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Ralph Eberhart
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General Ralph E. "Ed" Eberhart
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1968 – 2005
Rank General
Unit 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron
Commands held North American Aerospace Defense Command

General Ralph Edward "Ed" Eberhart was Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.He was in charge of NORAD on 9/11.

General Eberhart entered the Air Force in 1968 as a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy Wikipedia. His staff experience includes serving as Executive Officer to the Air Force Chief of Staff at Headquarters U.S. Air Force; Deputy Chief of Staff for Inspection, Safety and Security, Headquarters Tactical Air Command; Director for Programs and Evaluation, Headquarters U.S. Air Force; Director of Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, the Joint Staff; and Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. The general has also served as Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Commander, Air Combat Command, Commander, Air Force Space Command, and as Commander in Chief, U.S. Space Command.

General Eberhart has commanded a flight, squadron, wing, numbered air force and two major commands, as well as one sub-unified command, two unified commands and one bi-national command. While Commander of the 363rd Tactical Fighter Wing during Operation Desert Shield, the unit established the theater's initial air-to-ground combat capability from a forward operating location. A command pilot, General Eberhart has logged more than 5,000 hours, primarily in fighter and trainer aircraft, including 300 combat missions as a forward air controller in Vietnam.

EducationEdit

File:Eberhart Olds Seith.PNG
  • 1964 McCluer High School, Ferguson, Missouri [1]
  • 1968 Bachelor of Science degree in political science, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • 1973 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
  • 1974 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
  • 1977 Master's degree in political science, Troy State University
  • 1987 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.

AssignmentsEdit

  1. August 1968 - August 1969, student, undergraduate pilot training, 615th Student Squadron, Air Training Command, Craig AFB, Alabama
  2. February 1970 - December 1970, forward air controller, 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, Pleiku Air Base, South Vietnam
  3. December 1970 - June 1974, T-38 instructor pilot, assistant flight commander, flight commander and headquarters squadron commander, 71st Flying Training Wing, Vance AFB, Oklahoma
  4. June 1974 - June 1975, resource manager, Air Staff Training Program, Special Category Management Section, Rated Career Management Branch, Headquarters Air Force Military Personnel Center, Randolph AFB, Texas
  5. December 1975 - February 1977, F-4E flight commander and instructor pilot, 525th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Bitburg AB, West Germany
  6. February 1977 - December 1978, F-4E instructor pilot, standardization and evaluation flight examiner, and assistant Chief, Standardization and Evaluation, 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hahn AB, West Germany
  7. January 1979 - July 1980, action officer, Readiness Initiative Group, Directorate of Operations, later, Chief, Executive Committee, Air Force Budget Issues Team, Directorate of Plans, Congressional and External Affairs Division, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  8. July 1980 - June 1982, aide to the Commander in Chief, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and Commander, Allied Air Forces Central Europe, Ramstein AB, West Germany
  9. September 1982 - May 1984, Commander, 10th Tactical Fighter Squadron, later, Assistant Deputy Commander for Operations, 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hahn AB, West Germany
  10. May 1984 - July 1986, executive officer to the Air Force Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  11. July 1986 - July 1987, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
  12. July 1987 - October 1990, Vice Commander, later, Commander, 363rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Shaw AFB, South Carolina
  13. October 1990 - February 1991, Deputy Chief of Staff for Inspection, Safety and Security, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, Virginia
  14. February 1991 - February 1994, Director, Directorate of Programs and Evaluation, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  15. February 1994 - June 1995, Director, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, the Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.
  16. June 1995 - June 1996, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  17. June 1996 - June 1997, Commander, U.S. Forces, Japan, and Commander, 5th Air Force, Yokota AB, Japan
  18. July 1997 - June 1999, Vice Chief of Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
  19. June 1999 - February 2000, Commander, Air Combat Command, Langley AFB, Virginia
  20. February 2000 - April 2002, Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command; Commander, Air Force Space Command; and Department of Defense Manager for Manned Space Flight Support Operations, Peterson AFB, Colorado
  21. April 2002 - October 2002, Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command, and Department of Defense Manager for Manned Space Flight Support Operations, Peterson AFB, Colorado
  22. October 2002 - January 1st, 2005, Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and USNORTHCOM (as U.S. Space Command by then ceased to exist and merged into USSTRATCOM), Peterson AFB, Colorado

TimelineEdit

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September 10, 2001: Military ‘Infocon’ Alert Level Reduced because of Perceived Lower Threat of Computer AttacksEdit

