Remembrance and Reflection – 20th Anniversary of September 11, 2001

Reading Time: 1 minute

Written by Stan Murphy

Pentagon Post 9/11 Repairs, Arlington VA

I don’t recall the exact moment that it was decided that the replacement portion of the building would be reoccupied in one year, but it came out very early in the process. From that point on everything that was done focused on that mission. To make this happen, an old military maxim came to mind: “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” The structural engineer was fond of using this saying.

After the Search & Rescue phase of the operation, ECS initially had two primary missions:

  1. Conduct materials testing and evaluation to help determine the extent of the damage to the in-place concrete due to the heat from the fires and – to a lesser degree – the impact of the plane. This information was intended to assist the structural engineer in determining what portions of the damaged area could be repaired as part of the restoration process and what portions would be demolished and replaced.
  2. As requested by the structural engineer, conduct load testing on the existing piles to see if the load capacity could handle the increased weight of the replacement structure.

During the reconstruction phase, ECS provided traditional construction materials testing for the work that was accomplished.

One other word comes to mind for the project is ‘humbling’. This was especially true when we were initially working in the damaged sections adjacent to the impact or fire-damaged areas. It was humbling to have to do our work in areas where military members and defense civilians had gathered, worked, laughed and many died. It could really get to you.