacks. Specifically, did it cause airline personnel to mistakenly think reports they received about the terrorist attacks on September 11 were part of an exercise?

Studdert claimed that the response of United Airlines personnel to the 9/11 attacks was improved due to his exercise. He said the exercise revealed weaknesses that were quickly addressed. For example, out-of-date phone numbers were updated. [15] He also claimed that, despite the initial outcry, some airline employees were grateful after 9/11 for what he had done. "It's amazing, after 9/11 ... how many people came up to me and thanked me [for running the exercise], because we were ready [on September 11]," he said. [16]

Some evidence, though, suggests that personnel who were in the United Airlines operations center on September 11 could have thought reports they received about the terrorist attacks that day were part of another no-notice exercise. If they indeed mistook events on September 11 for part of an exercise, their ability to respond to the attacks was presumably impeded as a result.

There were certainly notable similarities between incidents United Airlines employees had to deal with during the 9/11 attacks and the simulated crisis they had faced in the exercise on August 30, which make it seem a genuine possibility that these people mistook events on September 11 for an exercise scenario.

To begin with, in the exercise and on September 11, radio contact was lost with United Airlines planes. In the exercise, the plane involved was the Boeing 747 flying to Australia; on September 11, the planes involved were United Airlines Flight 175--the second aircraft to be hijacked that day--and United Airlines Flight 93--the fourth aircraft to be hijacked. [17]

On both occasions, United Airlines personnel had to deal with alterations to the transponder signal from their planes. In the cases of the Boeing 747 involved in the exercise and Flight 93, the transponder went off; in the case of Flight 175, the transponder remained on but its signal changed. [18]

On both occasions, airline personnel had to deal with plane crashes, albeit only a simulated crash in the exercise. And on both occasions, United Airlines' crisis center was activated. During the exercise, Studdert activated the crisis center after he arrived at the operations center. [19] On September 11, managers started activating the crisis center at around 9:00 a.m., after contact with Flight 175 was lost and operations center personnel were told by a supervisor at the United Airlines maintenance office in San Francisco that the plane had been reported as hijacked. [20]

MANAGER TOLD HIS EMPLOYEES, 'THIS IS NOT A DRILL'
Although it is unclear whether United Airlines employees mistook events on September 11 for part of an exercise, Andy Studdert certainly appears to have been concerned at the time that this was the case.

At 8:46 a.m. on September 11, when the first hijacked plane--American Airlines Flight 11--crashed into the World Trade Center, Studdert was in a meeting at United Airlines headquarters with Jim Goodwin, the airline's chairman and CEO, and several of his colleagues. Someone in the operations center called Studdert's secretary with the news about the crash and she interrupted Goodwin's meeting to pass on the information. Upon hearing what had happened, Studdert promptly headed across the United Airlines complex to the operations center.

When he arrived there and asked for confirmation that an American Airlines plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, Studdert was told that contact had been lost with a United Airlines plane, Flight 175. [21] (This plane was hijacked sometime between 8:42 a.m. and 8:46 a.m., according to The 9/11 Commission Report. [22]) Then, at around 9:00 a.m., he was told about the call from the supervisor at the airline's maintenance office in San Francisco, in which the supervisor said Flight 175 had been reported as hijacked. [23]

Aware now of the crisis that operations center personnel were facing, Studdert shouted out, "This is not a drill!" [24] Presumably his concern that employees might think the current situation was part of a drill was, to at least some degree, due to the fact that they had been confronted with such a dramatic and realistic simulated emergency in his exercise 12 days earlier.

Patti Carson, United Airlines' vice president of human resources, also seems to have been concerned that airline personnel might have mistaken real events for part of an exercise. Carson followed Studdert to the operations center after he learned about Flight 11 crashing into the World Trade Center. After she saw the live television coverage of Flight 175 hitting the World Trade Center, at 9:03 a.m., she went into the crisis center and started making phone calls to the human resources leaders of the airline's other crisis centers around the United States. She told these people that "there had been an aircraft accident, possibly multiple ones." Notably, she has recalled, she told them that "[t]his was not a drill." [25] Might Carson have been concerned because the people she called had been deceived into thinking an air disaster had occurred when Studdert held his exercise on August 30 and she was therefore worried they might think the current crisis was also simulated as part of an exercise?

