Interview with Capt Borgstrom and Leslie Filson Beginning of Tape Side A (opening conversation) F: You are Capt

Craig Borgstrom? Were you active duty before the guard? B: No, I've been in the guard my whole life. F: You were on alert on 9-11, or what happened? B: No, I am full-time here at Langley. I'm the operations officer. Prior to September 11th, 18 people work at the alert site full-time. Of those 14 maintainers, 1 supply personnel, 1 admin, 1 Det Commander and 1 Operations Officer. The Det Commander and Operations Officers are both pilot jobs. So there is two full-time pilots at alert. Then with that, two pilots that come sit alert that rotate weekly. F: So, you are always going to have two full-timers on hand and then the two alert guys? B: We will always have two alert guys. A local requirement that we have set our self is we need to have a least one full-time pilot around, within the local area, so if something happens, we get called in. F: From what I understand from Dave Somdale, three people actually took off that day, you must have been the full-time guy. B: I was the full-time guy and I took off. I was not planning to fly that day, actually I had planned to do a local training mission that morning. F: That's what he said, you were doing some 4 v 2 of something with Langley. B: We were planning to go fight against the First Fighter Wing. F: So for you did it start out as a fairly normal day? B: Yep F: You guys are the last missing link, I've talked to the commander of NEADS, the guys at Otis who flew, the guys at the 113 th , guys at Ellington and General Arnold and I'm missing you guys. What happened? (more conversation to clarify Leslies position) B: That morning we didn't really do much. When I got done talking to everyone I spoke with they said the same thing.

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F: Yea, but you were there, you were a presence. B: We were but so was everybody else in the country. I'll caveat everything I'm going to say with that. I was in my office that morning, I was flying with Otis, another guy in our unit. We use to come off alert to go do local flying. So Otis was getting ready to brief and I was doing junk in the office. My girlfriend called me in my office and said somebody just hit the trade center. I just clarified with here to make sure she heard it right and at first I thought it was just a small generation airplane and I talked to here a couple minutes. Then the admin troop came down and said "the intel officer is on the phone, he needs to talk to you right away." I talked to our intel troop and he asked me if I knew what was happening. I told him all that I knew, which wasn't much just what Jen had told me. He said "????? Just be ready" because he thought there was something up with this. He is an extremely sharp guy. So he gave me a heads up on what was going on. I hung up the phone with him, I talked to our chief enlisted manager Mark Kelley who is now retired At this point I'd still assumed it was a small aircraft. But I did think it was sort of odd that Jen called me right away with this information. With that the horn sounded to get the pilots moving. We have different orders we get from horns. We have the battle station, the pilots will run to the airplanes, sit in the airplanes but not start them. F: Right B: We have runway alert, which means pilots will get in the jets, start then, taxi them onto the runway, but not take off. We have active air scramble, which means go. F: Let's back up, I know what battle stations are, runway alert is what? B: You start the airplanes, taxi them onto the runway, but don't take off. F: Then scramble is take off? B: Scramble is get airborne as quickly as you can. But big picture with an alert facility, anytime the horn goes off, everything stops what you are doing and your priority is to get two airplanes with two pilots airborne as fast as you possibly can. F: On September 11 t h , was it called 5-minute alert that you were on?

B: Urn
F: If you were on alert, on a normal day. B: I ' l l just tell you that we can get airborne extremely fast. As far as the time, you'll have to get that information somewhere else, I cannot disclose that. F: So you hear the clax (?) and what's next?

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B: In that situation, the Det Commander was out of town, so it was just me. He was out of town visiting friends in California. Which he is now retired, and we have a different Det Commander now. So, it is just me there and in that situation if we get scrambled, I assume what's called the SOF position rather than flying. Normally what I'll do is just monitor a flight from the ground. I'll get intel briefs for the guys. We'll monitor weather, if they spot something way out I can start to coordinate tankers, I can coordinate ?? stuff like that. If they have an emergency, I've got a checklist. Any AF flying unit has a SOF, so it's a little more in depth I guess with an alert scramble. Because now you are dealing with intel and it divert automatically. So, ran over there to the command post just to find out what was going on and I didn't get a call off really, I just saw on TV the fireball at the trade center. So we got a battle station order, I briefed both pilots, they didn't know what was doing on, that in New York somebody hit the trade centers so we were sitting battle stations as a precaution, that's what I told both pilots. It's always better for the pilots to know what's going on because once you take off you are pretty much segregated from all the intel that's going around unless the sector tells you what's going on. You don't really know what's going on, you don't have the big picture, we don't have a CNN TV in our cockpit. So the more you know before you take off, typically, the more situational awareness you are going to have throughout the flight. Then phone calls received by one or our crew chiefs ??? who answered it, he said "it's the sector, they need to talk to you." F: Must have been the Northeast. B: Yea, so I got on the phone and to this day, I don't know who it was. The guy just said "how many airplanes can you get airborne right now?" I said "there is two on battle on battle stations right now", he said "that's not what I asked, how many total airplanes can you send up?" I said "I'll give you three" he said "go". Then at that point, then I realized that this is pretty odd, but still I had not really correlated what had happened, just the severity of the situation. I don't think anybody before that day could really fathom what had happened. (conversation about their thoughts, not informational) B: So I called the wing commander real quick at Fargo. I called the command post real quick, he was already there, so I talked to him for about 10 seconds. Just to let you know they are sending all three of us up. F: The other jet is loaded or not loaded? B: It is a spare, it is on alert. So I ran and got my gear, by the time I got my gear, the horn sounded again with a green light, an activation scramble. In a matter of a couple minutes we went from a 2-ship to a 3-ship. F: Okay, at that point you've seen one tower hit.

