Major Lincoln Lieber - Pentagon first responder

Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

6:44 PM - May 02, 2010 #1

Phone call to Lincoln Liebner 05/02/10 (Mp3 download 4min56sec)


"I saw this large American Airlines passenger jet coming in fast and low," said Army Captain Lincoln Liebner. "My first thought was I've never seen one that high. Before it hit I realised what was happening." ... 68648.html

After the second plane hit the World Trade Center, Major Lincoln Leibner jumped in his pickup truck and raced to the Pentagon. As he ran to an entrance, he heard jet engines and turned in time to see the American Airlines plane diving toward the building. "I was close enough that I could see through the windows of the airplane, and watch as it as it hit," he said. "There was no doubt in my mind what I was watching. Not for a second. It was accelerating," he said. "It was wheels up, flaps up, engines full throttle. " ... 54846.html

Maj. Leibner drove in and made it as far as the south parking lot, where he got out on foot. "I heard the plane first," he said. "I thought it was a flyover Arlington cemetery." From his vantage point, Maj. Leibner looked up and saw the plane come in. "I was about 100 yards away," he said. "You could see through the windows of the aircraft. I saw it hit." The plane came in hard and level and was flown full throttle into the building, dead center mass, Maj. Leibner said. "The plane completely entered the building," he said. "I got a little repercussion, from the sound, the blast. I've heard artillery, and that was louder than the loudest has to offer. I started running toward the site. I jumped over a fence. I was probably the first person on the scene." A tree and the backend of a crash truck at the heliport near the crash site were on fire and the ground was scorched, Maj. Leibner recounted. "The plane went into the building like a toy into a birthday cake," he said. "The aircraft went in between the second and third floors." At that point, no one was outside. Spotting a Pentagon door that had been blown off its hinges, Maj. Leibner went in and out several times, helping rescue several people. "The very first person was right there," he said. "She could walk. I walked her out onto the grass." Maj. Leibner said a police officer pulled up onto the grass and began to help. "Everybody was hurt," Maj. Leibner said. "They were all civilian females. Everybody was burned on their hands and faces. ... issueID=38

Captain Lincoln Leibner says the aircraft struck a helicopter on the helipad, setting fire to a fire truck. We got one guy out of the cab," he said, adding he could hear people crying inside the wreckage. Captain Liebner, who had cuts on his hands from the debris, says he has been parking his car in the car park when the crash occurred."


Joined: 6:51 AM - Feb 13, 2008

6:47 PM - May 02, 2010 #2

The First Rescuer
By Voice of America - Carolyn Weaver
Jul 20, 2006, 5:20pm ... _106.shtml

Watch the story of U.S. Army Captain Lincoln Leibner
13 Oct 2001 02:43 UTC
(RealPlayer required) ... s_30270.rm

In New York, the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York were witnessed by thousands. Hundreds of firefighters rushed into the building.

But the attack on the Pentagon 45 minutes later was seen by relatively few people, was not captured on videotape, and the first rescuer on the ground was a lone U.S. Army Captain, a former member of Special Forces. "I was physically close enough to the aircraft as it came in that I could see through the windows as it flew past. I couldn’t see anything inside the plane, but I was close enough,” he said.

Army Captain Lincoln Leibner wasn't scheduled to work his Pentagon job until the night of September 11. He was at home reading the newspaper when a friend called and told him an airplane had struck the World Trade Center. He turned on the television and saw the second airplane hit the Trade Center.

"I called work, and told them I was coming in and drove to the Pentagon. I was standing right there, about a hundred yards away. So I parked the truck and started running directly towards the building, and right about when I needed to make a turn to go in the building, I heard an aircraft. I saw the airplane come in very low, very fast, it was accelerating and the wheels were up,” he said. “I recognized what was happening, there wasn't any doubt in my mind what I was watching. I started running towards the building. There were some construction workers going the other way, people were saying get away from the building, because they thought maybe a secondary explosion or what not.”

He was the first rescuer into the building, through a door that had been blown off its hinges. The room he entered was very dark.

“As you walked away from the door, and whatever light was coming through the door from the outside, it was almost like stepping out of a spotlight on a stage into the darkness on either end. I could hear people inside moaning, asking for help,” he said. “Immediately I came upon a woman who had been very badly burned on her face and her hands. And I took her under her arm, which was probably the only place I felt I could touch her, walked back out the door, back outside. There was a police officer who had pulled up his car on the grass at this point. And I went back inside the building.

“As I said, it was very difficult to breathe. I called out for anyone who was there to come towards me. I would call out and people inside would call back trying to use sound to locate an exit…

“The worst feeling was you couldn't touch people because the skin came off in your hands. Any way you would normally reach for someone, any way you would normally try to effect movement, you couldn't. So it was very difficult. I never pulled anyone in uniform out of the building. Every person I saw who was either dead or badly wounded was a civilian worker. All but one were female.

“At some point, I don't know when, they told us to get away from the building, they thought there was a larger fire burning above us that we couldn’t see. And at that point, I needed to get out because I couldn't breathe anymore.”

Captain Leibner was made to go to the hospital for treatment for cuts and burns. He returned to the Pentagon later, and along with the rest of his communications office, worked through the smoke and chaos of the next 24 hours, and in the days since. He later learned that he had lost friends in the attack. He didn’t return to the scene of the devastation until nearly a month later. The morning of September 11 continues to play in his mind, he says.

“The seconds of the aircraft going into the building kind of repeats itself on and on in my mind. I almost wish there were film cameras like at the World Trade Center present, because I feel very much isolated, I feel like I'm the only one who saw this thing come in,” he said. “I know there were other witnesses who saw it come in, but I see that over and over again. I still hear people inside the building. I have no idea how many people were able to make it out. According to one of the rescue workers I’ve talked to since, there was basically a 20-minute window or so to effect a rescue, and essentially anyone who was not saved at that point was left to the flames.”


Joined: 9:45 PM - Mar 30, 2009

9:14 AM - May 03, 2010 #3

Thanks, Jeff.

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