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Saturday, June 17, 2006

AWACS in training and exercises on 9/11

Quotes from the Code One magazine article Conversation With Major General Larry Arnold, Commander, 1st Air Force, Tyndall AFB, Florida
People were generating aircraft and getting airborne. The Northeast Air Defense Sector diverted some tankers to support the fighters covering New York. Our picture over DC was pretty poor. And the communication was poor. So the aircrews themselves coordinated the refueling and the combat air patrols. An AWACS flying a training mission nearby arrived. The AWACS could talk to the Northeast Sector and provide a better picture to them.

Another AWACS was flying a training mission off the coast of Florida. President Bush was in Sarasota. We moved the AWACS towards the president. Then we received tasking from the Secret Service through the Joint Staff and NORAD to follow the president and protect him. I had set up an arrangement with their wing commander at Tinker some months earlier for us to divert their AWACS off a normal training mission to go into an exercise scenario simulating an attack on the United States. The AWACS crew initially thought we were going into one of those simulations.
Could this live-fly exercise scenario involving AWACS and "simulating an attack on the United States" have been Amalgam Warrior, which has been linked in the past with exercises such as Global Guardian and Vigilant Guardian? If the Fall '01 Amalgam Warrior (east coast CINCNORAD exercise) had been moved up from the typical October time frame (as Global Guardian was) then that would have put it in fiscal year '01 instead of fiscal year '02. Therefore, it would likely be known as Amalgam Warrior 01-3 if it did occur. What exercise(s) were the AWACS participating in on 9/11?) Amalgam Warrior seems typically to involve intercepts, hijackings, and such things. Hmm... How would these exercises have affected the events of 9/11? The Commission would have you believe that NORAD was extra prepared because of exercises. The FAA dropped the ball. The FAA disputes this, saying that within minutes of the first plane hitting the WTC they established phone bridges wherein they were communicating events in real time. Official notice may have been given at the times stated by the 9/11 Commission, but that hardly means that the FAA was not making NORAD and other agencies aware of things as they unfolded before they made official announcements.

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