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Event: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Herndon Command Center
Type of event: Interview with Robert Williams
Date: April 5, 2004
Special Access Issues: None
Prepared by: Geoffrey Brown
Team Number: 8
Location: Herndon, Virginia
Participants - Non-Commission: Brook Lewis, Chief Consul's Office, FAA
Participants - Commission: John Azzarello, Miles Kara, Lisa Sullivan, Geoffrey Brown
Note: Please refer to the recorded interview for further details.


Before beginning his career with the FAA, Williams was a Weapons Director
(WD) with the U.S. Air Force for six years. In 1981 he began with the FAA at Seattle
Center. He spent thirteen years there - ten as an air traffic controller, and three as a traffic
management specialist.

He came to Herndon in 1994 and spent eighteen months as a traffic management

specialist on the floor. In 1996 he was selected to operate in the Herndon CARF (Central
Altitude Reservation Function).


The CARF is designed to process and separate altitude reservations (AltRevs).

Primarily, the military asks the FAA for priority activity (often refueling operations
during overseas flights that involve critical timing and the need for allotted airspace).
CARF coordinates these requests with the FAA facilities, and with international agencies.
CARF operates between 0700 and 2300 hours, seven days a week. Typically it is manned
by two personnel on a day shift, and two personnel on a swing shift, who are all civilian
FAA controllers. The primary space they reserve is for military movement overseas, and
for mass military movements. They also handle "more unusual" circumstance like the
dropping of rocket boosters for a space shuttle launch. CARF at Herndon does not
coordinate the tankers for training exercises, or other such activity that is handled at the
facility level.

Air Traffic Services Cell: A military cell at Herndon, whose office co-joins the
CARF office for the practicality of proximity for secure information. Prior to September

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11, 2001 (9/11) this cell operated normal working hours. They are present to prioritize
airspace movement intra-agency within the military branches. Lt. Col. Michael-Ann
Cherry, Colonel Czbarnek, and "another" personnel were there on 9/11.


Cherry informed Williams that there was an aircraft accident reported on CNN.
Williams remarked that the impact at the north tower "was a pretty big hole" for a small
aircraft. He left the broadcast on, and saw the second impact. He continued working on
reservations, and Cherry then told him that the Pentagon was struck.

Williams noted that CARF is connected by worldwide DSN and commercial lines
with secure capabilities. They were also able to send Audit messaging (military teletype).
Williams noted that these communications capabilities did not play a role on 9/11.

He communicated with ATT 200 (Special Military Operations branch at FAA

Headquarters) Scott Hagen. Hagen called CARF because he could not reach an open line
on the control room floor. Hagen needed the message that "no aircraft should be
departing national without a discreet code" relayed to the floor. Hagen told Williams that
one of the fighters had intercepted a police helicopter, and did not want such activity to
continue and confuse the system operations. Williams delivered the message first to
Linda Schueisler, and then took the message to Position 25 and asked them to relay the
message to National Tower. Williams noted that Ray Brooks was communicating on a
CARF STU line on a telecom that he believes NORAD was participating in. Brooks did
not begin until the CARF eleven o'clock shift. Williams himself did not participate on
this line. Williams also noted that Tony Marino arrived to the CARF as well "at some
point" after the Pentagon was struck.

Williams did not have interaction with reports involving United Airlines Flight 93
(UAL 93). He does recall that one of the shift supervisors came back to the cell and
mentioned that there were multiple possible hijackings.

The Emergency Operations Room (EOR )was set up later in the evening to
prioritize allowing flights to use airspace.

The CARF, as part of the military reservations system, received no requests to be

involved in a military, or any other, immediate response to the hijackings. Williams said
that neither he specifically, or the CARF - as far as he knows - received such a request.

Williams explained that the CARF is not and was not involved in issuing
clearances for airspace use during the closing of FAA airspace use on 9/11. He noted that
this responsibility was that of the Military Services Cell.

He has a faint recollection that Ellen King asked the facility to review their notes
from 9/11.

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