Sailors attached to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Virginia Beach stood together and observed a moment of silence during morning colors to remember and honor the lives of the nearly 3,000 lost, their families, and survivors dealing with the Pentagon, World Trade Center, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania terrorists attacks of 2001, Sept. 11.
“The events that occurred on September 11th have changed the way an entire generation has served our country,” said IWTC Virginia Beach’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. James Brennan. “Many of our students were only infants and don’t remember exactly where they were or what they felt that day. For those of us that were in uniform at the time, it’s our responsibility to help them understand the impacts it made in our country and how it shaped us to who we are today.”
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, 19 militants affiliated with al-Qaida boarded four separate American civilian aircraft. At 8:45 a.m. an American Boeing 767 loaded with nearly 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center between the 93rd and 99th floors.
Nearly an hour after the first attacks in New York City, a separate civilian aircraft crashed into the west side of the Pentagon killing 125 personnel. Among those killed in the Pentagon were Jerry Moran, Brady Howell, Angela Houtz, Information Systems Technician First Class (IT1) Julian Cooper, Lt. j.g. Darrin Pontell, Lt. Jonas Panik, Lt. Cmdr. Otis Tolbert and Cmdr. Daniel Shanower, all members of what today is considered the information warfare community (IWC). At IWTC Virginia Beach, these heroes are included in the Hall of Valor which honors the intelligence community members whom have died in all armed conflict since World War I.
Later in the morning another aircraft, United Flight 93, crash landed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania killing all of the 37 passengers and seven crew members onboard.
In response to the attacks, Sailors have deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines, Libya, Syria, Somalia and a myriad of other locations spanning the globe in response to numerous maritime and joint operations as well as various contingencies.
Since the events of 9/11, the IWC has adapted to challenging mission set while implementing new capabilities as the United States continued to fight simultaneous wars. In the last 19 years, the IWC has also maintained vigilance through continuous forward deployments and the development of new technologies as they continue to monitor emerging threats emanating from overseas.
“The tragic events of 9/11 brought to light a new threat that this country had never dealt with before,” said Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Ashley Gorham, IWTC Virginia Beach N71 directorate leading chief petty officer. “A cowardly attack that took nearly three thousand American lives.
In response, Americans put their differences aside and worked together to overcome the tragedy that scarred them, and told the world with one voice that freedom was still alive.”
Nearly 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorists attacks, and many more have died in the resulting Global War on Terror. Among the thousands whom have made the ultimate sacrifice, there are 22 current or former members of the IWC whom have died in combat operations or combat related training.
IWTC Virginia Beach, located in Dam Neck Annex, currently offers 65 courses of instruction in information technology, cryptology, and intelligence with an instructor and support staff of 280 military, civilian, and contractors who train over 6,500 students every year. It is one of four schoolhouses for the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) and oversees learning sites at Jacksonville and Mayport, Florida; Kings Bay, Georgia; and Groton, Connecticut to continue aligning information warfare community training.
With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 20,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
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