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B: In that situation, the Det Commander was out of town, so it was just me. He was out of town visiting friends in California. Which he is now retired, and we have a different Det Commander now. So, it is just me there and in that situation if we get scrambled, I assume what's called the SOF position rather than flying. Normally what I'll do is just monitor a flight from the ground. I'll get intel briefs for the guys. We'll monitor weather, if they spot something way out I can start to coordinate tankers, I can coordinate ?? stuff like that. If they have an emergency, I've got a checklist. Any AF flying unit has a SOF, so it's a little more in depth I guess with an alert scramble. Because now you are dealing with intel and it divert automatically. So, ran over there to the command post just to find out what was going on and I didn't get a call off really, I just saw on TV the fireball at the trade center. So we got a battle station order, I briefed both pilots, they didn't know what was doing on, that in New York somebody hit the trade centers so we were sitting battle stations as a precaution, that's what I told both pilots. It's always better for the pilots to know what's going on because once you take off you are pretty much segregated from all the intel that's going around unless the sector tells you what's going on. You don't really know what's going on, you don't have the big picture, we don't have a CNN TV in our cockpit. So the more you know before you take off, typically, the more situational awareness you are going to have throughout the flight. Then phone calls received by one or our crew chiefs ??? who answered it, he said "it's the sector, they need to talk to you." F: Must have been the Northeast. B: Yea, so I got on the phone and to this day, I don't know who it was. The guy just said "how many airplanes can you get airborne right now?" I said "there is two on battle on battle stations right now", he said "that's not what I asked, how many total airplanes can you send up?" I said "I'll give you three" he said "go". Then at that point, then I realized that this is pretty odd, but still I had not really correlated what had happened, just the severity of the situation. I don't think anybody before that day could really fathom what had happened. (conversation about their thoughts, not informational) B: So I called the wing commander real quick at Fargo. I called the command post real quick, he was already there, so I talked to him for about 10 seconds. Just to let you know they are sending all three of us up. F: The other jet is loaded or not loaded? B: It is a spare, it is on alert. So I ran and got my gear, by the time I got my gear, the horn sounded again with a green light, an activation scramble. In a matter of a couple minutes we went from a 2-ship to a 3-ship. F: Okay, at that point you've seen one tower hit.

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F: Yea, but you were there, you were a presence. B: We were but so was everybody else in the country. I'll caveat everything I'm going to say with that. I was in my office that morning, I was flying with Otis, another guy in our unit. We use to come off alert to go do local flying. So Otis was getting ready to brief and I was doing junk in the office. My girlfriend called me in my office and said somebody just hit the trade center. I just clarified with here to make sure she heard it right and at first I thought it was just a small generation airplane and I talked to here a couple minutes. Then the admin troop came down and said "the intel officer is on the phone, he needs to talk to you right away." I talked to our intel troop and he asked me if I knew what was happening. I told him all that I knew, which wasn't much just what Jen had told me. He said "????? Just be ready" because he thought there was something up with this. He is an extremely sharp guy. So he gave me a heads up on what was going on. I hung up the phone with him, I talked to our chief enlisted manager Mark Kelley who is now retired At this point I'd still assumed it was a small aircraft. But I did think it was sort of odd that Jen called me right away with this information. With that the horn sounded to get the pilots moving. We have different orders we get from horns. We have the battle station, the pilots will run to the airplanes, sit in the airplanes but not start them. F: Right B: We have runway alert, which means pilots will get in the jets, start then, taxi them onto the runway, but not take off. We have active air scramble, which means go. F: Let's back up, I know what battle stations are, runway alert is what? B: You start the airplanes, taxi them onto the runway, but don't take off. F: Then scramble is take off? B: Scramble is get airborne as quickly as you can. But big picture with an alert facility, anytime the horn goes off, everything stops what you are doing and your priority is to get two airplanes with two pilots airborne as fast as you possibly can. F: On September 1 1 t h , was it called 5-minute alert that you were on?
B: Um

F: If you were on alert, on a normal day. B: I'll just tell you that we can get airborne extremely fast. As far as the time, you'll have to get that information somewhere else, I cannot disclose that. F: So you hear the clax (?) and what's next?