Newspaper reports have been contradictory as to whether personnel at the United Airlines operations center thought the initial reports they received about the 9/11 attacks were genuine or part of an exercise. USA Today suggested that when Studdert announced that the crisis was "not a drill," operations center personnel already understood it was real. "[T]he staff already knows" this is not an exercise, it reported. [26] The Chicago Tribune, however, indicated that operations center staffers may indeed have thought the emergency they were learning about was part of an exercise. Studdert announced that the crisis was "not a drill" because he sensed "disbelief among his employees," it reported. [27]

OTHER UNITED AIRLINES EXERCISES HAD SIMILARITIES TO THE 9/11 ATTACKS
The possibility that United Airlines personnel mistakenly thought the crisis on September 11 was part of an exercise seems more likely when we consider that other exercises they may have participated in, on top of the one on August 30, involved simulated emergencies that resembled incidents the airline had to deal with during the 9/11 attacks.

United Airlines' crisis center held exercises four times a year before 9/11. These exercises included "security scenarios" and "hijacking scenarios," according to Ed Soliday. [28] Might their participation in exercises that involved hijacking scenarios have led United Airlines employees to mistakenly think the reported hijackings of their aircraft--Flight 175 and Flight 93--on September 11 were part of an exercise?

Other scenarios in the exercises included "two planes crashing into one another, planes crashing into buildings," and "two planes crashing in separate incidents within a few hours of one another," according to John Kiker, United Airlines' vice president of worldwide communications at the time of the 9/11 attacks. [29] Might their participation in exercises based around the scenario of planes crashing into buildings have caused United Airlines personnel to think reports they received about planes hitting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11 were simulated, since they knew their company would include these kinds of events in its exercises?

Although we might assume that images of the World Trade Center on fire and other television coverage of the 9/11 attacks would have convinced United Airlines personnel that the crisis on September 11 was genuine and not part of an exercise, this may not necessarily have been the case, since United Airlines had previously used simulated television footage in its exercises, presumably to make them more realistic. For example, in October 1996, the airline held an exercise in which a group of its employees gathered in the crisis center to respond to the hypothetical crash of one of their airliners in Caracas, Venezuela. During the exercise, the employees saw simulated television coverage "of the burning airplane beamed onto a screen," according to the Wall Street Journal. [30] If United Airlines personnel were used to seeing simulated footage of air disasters during exercises, they could presumably have thought the television coverage they saw of the 9/11 attacks was also simulated, as part of an exercise.

Furthermore, the likelihood that the crisis center's quarterly exercises led United Airlines personnel to mistake the 9/11 attacks for part of an exercise may have been increased due to the fact that many of these exercises were apparently no-notice drills. They were held "usually without warning," Kiker said. Kiker indicated that he usually only found out one of these exercises had been held after it had taken place. "Typically, I get a call informing me that there is a crisis test and outlining what just happened," he said. [31] So if United Airlines personnel had regularly been confronted with simulated emergencies without being told beforehand that an exercise was going to be held, surely they could have thought the crisis on September 11 was part of another exercise that they had not been told about in advance.

DID UNITED AIRLINES PERSONNEL THINK THE 9/11 ATTACKS WERE PART OF AN EXERCISE?
Andy Studdert's exercise on August 30, 2001, and other exercises in which United Airlines employees faced simulated incidents that resembled real events they had to deal with on September 11 require closer scrutiny. Since two of the planes that were hijacked and crashed during the 9/11 attacks belonged to United Airlines, the ability of the airline's personnel to respond to the attacks is an important area of concern and anything that may have impaired it should be examined thoroughly.

Many questions need to be addressed. Certainly, personnel who were in the United Airlines operations center on August 30, 2001, need to be questioned about their experiences during the exercise that day. Furthermore, who was the pilot who gave the impression that his plane had crashed in the exercise? Why did this pilot agree to go along with such a repulsive plan? Did he consider the devastation the simulated crash might cause among his airline's employees? He only learned about the exercise and received instructions on what to do on the day the exercise was held, according to Studdert. So why did he agree to take part in such a dramatic and apparently unprecedented deception at such short notice?

Additionally, those who were working in the United Airlines operations center on September 11 need to be asked about their experiences that day. Did they ever think the crisis was part of a no-notice exercise? If they did, how long did it take before they realized the attacks were real?

Although Studdert announced that the crisis was "not a drill" when he arrived at the operations center, did those in the center believe him? Studdert had demonstrated how deceptive he could be when he let his employees mistakenly think one of their planes had crashed in the exercise 12 days earlier. Many of these employees may consequently have considered him untrustworthy and have thought the crisis on September 11 was simulated, despite his assurance that it was real.

