Protecting the president: Flying Bush to safety on 9/11
Former Air Force One pilot opens up
- Duration 4:04
- Date Sep 11, 2012
Former Air Force One pilot opens up
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-- loses control of Air Force One on September 11 eleven years ago would George W.
Bush on board now eleven years later retired colonel mark Tillman.
It's -- up about that day and how he believes Americans change because of it he joins us live from the great city of Dallas morning to colonel.
-- good morning all right as as -- and you came on the program last year told his story live from ground zero.
When it was realized that it was terrorism.
You -- on the tarmac there in Sarasota.
And knowing that terrorists could be after you.
What did you do what did you order onboard air.
Force want to make sure that president was safe.
Once we realize that there was potential for us to be attacked as well we went ahead and attempted to move the aircraft in the -- is told immediately the president be coming to us that we.
We hold tight the other situation was we increased the perimeter of the run on the aircraft to make sure no one could get near the aircraft or near the president.
That's -- time in just radar -- for.
Quick flight back to Washington DC is directed by the president sure and I understand kernel that what she did -- you double checks everybody's identity and everybody you've got an Air Force One make sure they were who they said they were.
And you had a guy with the gun outside your cockpit door.
-- absolutely be the plan of attack could was to make sure everybody was accounted for on the aircraft as we normally did.
However in this situation we have double check to make sure -- The gentleman at the foot of the stairs and then -- the cockpit -- -- -- Just to make sure that we cover all the bases I was.
Where he learned of the attack he wanted to get right back to Washington but you thought since you did hear from vice president.
Dick Cheney that Angel which was that code signed for Air Force One could be next yet go someplace else.
Yeah absolutely that we are looking at all the options available to us and the first option wasn't to take the president -- into the so called war zone where.
Still aircraft were hijacked in not knowing what their target was.
Or plan of attack was to -- mirror born taken somewhat of safe location however.
On the staff and the president was that was his desires to -- back to Washington.
And no lead the country from Washington DC you very.
Very unique position but I can see it happen when President Bush -- so first -- landed in not far from Shreveport -- took off for Omaha and then you went back to Washington DC.
And colonel I understand it what's it can tell you actually landed there Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington.
That it dawned on you what you had done that day.
You know the whole the whole day we are seeing.
Accounts of the attacks on the television but.
Wasn't so we descended on in Sanders that we could see the Pentagon small learning.
And once we landed you didn't.
That the feeling was could we have done it better is kind of -- helplessness of the situation.
Not knowing how many years -- -- hijacker and then once -- once they were hijacked trying to.
You know -- the president actions try to make a determination as to what to do with the final airliner.
And in the end you know within an hour and a half an hour 45 minutes.
Everything was complete now is our job just amateur the -- -- wounds.
Protective for the rest of the day thing -- you know that that we're gonna go to ground zero very shortly that's how they commemorate things here in New York City for what about for you what it's 9/11 mean to you.
You know every every year after 9/11 we ready to Air Force One we got it set up for any kind of possible.
Attack -- -- country we knew.
Terrorist says that same concept -- for me 9/11 was just a timer remembrance always sit down and watch the ground zero ceremonies pending in such pentagon ceremonies and just reflect on the day you're absolutely right and colonel mark Tillman -- us from Dallas state.
Thank you sir for your service in telling your story.
Thank you so -- reviewing it.