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B: Yea, that's all I know, one airplane had hit a tower. So we cranked, scrambled, I don't know that the time was. F: I can get those times. B: So we took off, the 3 of us. Basically the formation that we maintain on alert is a two to three mile trail from the guy in front of you. So we took off the three of us we trained. They had given us the heading and altitude, North Northeast, up to 20,000 feet. Then shortly after take off, they changed our heading to more of a Northwesterly heading and ave us max ?? F: More Northwesterly, then what" B: Maximum Sonic(?) F: Is that full afterburner? B: Maximum Sonic (?) is going without breaking a sound barrier. F: How normal is that? B: I've never heard it before in my short career, but I don't think anybody has ever heard that order before. The alert mentality for years, I hate to say it, there is the thought that maybe a lull of complacency has set in not just in an alert facility but we take a lot of things for granted. We've never been attacked, really ever in CONAR. F: Right B: So we started taking a lot of things for granted. Then we see something like this. Wow! What's going on. So we were given master sonic (?) and then they gave us coordinates to CAP over a certain point. We all dialed in the coordinates and figured exactly where we were going and we got to a point and we could see probably several miles out, probably 40, smoke billowing. After a while I started putting things together. You think maybe there is some sort of attack going on and you start correlating DC with New York. F: Just in you head, not getting information right? B: Yea, we still have not been intel briefed as to what's going on. You see another thing was on fire. The other two guys I was flying with initially thought that we were going to New York because they new the trade center had been hit and they'd seen the smoke so you get a lot of time compression when you're flying, especially when you get maximum sonic (?) you really don't know who fast, how long you've been airborne, how fast are you actually going over the ground and so on. I know the guys I was flying with initially thought that we were going to New York, I was more familiar with the area and new we were going more toward DC, New York was quite a bit farther north.

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F: So that's a little bit of confusion then, thinking you're, next thing you know

<^_
B: No, that's just an initial thought. It was clear in a million, the visibility that day, you could see forever. F: Everybody's told me that. B: It really was, you could just see forever. So then we got up to that point, then the coordinates they gave us were right over DC and soon as we got over the smoke, we set up a opposite end camp where usually you have 2 or 4 airplanes, but we had 3 and you pretty much spread the 3 of you out as far as you can so in case you have to commit on something, you take the nearest airplane. As you get to this point, you look down and you realize that it's the Pentagon on fire. That's the first point that it really hit me, I • looked down I found out if was the Pentagon. I realized that something terribly wrong is going on. At still at no point had I ever dreamed that that was an airliner hitting that. I guess in my mind, I was probably thinking car bomb or something like that. In hind sight looking at it, it would have to be a pretty hefty car bomb to do that damage. You could see smoke forever. F: You could see smoke, could you see flames? B: You could definitely see flames. F: Wow, I guess if it is that clear B: You can see smoke, but once you get over the top you could see flames. You know that was not a trash fire I had correlated that it was an attack at that point. F: (clarification comments) Did you kind of think "what's my role or did you even have time to think about it?" B: What's my role?

F: Yea
B: They give us specific missions so at some point. We heard several essay building (?) comments, we never were given an intel brief saying there were airliners out there slamming into buildings. But we were given the mission that you were to keep all airplanes away from Washington DC. I'd don't know how else to word it. F: That's okay B: We were definitely given that mission, shortly after we got to DC, they implemented the procedures to ground all airplanes. So to hear that over the radio also, you know right away that there is a no kidding large effort going on to stop whatever happened. The big

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thing for me was I didn't know what else around the country had been hit. I knew New York had been hit and at that point I knew DC had been hit. I don't know by what, I don't know what else had been attacked. Fortunately, those were the only two cities. There's nothing fortunate about that, but I had much worse thoughts in my head than what had actually happened. F: Yea, and how could you even know? B: So we heard, another thing that led to some confusion for us and this is very abnormal, they had all of us on three different frequencies, which is what they had to do and this is something, you can't plan for every contingency on every flight. You can't even go out there with your experience and ?? You do the best you can with what you have, but they had us all on different frequencies. I think at one time Otis (not the unit but another pilot) he was talking to some type of security frequency. Rue was talking to, I don't know who he was with maybe Washington ATC and I was with Hunters (?) the. whole time. We would talk to each other on our inner flight frequency but yet getting different orders from a lot of different sectors. I was by far the most inexperienced to of the guys in the flight. F: How long have you been there? B: I'd only been at alert for - April - 7 months no less than that 5 months. Prior to that, 1 don't know how many hours I have in the airplane, maybe 400, 500. F: Would you say you were kind of a rookie? What kind of words do you use for that? B: Young guy, Still fully mission qualified, 1 have a lot of other flying prior to joining the military too so. F: Okay B: But I was definitely not the chief, I was one of the Indians. We were alone in the Cap for probably an hour before anybody came up there. I know DC, they were around there too, but they did not get airborne to join us in the CAP for about an hour. F: Did you guys spot them from your altitude?