And since United Airlines' crisis center had been activated during Studdert's exercise on August 30 and during other exercises, did airline personnel think the activation of the center on September 11 was again part of an exercise?

It would also be worth investigating whether United Airlines personnel who worked at locations other than the airline's operations center were deceived into thinking one of their planes had crashed when Studdert held his exercise. According to one report, most of United Airlines' "extensive global staff" believed the apparent crash on August 30 was real. [32] And Studdert indicated this was the case. He said that on August 30, he announced that the apparent catastrophe had been just "a no-notice drill" over the crisis center's communications link, which had "170 stations and people all over the country, all over the world." [33] Presumably it would only have been necessary to notify personnel around the United States and around the world that the apparent emergency was just part of an exercise if airline employees at locations other than the operations center had been led to believe one of their planes had crashed.

If United Airlines personnel at locations other than the operations center were indeed deceived during the exercise on August 30, did any of them consequently think, on September 11, that reports they received relating to the day's terrorist attacks were part of an exercise?

WAS THE EXERCISE DESIGNED TO HELP THE 9/11 ATTACKS SUCCEED?
It is certainly intriguing that such a dramatic and realistic exercise took place just 12 days before September 11, when, like during the exercise, United Airlines personnel had to deal with the loss of contact with their aircraft, changes to their planes' transponder signals, and plane crashes. Andy Studdert's exercise almost appears as if it was designed to impede United Airlines' response to the 9/11 attacks, by causing employees to be confused over whether the attacks were real or simulated.

Was the occurrence of this exercise so soon before 9/11 just a coincidence, then, or was the exercise conducted for malicious reasons? Could it have intentionally been held so as to cause confusion on September 11 and thereby increase the likelihood that the attacks that day would succeed? If this was the case, who exactly planned it? Was it Studdert on his own or were other people, whose roles have yet to be revealed, involved?

Although some information about the exercise on August 30, 2001, and other United Airlines exercises before 9/11 has come to light, there is still much that is unknown. And yet it is possible that these exercises played a significant role in ensuring the 9/11 attacks were successful. It is important, therefore, that they are examined thoroughly as part of a new investigation of 9/11.

