Response to the Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon: Pentagon Family Assistance Center (PFAC) After Action Report
OFFICE OF THE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (PERSONNEL AND READINESS) WASHINGTON DC
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The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania left us horrified, and yet we were awed by the strength and sacrifices so many Americans made immediately afterwards on behalf of fellow citizens. Like New York Citys heroic firemen, police, and emergency workers, military personnel and civilian employees at the Pentagon joined local emergency responders and risked injury and death to save their colleagues. Many of these individuals who were themselves not physically injured, collaborated to assist the families of their fallen colleagues. In a hotel in the shadow of the Pentagon, in the middle of all the chaos of that day, the Office of Family Policy, within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Personnel and Readiness, created something new- the first joint military service family assistance center. The center served as a safe place where families could obtain accurate information, receive counseling, and take advantage of a wide range of support services. The Pentagon Family Assistance Center involved the Departments Military Community and Family Support staff, Federal, State and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and other organizations. Collectively, these organizations and individuals reinvented the DoD tradition of taking care of our own by supporting the families of our fallen comrades, as well as the families of the passengers and crew of American Airlines Flight 77. We learned many lessons from operating a joint family assistance center in the aftermath of this tragedy and have attempted to capture them here. Our hope is that the lessons will never be needed again, but they are here to ensure that the support provided in the wake of future tragedies will be the best possible.
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