B: DC? F: Yea
B: No, I didn't spot anyone from DC at all until that hour. After that hour, it was like "a hornets nest, there were airplanes joining us from all over the place. Another thing to that we saw, I think when I left I personally counted 17 other fighters in the CAP. Try to coordinate that without a general brief. But at that point, a lot of people really didn't know what was going to happen next, so it was like mass fighter pilots put on station for

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prevention. I think there was a reality set in where we were not at the point where it was almost to much, let's thin it out and be smart with our assets. Basically during the four hours were up there, we were basically keeping airplanes away from DC. If they came in as a blimp on the radar, they would say "you've got a target now bulls eye 040 or whatever" whatever the nearest fighter was to that point would go intercept it. A couple times corporate jets were allowed into Washington DC, I assume it was probably leaders. I don't know that for sure, I know we escorted a least one that morning. F: During these intercepts for four hours, are we talking mostly corporate jets? B: No, there wasn't a lot of them. ATC really did a good job (I assume that's the reason) of keeping people away. It wasn't intercept upon intercept, it was one here and maybe 50 minutes later one here, there was not a lot of it. They pointed a lot our, but they weren't committing us because they were getting people on the ground very expeditiously. F: I wasn't like you had to try to help get airliners down either? B: No F: By that time, I'd imagine most of them would be landed. B: To implement procedures that they did that day, you know that it's an extreme situation. It is a national emergency, compliance was obviously was very ??? F: This is an interesting story. B: One thing I was taught in my PA training is the more you talk, the less they'll ask. F: You got PA training, that's good. B: That's really it, we were alone the first hour and then people were joining us from all over checking in with what weapons they had and basically trying to coordinate the CAP and keeping people away from the ?? is all we did. Then after the four hours, it was decided, let's thin it out and be smart with our assets. We are almost more of a danger than we are from exterior forces, so they sent us home first, we were up there first, Lou and 1 went home together, Otis joined us shortly after because he was actually off getting gas when we were told to RTB (return to base). So we came to Langley and recovered into our alert facility and there were more missiles than my eyes had ever seen before on the ramp. F: Oh my gosh B: I thought, what the heck is going on. At this point, I still didn't know it was airliners. So 1 pulled into the barn and obviously there is load teams with trailers and missiles everywhere waiting just for me to shut down. I talked to the crew chief, my first question

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to him was what else did they hit. He said he wasn't sure, but he thought there was some others. So at that point I was like oh no, a really terrible thing has happened. F: Yea (he asks here to hold on a second) F: While you were flying though, you didn't know they were airliners or even know that 93 was out there. I suppose you hear after the fact that you guys were being possibly the ones who would have to shoot it down? B: We were in a position to, if it made it through. But we didn't know about it. I don't know if the sector had FAFM (?) at the point when they went down either? You talked to Bomar(?) didn't you? F: Yea, I guess what happened first. This is what they told me on 93, is they could kind of actually see the track meandering over towards say Chicago or Detroit so there were some guys from Michigan up there who they were thinking they could send toward it. These guys didn't even know that they'd be a part of it and didn't have any weapons anyway. Then 93 starts turning back toward Washington, what they said is that they were keeping you guys over DC area in case they had more things coming in and then eventually they see 93 pretty much crash, but well I guess they could see it fade away maybe. But apparently, you guys were thought of as possibly having to shoot it down if it got close. B: That's what I've heard, I don't know. F: It's a little bit hard to write about that because you guys were never in hot pursuit of this thing. B: Never, we didn't have an essay on it. F: I think the important part is that we did have fighters up there and if it had gotten to that, it could have possibly happened, but obviously it didn't. Do you have anything else you want to say about when you landed and what went on in the subsequent days? B: Really, the ops tempo of alert, I think we really probably did more in the first six months after September 11 th , than we had done the previous 13 years that we've had an alert detachment, as far as hours flown, man hours worked. In that first week, I probably did 20-hour days. F: I know your two alert people are there 24-hours, I guess you must have been practically living there? End of Tape Side A Tape Side B is blank

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