Sgt. 1st Class Craig J. Anspaugh - Gulf Wars Veteran
On September 10th, 2001 my unit, the 26th Signal BN, boarded a flight to Egypt for a training mission. On the way we made a few stops to pick up other troops. One of the stops was Toledo, Ohio; and at the time, I made a comment to one of the soldiers that had I known we were going to be here this long, I would have made arrangements to go home and have dinner with my family in Osseo, Michigan.
After picking up everyone, we were off to Egypt. We made at least one more stop for fuel and were finally on our last flight to Egypt. As the plane was landing in Egypt and the engines were powered back, I noticed all of the armored vehicles on the runway. We were probably no more than 50 feet from touch down when we heard the engines go back to full power and the landing was aborted. We circled the base for what seemed like hours.
By now it was September 11 and we were finally told that the Egyptians weren't going to allow us to land; but, eventually the plane's fuel ran too low and they were forced to let us land. I don't know how long it was between our landing and when the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon had been hit, neither of which we knew about at that time. By this time, we had been on the plane for 24 hours or more and even though we had landed we were restricted to the airplane. Finally, after sitting on the plane for 2-3 hours, we were loaded onto several buses and were told to close the curtains and not look out the windows. We still had not been given an explanation of what was happening.
When we finally got to an Egyptian base, we were moved to a fortified building. Of course all of us were concerned, we had been on other deployments and things had never been handled this way. We were finally told that planes had hit the World Trade Center Towers and Pentagon. Having had very little sleep in over 36 hours, we did not understand the scope of the attack. We were moved again to another base and set up a defensive positions with the MP troops that were with us. Over the next 24-36 hours we were told to prepare to redeploy somewhere in the Middle East or other possible locations. However, once our Command had finally receive further instructions we stayed in Egypt to complete our training mission.
In late October to early November, we finally saw the actual footage of the attack when a wife of one of the soldiers sent us a video. You could literally have heard a pin drop. Reactions ranged from total disbelief, shock, sorrow, dismay, and mostly we were pissed off . We knew that it was just a matter of time before we would be deploying to get the people responsible for attacking America and, I tell you, all of us were ready to go.
Craig J. Anspaugh