The US military reduces the Information Operations Condition (Infocon) to Normal—the lowest possible threat level—less than 12 hours before the 9/11 attacks commence, reportedly due to reduced fears of attacks on computer networks. Level Reduced Due to 'Decreased Threat' - The Infocon level is lowered to Normal, meaning there is no special threat, at 9:09 p.m. this evening. The reason for this, according to historical records for the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, is “a decreased threat from hacker and virus attacks on the computer networks across the US.” [COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE, 5/3/2001; 1ST FIGHTER WING HISTORY OFFICE, 12/2001] Since October 1999, the commander of the US Space Command has been in charge of Defense Department computer network defense, and has had the authority to declare Infocon levels. [IANEWSLETTER, 12/2000 ] General Ralph Eberhart, the current commander of both the US Space Command and NORAD, is thus responsible for evaluating the threat to US military computers and issuing information conditions—“Infocons”—to the US military. He is presumably therefore responsible for lowering the Infocon level this evening. Higher Infocon Level Requires More Precautions - It is unclear what difference the reduced Infocon level makes. But an e-mail sent earlier in the year from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, where NORAD and the US Space Command are headquartered, revealed the steps to be taken when the Infocon level is raised one level from Normal, to Alpha. These steps include “changing passwords, updating keys used to create classified communication lines, minimizing cell phone use, backing up important documents on hard drive, updating virus protection on home computers, reporting suspicious activity, and reviewing checklists.” [COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE, 5/3/2001] Level Increased Earlier in Year - It is also unclear what the Infocon level was prior to being reduced this evening and why it had been at that raised level. Pentagon networks were raised to Infocon Alpha for the first time at the end of April this year, as a precaution against attacks on US systems, after Chinese hackers warned of such attacks in Internet chat room postings. [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 4/30/2001; COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE, 5/3/2001; UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 7/24/2001] The Infocon level was raised to Alpha a second time in late July, due to the threat posed by the Code Red computer virus. [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 7/24/2001; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 7/24/2001] It will be raised again, from Normal to Alpha, during the morning of September 11, immediately after the second attack on the World Trade Center takes place (see 9:04 a.m. September 11, 2001). [1ST FIGHTER WING HISTORY OFFICE, 12/2001] System Intended to Protect Defense Department Computers - The Joint Chiefs of Staff established the Infocon system in March 1999 in response to the growing and sophisticated threat to Defense Department information networks. The system is intended as a structured, coordinated approach to defend against and react to attacks on Defense Department systems and networks. Reportedly, it “provides a structured, operational approach to uniformly heighten or reduce defensive posture, defend against unauthorized activity, and mitigate sustained damage to the defense information infrastructure.” It is analogous to other Defense Department alert systems, such as Defense Condition (Defcon) and Threat Condition (Threatcon). The Infocon system comprises five levels of threat, each with its own procedures for protecting systems and networks. These levels go from Normal, through Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie, up to Delta, which, according to Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, is when “You’re currently under an absolutely massive hack attack, from a variety of means, from a variety of sources. You’re talking a very concerted, focused attack effort to get into [Defense Department] systems.” [IANEWSLETTER, 12/2000 ; GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, 3/29/2001 ; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 7/24/2001] Entity Tags: Ralph Eberhart, US Department of Defense Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

(6:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) September 11, 2001: Radar Located in Northeast US Offline for Repair WorkEdit

Military radar in [Massachusetts, which is used by NEADS, is out of use this morning in order to undergo maintenance work. [2][3]

The J53 radar in North Truro, Massachusetts, is one of a number of radar sites that NEADS receives data from. [4] [5][6] It has a range of 250 miles. According to Technical Sergeant Jeffrey Richmond, the assistant air surveillance technician at NEADS, J53 is scheduled to go down this morning for some major repairs to be carried out. [2] [3]

A member of staff[which?] at NEADS apparently refers to the J53 radar being offline shortly after those on the NEADS operations floor learn of the Flight 11 hijacking [see 1] and while they are trying to locate the hijacked aircraft. She mentions that NEADS technicians “still should be able to get it” (presumably referring to the plane’s radar track) “without 53.” [7] (According to Richmond, the area covered by J53 is overlapped by other radars, “so the need for radar to undergo routine maintenance is accounted for.”) ID technician Shelley Watson will later recall that the NEADS ID desk uses the J53 radar as a point from which it attempts to locate Flight 11. At some time during the morning, Richmond insists that J53 be put back online at some capacity. Whether this happens is unstated. [2] [3]

The J53 radar site is part of the Joint Surveillance System.[8] [9] [10] The JSS consists of “long-range radar sites around the perimeter of the US, with data shared by the Department of Defense Wikipedia, FAA, Customs, and others.” A 2003 Department of Defense report will state that, at the time of the 9/11 attacks, US air defense relies “largely on outward looking ground-based radars, specifically, the Joint Surveillance System.” [11] According to General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD Wikipedia, NORAD has access to the JSS, “which is that system that rings the United States and looks out.” He will say this system “looks for that foreign threat. It looks for someone coming into our airspace that’s not authorized.” [12]

(8.46 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD Operations Center Receives First Notification of Hijacking; Approves Launching of FightersEdit

in a template Immediately after ordering the scrambling of fighters after Flight 11, NEADS calls Canadian Captain Mike Jellinek at NORAD’s operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Wikipedia. It informs him that the FAA is reporting a hijacking and requesting NORAD support, and asks for NORAD commander-in-chief approval for the scramble..  [13]

The Cheyenne Mountain operations center “provides warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.” [14] Its role is to “fuse every critical piece of information NORAD has into a concise and crystalline snapshot,” and the mandate of its staff is “to respond to any threat in the skies over Canada and the United States.”. [15]

This is apparently the first time it becomes aware of the morning’s emergency. Mike Jellinek is sitting near Canadian Major General Rick Findley, NORAD’s director of combat operations, who has just completed the night shift. Findley’s staff is “already on high alert” because of Vigilant Guardian and Operation Northern Vigilance, a training exercise and a NORAD operation that are currently in progress. According to some accounts, Findley quickly gives Jellinek “thumbs up” approval for the sending of the fighters after Flight 11. However, Findley tells CNN Wikipedia that after learning of the hijacking, “I just kind of asked the question, OK, folks, open up our checklist, follow our NORAD instruction, which included, at that time, to ask in either Ottawa or Washington is it OK if we use NORAD fighters to escort a potential hijacked aircraft?” Findley also later states, “At that point all we thought was we’ve got an airplane hijacked and we were going to provide an escort as requested. We certainly didn’t know it was going to play out as it did.” . [16]

Findley remains in charge of the NORAD operations center. His staff feeds information to NORAD Commander-in-Chief Ralph Eberhart, and Findley himself is in phone contact with Eberhart several times during the crisis. Eberhart is in his office at NORAD headquarters Wikipedia, at nearby Peterson Air Force Base, but will relocate to Cheyenne Mountain later in the morning [see 2].. [17]

(Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Myers Learns of Second Attack but Does Not Head Back to Pentagon; Reports Are ContradictoryEdit

Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers learns of the second attack on the World Trade Center. According to some reports, Myers entered a meeting on Capitol Hill with Senator Max Cleland (D-GA) just minutes before the second plane hit the WTC (see Shortly Before 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001). There are confused accounts of when he learns of this second attack and what he does in response. Myers later tells NBC News, “[S]omewhere in the middle of that meeting, they came in and said the second tower has been hit… and I think that’s when we figured out something—that America or at least the World Trade Center is under attack.” He adds, “And then I left the office,” and, he says, NORAD Commander Ralph Eberhart then calls him. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] Similarly, in his 2009 memoirs, Myers will write that Cleland “had started preparing a pot of tea, but we hadn’t taken a sip when a staff person came in from the outer office and informed us that the second tower had been hit. We both knew the interview was over and started out to the TV to see the South Tower erupting with smoke and flame.” [MYERS, 2009, PP. 8] In testimony on September 13, 2001, Myers will state, “[A]fter the second tower was hit, I spoke to the commander of NORAD, General Eberhart.” [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001] In a speech in 2006, Myers says that after the second attack occurs, “The meeting was over very quickly.” [COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 6/29/2006] He will tell CNN, “[W]hen the second target was hit, we knew something was up, so we rushed back to the Pentagon.” [CNN, 4/15/2003] Yet in an interview five weeks after 9/11, Myers claims, “Nobody informed us” when the second tower was hit, “But when we came out [of our meeting], that was obvious.” [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001] And, according to several accounts, he does not leave Capitol Hill until around the time the Pentagon is hit, which is more than 30 minutes after the second attack happens (see (Shortly After 9:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001). In a speech in 2003, Cleland will recall: “Gen. Myers bolted from his seat. We rushed into an adjoining office as we saw on TV the second plane slam into the second tower. Gen. Myers rushed out of my office, headed for the Pentagon. At that moment, the Pentagon was hit.” [ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/16/2003] But on a couple of other occasions, Cleland says he is still meeting with Myers in his office at the time the Pentagon is hit. [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001; CNN, 11/20/2001] Contradicting both Cleland and Myers, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke will claim that when he joins a video teleconference shortly after the time of the second attack, he can see Myers on screen, meaning Myers is at the Pentagon at that time rather than on Capitol Hill (see (9:10 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 1-3] Entity Tags: Max Cleland, Ralph Eberhart, Richard B. Myers Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

9:04 a.m. September 11, 2001: Military Raises ‘Infocon’ Threat Level Edit

The 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, receives notification from NORAD of an increased Information Operations Condition (Infocon) threat level. The message from NORAD directs the 1st Fighter Wing command post to upgrade the Infocon computer security level from Normal to Alpha. According to the wing’s own records, this is “the first message correspondence” the wing receives “to indicate that September 11th would not be an average day.” [1ST FIGHTER WING HISTORY OFFICE, 12/2001] Steps to be taken under Infocon Alpha reportedly include “changing passwords, updating keys used to create classified communication lines, minimizing cell phone use, backing up important documents on hard drive, updating virus protection on home computers, reporting suspicious activity, and reviewing checklists.” [COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE, 5/3/2001] Five Security Levels - The Infocon system provides a structured, coordinated approach for defending against and reacting to attacks on Defense Department systems and networks. It comprises five levels of threat, each with its own protective procedures. These levels go from Normal, through Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie, up to Delta. [IANEWSLETTER, 12/2000 ; GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, 3/29/2001 ] General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of both the US Space Command and NORAD, is responsible for evaluating the threat to military computers and issuing information conditions—“Infocons”—to the US military. [COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE, 5/3/2001] He is presumably therefore responsible for currently raising the Infocon level. Threat Level Lowered on Previous Evening - The Infocon level was in fact lowered to Normal the previous evening, reportedly because of a reduced threat to US computer networks from hacker and virus attacks (see September 10, 2001). [1ST FIGHTER WING HISTORY OFFICE, 12/2001] The 1st Fighter Wing is the “host unit” at Langley Air Force Base, which is about 130 miles from Washington, DC. It includes three fighter squadrons, which fly the F-15 Eagle fighter jet. [VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 9/20/2001; LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, 11/2003; AIR FORCE PRINT NEWS, 11/9/2006] Entity Tags: Ralph Eberhart, North American Aerospace Defense Command, 1st Fighter Wing Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

(Between 9:35 a.m. and 10:35 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD Commander Spends 45 Minutes Driving to Operations Center In the middle of the 9/11 attacks, General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD, drives from his NORAD headquarters office at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado to the NORAD operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, about a dozen miles away. The journey reportedly takes him 45 minutes and en route he loses a cell phone call with Vice President Cheney. The reason he makes this journey is unknown, though it is reported that there are superior communications capabilities available at Cheyenne Mountain. [GAZETTE (COLORADO SPRINGS), 6/16/2006; DENVER POST, 7/28/2006; WASHINGTON POST, 7/29/2006] The exact times when Eberhart departs Peterson AFB and arrives at Cheyenne Mountain are unclear. General Richard Myers says that Eberhart phones him from Peterson either just before or just after the Pentagon is hit, which suggests that Eberhart heads out some time between 9:35 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. [ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION SERVICE, 10/17/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Eberhart tells the 9/11 Commission that when he arrives at the NORAD operations center, the order to shoot down hijacked aircraft has already been passed down NORAD’s chain of command. According to the commission’s timeline, this would indicate he arrives after 10:31 a.m. (see 10:31 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 42] Yet other reports state that the massive blast doors to Cheyenne Mountain are shut at around 10:15 a.m. (see 10:15 a.m. September 11, 2001), which suggests that Eberhart arrives earlier. Entity Tags: Ralph Eberhart Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(9:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Myers Speaks to NORAD Commander At some time after the second attack in New York, Richard Myers, the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, receives a call from NORAD Commander Ralph Eberhart. According to his own account, Myers is on Capitol Hill, where he has been meeting with Senator Max Cleland (D-GA). Apparently soon after he leaves this meeting, his military aide, Army Captain Chris Donahue, hands him a cell phone on which Eberhart is calling. Myers will later comment, “In this emergency, I had to forgo the luxury of a secure encrypted red switch phone and use Donahue’s cell.” Myers will recall that Eberhart “said, you know, we’ve got several hijack codes, meaning that the transponders in the aircraft are talking to the ground, and they’re saying we’re under, we’re being hijacked, several hijack codes in the system, and we’re responding with, with fighter aircraft.” [AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 10/23/2001; MSNBC, 9/11/2002; MYERS, 2009, PP. 8-9] (However, none of the pilots of the four hijacked flights this morning keyed the emergency four-digit code that would indicate a hijacking into their plane’s transponder (see (8:13 a.m.-9:28 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [CNN, 9/11/2001] It is therefore unclear what “hijack codes” Eberhart is referring to.) Eberhart also tells Myers, “The decision I’m going to make is, we’re going to land everybody, and we’ll sort it out when we get them on the ground.” [COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 6/29/2006] He is presumably referring to a plan called SCATANA, which clears the skies and gives the military control over US airspace. However, Eberhart does not implement this until around 11:00 a.m. (see (11:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] It is unclear exactly when this call takes place, but it appears to be just before the time the Pentagon is hit, or just before Myers is informed of the Pentagon attack. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004 ; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004; COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, 6/29/2006; AMERICAN FORCES PRESS SERVICE, 9/8/2006] In his 2009 memoirs, Myers will place it after he is informed of the second attack on the World Trade Center (see (Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001), but not give a specific time. [MYERS, 2009, PP. 8-9] Cleland will confirm that Myers meets with him on this morning, and is with him up to the time of the Pentagon attack, or shortly before. [US CONGRESS, 9/13/2001; CNN, 11/20/2001; ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/16/2003] However, according to counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, Myers is back at the Pentagon speaking over a video conference around 10 minutes before the Pentagon is struck (see 9:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 5] Entity Tags: Ralph Eberhart, Max Cleland, Richard B. Myers, Chris Donahue Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

9:49 a.m. September 11, 2001: Air Sovereignty Fighters Directed to ‘Battle Stations’ Nationwide

General Ralph Eberhart. [Source: NORAD] As the 9/11 Commission will later describe, the commander of NORAD, General Ralph Eberhart, now directs “all air sovereignty aircraft to battle stations, fully armed.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 38] Being at “battle stations” means the pilots have to suit up into their flight gear and get into their planes, ready to start the engines and taxi out if a scramble order follows. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 27] Senior NORAD officials will subsequently give the order to launch available fighter jets across the nation (see (Between 9:50 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 178, 180] Clarke Requested Combat Air Patrols - A few minutes earlier, according to his own account, counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, who is in the White House Situation Room, learned of an aircraft hitting the Pentagon and instructed his deputy: “Find out where the fighter planes are. I want combat air patrol over every major city in this country” (see (Between 9:38 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Whether Clarke’s actions influenced Eberhart to issue his order is unknown. [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 7-8] Fighter Units Possibly Offered Help Much Earlier - The Toledo Blade will state that NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) only begins calling bases across the US to request help “[b]y 10:01 a.m.” [TOLEDO BLADE, 12/9/2001] But an article in Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine will indicate that NORAD and NEADS began receiving calls from various fighter units, asking, “What can we do to help?” right after the second World Trade Center tower was hit at 9:03, when it had become obvious the US was under attack (see (After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002] It is therefore unclear why the instruction to put available fighters on battle stations—or to scramble them—was not issued significantly earlier. Entity Tags: US Department of Defense, Richard A. Clarke, Ralph Eberhart, Northeast Air Defense Sector, North American Aerospace Defense Command Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(11:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD Implements Cold War Era Plan to Clear Skies At the NORAD operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, NORAD commander in chief, General Ralph Eberhart, orders a limited version of a little known plan to clear the skies and give the military control over US airspace. [AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] The plan, Security Control of Air Traffic and Navigation Aids (SCATANA), was developed in the 1960s as a way to clear airspace above the US and off the US coast in the event of a confirmed warning of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. Once it is activated a wartime air traffic priority list is established, allowing essential aircraft and personnel to use the airspace. Among others, this list includes the US president, essential national security staff, aircraft involved in continental defense missions, and airborne command posts. [SCHWARTZ, 1998] Eberhart Suggests Limited Version of Plan - Eberhart and his staff suggest implementing the limited version of SCATANA over the air threat conference call. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta immediately concurs. [AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002; FILSON, 2003, PP. 73] Unlike a full SCATANA, this modified version allows ground navigation aids to stay on, for the benefit of aircraft that are still airborne. Under the plan, for about the next three days all flights other than military, law enforcement, fire fighters, and medevac, will require approval from the national Defense Department/FAA Air Traffic Services Cell, located within the FAA’s Herndon Command Center. [BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, 11/2001; AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/10/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Notice is sent out to all civil and military air traffic control facilities, informing them that the skies now officially belong to NORAD. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 269] Order Supposedly Made Late Due to Safety Concerns - The SCATANA order is issued over an hour after the FAA ordered all planes down (see (9:45 a.m.) September 11, 2001), and after at least three-quarters of them have already landed. [USA TODAY, 8/13/2002] Eberhart will later say the delay is due to safety concerns, because NORAD would have been unable to control US airspace—with over 4,000 planes airborne at the time of the attacks—with its radar capabilities. [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Defense Week magazine will suggest SCATANA is not implemented until even later, at around 2:00 p.m. It says NORAD issues a “notice to airmen” implementing the modified version of SCATANA about five hours after Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center. [BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS, 11/2001] Entity Tags: North American Aerospace Defense Command, Ralph Eberhart, Norman Mineta Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

4:30 p.m., June 9, 2004: Capitol Evacuated as Unidentified Aircraft Nears; Plane Carrying Governor Almost Shot Down For a few tense minutes, an unidentified plane flying inside Washington’s no-fly zone comes close to being shot down by the military. The plane, a Beechcraft King Air, is carrying Ernie Fletcher (R), the governor of Kentucky, who is coming to attend the funeral of former president Ronald Reagan. The plane’s transponder is broken, but the pilot notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the problem earlier in the flight. However, the FAA failed to inform the military, which was therefore unable to identify the plane. In addition to the lack of transponder identification, the plane is flying deep inside the no-fly zone around the White House. The Capitol is evacuated at around 4:30 p.m., when thousands are awaiting the arrival of President Reagan’s coffin. An F-16 is scrambled to identify the plane but is unable to do so because of cloud cover. NORAD’s commander, Gen. Ralph Eberhart, is asked if the plane should be shot down. Fortunately, the pilot turns toward National Airport at this time, ending the crisis. [COURIER-JOURNAL (LOUISVILLE, KY), 7/4/2004; USA TODAY, 7/4/2004; WASHINGTON POST, 7/8/2004] A new mobile radar command post, called the Joint-Based Expeditionary Connectivity Center (JBECC), which merges civil and military radar data and which was deployed in the Washington area immediately after 9/11 (see September 12, 2001), is used by the military to identify the plane and avoid a shoot-down. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 11/29/2004] Entity Tags: Joint-Based Expeditionary Connectivity Center, Ernie Fletcher, Ralph Eberhart, Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline

ReferencesEdit

Most information taken from [1].

  1. Levins, Harry (2001-04-03). "Air Force General, a Missourian, may be in line to become next Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff". St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Lee Enterprises): p. A3. "He is Gen. Ralph E. 'Ed' Eberhart, a native of Nevada, Mo., who grew up in Ferguson and graduated from McCluer in 1964." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 9/11 COMMISSION (10/27/2003). "Interview with TSgt Jeffrey LaMarche, and TSgt Jeffrey Richmond". 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 9/11 COMMISSION (10/27/2003). "Interview with the personnel from Huntress iD". 
  4. UNITED STATES SPACE COMMAND (12/30/1995). 
  5. JANE'S C4I SYSTEMS. 9/1/2005. 
  6. NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND (10/23/2006). 
  7. NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND (9/11/2001). 
  8. TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OF CANADA. 9/2/1998. 
  9. US DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE (11/1/1999). 
  10. 9/11 COMMISSION (2004). http://www.scribd.com/doc/18664446/T8-B20-NEADS-Trip-3-of-3-Fdr-Briefing-Slides-NORAD-and-Commission-Scanned-in-Order-Found-258. 
  11. US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (7/2003). 
  12. US CONGRESS. SENATE. ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE. 10/25/2001. 
  13. [TORONTO STAR, 12/9/2001; AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002]
  14. [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 11/27/1999]
  15. [TORONTO STAR, 12/9/2001; OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/11/2002]
  16. [CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 11/27/2001; TORONTO STAR, 12/9/2001; AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002; OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/11/2002; CANADIAN PRESS, 9/10/2006; CNN, 9/11/2006]
  17. [CALGARY HERALD, 10/1/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 465; LEGION MAGAZINE, 11/2004]

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