NOTES
[1] Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Preparing Your Organization for a Crisis: Lessons From United Airlines Emergency Preparation, Pre-9/11." YouTube video, 3:55, March 15, 2012; Amber Johnson, "How to Prepare for a Crisis: Lessons From United's 9/11 Chief of Operations." Center for Values-Driven Leadership, April 26, 2012.
[2] "TOPOFF Exercise Activity Anticipated for Monday." United States Department of Justice, May 21, 2000; Thomas V. Inglesby, Rita Grossman, and Tara O'Toole, "A Plague on Your City: Observations From TOPOFF." Clinical Infectious Diseases 32, no. 3 (2001): 436-445; "Step 2: Develop Scope." Exercise Builder, n.d.
[3] Andy Studdert, "What Can Aerials Learn From Aviation?" Presentation, IPAF Asia Conference, Kowloon, Hong Kong, May 26, 2015.
[4] Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Preparing Your Organization for a Crisis"; Stacey Becker, "In Dubuque, Ex-Airline Executive Recounts 9/11 Crisis." Dubuque Telegraph Herald, November 12, 2015.
[5] 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.
[6] Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Preparing Your Organization for a Crisis."
[7] Jere Longman, Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back. New York: HarperCollins, 2002, p. 77; Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Leadership in the 9/11 Crisis Room." YouTube video, 6:10, April 23, 2012.
[8] Jere Longman, Among the Heroes, p. 77; Alan Levin, Marilyn Adams, and Blake Morrison, "Part I: Terror Attacks Brought Drastic Decision: Clear the Skies." USA Today, August 12, 2002; "Memorandum for the Record: Briefing on the United Airlines System Operations Control Center and Crisis Center." 9/11 Commission, November 20, 2003.
[9] Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Preparing Your Organization for a Crisis."
[10] Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Leadership in the 9/11 Crisis Room."
[11] "Memorandum for the Record: Briefing on the United Airlines System Operations Control Center and Crisis Center."
[12] Alan Levin, Marilyn Adams, and Blake Morrison, "Part I: Terror Attacks Brought Drastic Decision: Clear the Skies"; Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Preparing Your Organization for a Crisis"; Stacey Becker, "In Dubuque, Ex-Airline Executive Recounts 9/11 Crisis."
[13] Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Preparing Your Organization for a Crisis"; Amber Johnson, "How to Prepare for a Crisis."
[14] Stacey Becker, "In Dubuque, Ex-Airline Executive Recounts 9/11 Crisis."
[15] Ibid.
[16] Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Preparing Your Organization for a Crisis."
[17] Staff Report: The Four Flights. 9/11 Commission, August 26, 2004, pp. 20-21, 38-39; Stacey Becker, "In Dubuque, Ex-Airline Executive Recounts 9/11 Crisis."
[18] Staff Report: The Four Flights, pp. 21, 43; Stacey Becker, "In Dubuque, Ex-Airline Executive Recounts 9/11 Crisis."
[19] Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Preparing Your Organization for a Crisis."
[20] Scott McCartney and Susan Carey, "American, United Watched and Worked in Horror as Sept. 11 Hijackings Unfolded." Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2001; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Rich Miles, UAL Manager of Station Operations Control." 9/11 Commission, November 21, 2003; "Statement of Andrew P. Studdert to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States." 9/11 Commission, January 27, 2004; Staff Report: The Four Flights, p. 22.
[21] Scott McCartney and Susan Carey, "American, United Watched and Worked in Horror as Sept. 11 Hijackings Unfolded"; "Bankruptcy Provides Time, No Guarantees." Chicago Tribune, July 16, 2003; Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Leadership in the 9/11 Crisis Room."
[22] 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004, p. 7.
[23] "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Andy Studdert, Chief Operating Officer of United Airlines." 9/11 Commission, November 20, 2003; Staff Report: The Four Flights, p. 22.
[24] Alan Levin, Marilyn Adams, and Blake Morrison, "Part I: Terror Attacks Brought Drastic Decision: Clear the Skies"; "Bankruptcy Provides Time, No Guarantees."
[25] "Reality HR with Patti Carson." HR.com, July 1, 2005.
[26] Alan Levin, Marilyn Adams, and Blake Morrison, "Part I: Terror Attacks Brought Drastic Decision: Clear the Skies."
[27] "Bankruptcy Provides Time, No Guarantees."
[28] "Memorandum for the Record: Briefing on the United Airlines System Operations Control Center and Crisis Center"; "Memorandum for the Record: Interview With Captain Ed Soliday, Former Vice President of Safety, Security and Quality Assurance for United Airlines (Part II)." 9/11 Commission, November 21, 2003.
[29] Paul Holmes, "For United Airlines, a Crisis Without Precedent." Holmes Report, October 3, 2001.
[30] Susan Carey, "Recent Drills Help United Cope With Airport Collision." Wall Street Journal, November 21, 1996.
[31] Paul Holmes, "For United Airlines, a Crisis Without Precedent."
[32] Amber Johnson, "How to Prepare for a Crisis."
[33] Center for Values-Driven Leadership, "Preparing Your Organization for a Crisis."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great post, shoestring.

This reminds me of all the WTC businesses preparing IT Disaster Recovery plans immediately before 9/11. IBM stated that they had recovered all of the businesses in the WTC within 20 days of the event.

In general, business is very bad at preparing for disaster (IT-wise) with the military is very good at such things. However on 9/11 the reverse occurred with business recovering quickly (although I understand a few companies did go bankrupt because of a lack of a DR plan) and the military losing all its financial audit data both at the Pentagon and with the data back-ups (stored in WTC7). It took a decade before the DoD finances were in a state where they could be audited properly.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the good words, scienceplease.

Interestingly, Kathryn Laborie, who was a flight attendant on United Airlines Flight 175, told her father, shortly before 9/11, that she had been undertaking training with her airline in how to deal with terrorists. Check out the following entry from the Complete 9/11 Timeline, which has all the details:

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a0801unitedtraining&sca le=0
(August 2001): United Airlines Conducting Antiterrorism Training
A flight attendant who will be on board one of the hijacked planes on 9/11 reveals that she is undertaking training to deal with terrorists, but will not give any details. [Rocky Mountain News, 9/6/2006] Kathryn LaBorie has been working for United Airlines for nearly seven years. [Rocky Mountain News, 9/18/2001] While visiting her parents in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the weeks before 9/11, she mentions terrorists and the training she is undergoing at United Airlines to deal with them. Her father, Gene Yancey, later recalls: “She started to say something to me about terrorists, and the fear of, and then she wouldn’t talk to me anymore about it.” He will add, “I don’t know why to this day, but she wouldn’t talk about it any more than that introduction.” [Rocky Mountain News, 9/6/2006] LaBorie will be on Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center, on 9/11. [Rocky Mountain News, 9/18/2001]

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shoestring wrote:
Thanks for the good words, scienceplease.

