Title

James Bohon Shares his Story from the Morning of 9/11

Presenter / Creator Information

James Bohon

Document Type

Personal Reflection

What were you doing on 9/11? (Or, What was your interviewee doing on 9/11?)

Just beginning our descent into Houston when the first plane hit although none of the airborne crews knew it (unless you were in the NYC area). I was a First Officer on a 737 for Continental Airlines. Operations still appeared normal at that time including passengers deplaning and the rest of the crew getting off. I was the only crewmember staying with the plane and had about an hour before the next departure for Orange County, California. I did a walk-a-round and decided to try my new cell phone from the cockpit so called my wife. She immediately asked where I was as both of my brothers in Georgia had seen the news and knew I was on a trip that included stops in NY. Her first report was that there had been a mid-air over the city and the Trade Center had been hit. I cut the call short and as none of my crew had shown up, I went up the jetway to see what had happened. By now the ramp had become unusually quiet and as I got to the top of the jetway, the terminal entrance door was locked which was very unusual. A couple raps on the door and an agent opened it and immediately told me that the rest of my crew was across the corridor and she gave me the code to the training room they were in. I noticed all of the passenger TVs were blacked out. As I entered the silent room with the rest of my crew, I noticed all eyes were on the only operational TV I had seen. It was probably about five minutes later the second plane hit. Even the reporters seemed at a loss for words as it was obvious now that the first plane was no accident. Now there was a second one and there were still more airborne. A few minutes later the Pentagon was hit and somewhere during this time the agent came by to inform all crews that the airport was closed and all flights were canceled. The Captain and I went on down to the crew room where there was a team already assembled to get rooms for crewmembers needing them, priority to those of us still on the schedule. Commuters who were off the clock quickly cleaned out all the rental cars, bus seats, and any other means of transportation as no one knew what was happening to our country and those with families were eager to get home to them. That wasn't an option for me but thanks to the fairly new cell phones I could keep in touch frequently although there were some traffic jams on those as well. It would take several hours before our country's leaders and President Bush could report what was going on, the fear was that we were at War but with who? Once the fourth plane went down in Pennsylvania and the only other jets in the sky over the USA were the US Military, it appeared the attacks were over. I finally got home via the first flight to Pensacola on day four after the attacks. 9/11 was the saddest day for our country since 1941 and I think many of us felt so helpless but yet envious of those F15 and other Pilots that guarded our Nation's skies for the next couple of days. President Bush stated that these people would pay for our loss and in a way that happened although I'm sure he agrees there can never be an equal to the loss of 3,000 lives. Jim Bohon, DAB '72

How did 9/11 affect you personally and or professionally?

I am a retired USAF pilot and was just coming up for an upgrade to Captain when 9/11 happened. This delayed everyone by at least two years as all three pilot planes were permanently parked.

On 9/11, what sector were you (OR your interviewee) in?

Airlines, Not a pilot

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James Bohon Shares his Story from the Morning of 9/11

I am a retired USAF pilot and was just coming up for an upgrade to Captain when 9/11 happened. This delayed everyone by at least two years as all three pilot planes were permanently parked.