9/11 Hero Retires

(StraightShooterNews.com) – Heroic F-16 fighter pilot Marc Sassevillе recently retired after an illustrious 40-year career in the Air Force, a decision he almost did not get to make following an unforgettable day 23 years ago: September 11, 2001.

On that day, as America reeled from the terrorist attacks, Sasseville and then-26-year-old co-pilot Heather Penney werе prepared to sacrifice their lives to protect the nation.

After terrorists hijacked planes and struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11, Sasseville and Penney took off from Andrews Air Force Basе without really knowing anything about their mission.

It quickly became clear they were to intercept the al-Qaida-seized United Airlines Flight 93, which was barreling towards Washington, D.C.

With the Pentagon in flames, a sight and smell Sasseville vividly recalls, the two pilots faced a grim task.

Their jets lacked missiles, so they planned a desperate maneuver: they would use their own aircraft to take down Flight 93 in a last-resort act of defense.

“The training kicked in,” Sasseville recounted. “I felt like I was on autopilot.” He intended to target the front of the hijacked jetliner while Penney aimed for the tail.

At the time, Sasseville was a family man with a wife and two young children, ages 3 and 5. Penney praised Sasseville’s leadership and his resolve to lead the mission personally, saying, “He wouldn’t ask anyone else to give what he was unwilling to give.”

Their dire mission was never completed, as the passengers and crew on Flight 93 bravely fought back, ultimately crashing in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and preventing further tragedy.

“If those heroes on 93 — and by the way, those are the real heroes — if they hadn’t taken action and they hadn’t done what needed to be done, it would have been a very different outcome for me and my family,” Sasseville reflected.

The duo returned to their base to refuel before escorting Air Force One, carrying President George W. Bush, back to Washington, D.C.

Sasseville’s career culminated in his becoming a three-star general and the second-highest officer in the National Guard.

Reflecting on his service at his retirement ceremony, he expressed, “It has been a tremendous honor and a privilege to serve, and a truly rare opportunity for me and my family to make a difference. Now, you have the watch. Thank you all.”

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