Interestingly, Kathryn Laborie, who was a flight attendant on United Airlines Flight 175, told her father, shortly before 9/11, that she had been undertaking training with her airline in how to deal with terrorists. Check out the following entry from the Complete 9/11 Timeline, which has all the details:

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a0801unitedtraining&sca le=0
(August 2001): United Airlines Conducting Antiterrorism Training
A flight attendant who will be on board one of the hijacked planes on 9/11 reveals that she is undertaking training to deal with terrorists, but will not give any details. [Rocky Mountain News, 9/6/2006] Kathryn LaBorie has been working for United Airlines for nearly seven years. [Rocky Mountain News, 9/18/2001] While visiting her parents in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the weeks before 9/11, she mentions terrorists and the training she is undergoing at United Airlines to deal with them. Her father, Gene Yancey, later recalls: “She started to say something to me about terrorists, and the fear of, and then she wouldn’t talk to me anymore about it.” He will add, “I don’t know why to this day, but she wouldn’t talk about it any more than that introduction.” [Rocky Mountain News, 9/6/2006] LaBorie will be on Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center, on 9/11. [Rocky Mountain News, 9/18/2001]


Always strange stuff... so I immediately googled Kathryn Laborie and this was the top hit... I'm sure you'd see the same weird stuff that I see (my italics)

http://unitedafa.org/afa/honors/911/img/heroes/kathryn_laborie.htm

Quote:
Kathryn LaBorie

Kathryn LaBorieBy the time United Airlines called, Gene and Flo Yancey of Colorado Springs already knew in their hearts that their only daughter was dead.

Kathryn LaBorie, 42, a flight attendant based out of Boston, worked only two routes: to Los Angeles and to San Francisco.

LaBorie's parents had the television on when it happened.

"I tried to call on her cellphone. It was just silence," her father, Gene Yancey, said Monday. "United called us fairly soon that day, 9:55 a.m. our time, but we knew."

Those who knew LaBorie, a 1975 graduate of Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, used nearly identical words to describe her.

"She was a vivacious young lady," said Adams County Commissioner Ted Strickland, who met her in 1986 when she worked on his gubernatorial campaign.

"She was just charming and vivacious and a lot of fun," said JoAnn Groff, president of the Colorado Retail Council.

Survivors include her husband of two years, Eric, her parents and two brothers, Mark and Kevin.

"The theme is a celebration of Kathy's life," Yancey said. "We're going to make it as uplifting as possible."

Yancey, a retired Air Force officer, was stationed in Albuquerque when his daughter was born on March 14, 1957, a day after his wife celebrated her 22nd birthday.

"We always celebrated their birthdays together," Yancey said.

LaBorie was raised in Colorado Springs. After high school she attended the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She later won a scholarship to the University of Denver.

LaBorie first joined Strickland's campaign as a volunteer, but later became a paid staffer, he said. It was during that time that she met Bill Schultz, the then-director of the retail council. The couple married and later divorced.

"A lot of people in Denver knew her through Bill," Groff said. "I just can't describe how much fun she was."

Strickland said that while flying to campaign stops, Laborie became friendly with the staff at Front Range Airport and went to work there.

LaBorie had worked for United Airlines for nearly seven years.

"She loved to fly," her father said. "There are no words to describe how we feel."


As far as I could tell there is only 21 posts in the "shared thoughts and memories" section for all victims on this website dedicated to United Airlines staff. I hadn't quite appreciated how many UA staff were on 175

Captain: Victor Saracini
First Officer: Michael Horrocks
Flight Attendant: Robert J. Fangman
Flight Attendant: Amy N. Jarret
Flight Attendant: Amy R. King
Flight Attendant: Kathryn LaBorie
Flight Attendant: Alfred G. Marchand
Flight Attendant: Michael C. Tarrou
Flight Attendant: Alicia N. Titus

Also on UA #175:
Customer Service Representatives:
Marianne MacFarlane
Jesus Sanchez
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