Stephen Clendenin, MATF-1 Task Force Leader

Stephen Clendeni

The morning of 9/11 I was sitting on a airplane at Logan on the runway about an hour behind the planes that hit NY when they turned us back to the gate.

I was headed to Virginia Beach to teach a TF course on WMD to VATF02. I was carrying this little briefcase that FEMA had handed out and on the front was a logo of the towers in NY with a bullseye on them. This logo was a reference to the earlier 1993, I think, attack on the Trade Center.

My first thought was to let my wife know that I was ok and I had not been on one of those planes. Then I like all of you headed for the cache.

There are so many memories of that time but there is one I want to share. It was about the third day and I was in a meeting with the other 7 TFL’s and Fred Endrikat from the IST. Fred was explaining all the difficlties TF were experiencing getting connected with the operations and then he said “except Massachusetts”. That snapped my head up as I really had no idea of what was going on outside of our area of operations. Fred continued and said “some

people have asked that they move up to where Massachusetts is working. We are not going to do that. It is not the area where they are working, it is the fact that they have established an extrordinary relationship with the FDNY and we will not do anything to affect that.”

That is in an overall sense what I think about. It was the simple truth that the members of the TF operated with such compassion and sensitivity, as well as skill that made that extrordinary relationship possible. Uncountable small acts of kindness and caring that deeply impressed me then and now.


My thoughts are with all of you today.


Stephen Clendenin

Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy