United States Department of Defense
Presenter: John F. Irby, Director, Federal Facilities Division, Friday, September 14, 2001 – 1:00 p.m
DoD News Briefing – Pentagon Update
<!– START HEADER DoD News Briefing John F. Irby, Director, Federal Facilities Division Friday, September 14, 2001 – 1:00 p.m. END HEADER (14 lines) –>
(Also participating: Victoria Clarke, assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs; Army Maj. Gen. Jim Jackson, commanding general, Military District of Washington; James Schwartz, assistant chief, Arlington County Fire Department; and Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs. Slides used in this briefing are available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Sep2001/g010914-D-6570.html )
Q: Chief, can you tell us anything about how hard it was to get to the black boxes? I mean, it was our understanding that was in a pretty destroyed part of the building.
Schwartz: It certainly was in a fairly destroyed area of the building, which to a large degree accounts for the couple of days it took, I guess, to retrieve them, because the very methodical way that the USAR teams work through the building, you know, from the side that you see on all the pictures with the slide tilting down, that’s the side we’re working from, working towards the back. You know, all of their efforts are extremely methodical, keeping safety in mind and, as I keep emphasizing, ensuring the structural stability. So I think the whole nature of moving through all of the debris and all of that collapsed area just is what caused us to take so long. But, you know, I think that just how they’ve gone about their job is what led to how long it took.
Q: Have they been able to tell you, when they got to that part, whether or not there were any, you know, recognizable elements that an aircraft itself had crashed into the building, or is it all pretty much vaporized? Are there are any — is there a tail, is there a wing, is there anything there?
Schwartz: I certainly would not use the term "vaporized," but there’s not a lot of the aircraft that is recognizable at all.