The Book Praise Events The Author


I thought myself a pilot, not a writer, but this project called to me in a way that I could not ignore.  While I gathered the names and the places and the stories, I became increasingly aware of the importance of these accounts.  I am exceedingly grateful to those whose contributions made this book a reality.  It has been a rewarding and humbling experience.

Ultimately, the names of those responsible for this book fill the preceding pages, and I am most grateful to them.  They entrusted their stories to me despite my unproven writing ability and their discomfort in revisiting a very emotionally charged day.  To the countless others whose names do not appear, I am indebted to you for the stories and the information you graciously shared, providing me a better understanding or leading me to other contacts.  The experience of meeting each of you was the most rewarding part of writing this book.  It was an honor and privilege. 

My children – Caroline, Brigitte and Chase – shared their mother with a demanding, multi-year project.  I am grateful for their patience and encouragement, and I will honor my promise that any subsequent books will be written during school hours.  My parents never doubted my ability to see this project through – or if they did, they didn’t show it – and for that I am appreciative.  I thank Don, Andrea and Gregg for being tolerant of their distracted sister.

I could not have accomplished this project without the assistance of the Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, who spread the word to their memberships.  Heartfelt thanks to all their members who generously shared their stories. 

It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with NORAD and the Air National Guard, whose units and members were tirelessly forthcoming with information and personal accounts.  Thank you to the men and women of NEADS, the 177th Fighter Wing, the 113th Wing, the 119th Fighter Wing and the 180th Fighter Wing, and to Lt. Col. Roberta Neidt of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs who was kind enough to make my first military introductions.  A special thanks to the 102nd Fighter Wing, whose members not only shared their stories, but also gave me the opportunity to fly in an F-15.  In doing so – and retracing the flights paths of the Otis fighters as well as American 11 on that fateful day – I gained an invaluable understanding and perspective. You all are the best!

I am especially indebted to Paul Worcester and Don Shepperd, who graciously opened the doors of the aviation and military communities.  Their encouragement, guidance, and tireless introductions made this book possible.  I am deeply grateful for their “you can do it and you’ll do it right” attitudes, which motivated me to reach deeper within myself to achieve more than I thought I could.      

Several individuals deserve special thanks, including Colin Scoggins, Larry Arnold, Ben Sliney and Joe McCain for their prompt replies to my myriads of e-mail and phone questions that arrived at all hours of the day and night asking for information and explanations.  Thanks also to Paul Olechowski, Harvey Siegel, Sandy Niedzwiecki and Kerri Cole of the 102nd FW, James Hambrick at the FBI, Thomas Territt at NEADS and authors Loree Lough, Rick Newmann, Carol Jose and J. Carson Black.  Your input, advice and guidance were much appreciated.  Thank you Gen. Myers for the time you gave me over cups of coffee at Starbucks.

I knew I could fly, but I was not as sure about writing, and I owe a debt to those who helped with reading and editing the manuscript:  Paul Worcester, Rose Shepperd, Ann Levy and Jordan Genest.  Your assistance enabled me to pull everything together and produce a readable manuscript for my wonderful editor, Emily Loose.   I was awed by Emily’s quick grasp of the intricacies and complexities of this project, her patience and, above all, her insightful and creative editing.   It was a delight to work with her.  My heartfelt thanks to everyone at Simon & Schuster for helping me make this dream a reality. 

And finally, a huge thank you to my agent, Jane Dystel, who took a chance on a pilot who had no writing experience.  She believed in the stories and my ability to share them, and offered invaluable guidance and assistance every step of the way, never once making me feel foolish for my ignorance of the publishing business.  I will always be grateful for the opportunity and her faith in me.




Purchase the Book