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Al Young Is a Courageous Person

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Al Young Is a Courageous Person

Courage isn't always being a hero. Sometimes courage is doing something you are scared to do, but do it anyway. Courage could also be standing up for something you believe in when everyone else disagrees with you. Courageous people don't always have to be wearing a uniform; sometimes they are wearing regular clothes just like you. Al Young showed courage during 9/11 as a firefighter with Ft Myer Fire Department by helping people out of the building after suffering injuries to himself.

Al was at the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11 preparing for helicopter flights later that morning. He was the officer in charge of Foam 161 and in charge of two other firefighters. He, along with Firefighter Mark Skipper, was checking Foam 161 to make sure everything was ok with the truck as part of the normal daily operations. Part of their preparation for the later flights was to move the truck into another position so that they wouldn't be in the way of the Secret Service. They moved the truck so that it was perpendicular to the west side of the Pentagon just behind the helicopter pad. As Al and Mark were standing in front of the truck talking, Al looked up and saw American Airlines Flight 77 approaching the Pentagon. Al looked at Mark and yelled for him to run. Mark started to run into the open field and Al started to run towards the side of the fire station where a van was parked alongside. Just before the plane impacted the building, Al dove under the van and tore the rotator cuff in his shoulder. The flames from the explosion were so intense that he also suffered burns to his body. After collecting himself he went to check on Mark and Dennis Young, who was inside the fire station. Al tried to get into his protective gear, but it had burning embers in the boots. He got into the foam truck and got it started and called into Ft Myer dispatch and alerted them that an American Airlines 757 had crashed into the west side of the Pentagon. After alerting the main station he tried to move the truck into position to fight the fire, but since it was hit in the rear by the plane it would not move anywhere. After realizing the foam truck would not move, the three crewmembers started to help injured people out of the building. They were helping people out of windows and others that were coming out of the hole that was made by the impact of the plane. He did this for most of the rest of the morning, helping crews by stretching hose, helping other victims and bringing whatever supplies were needed by the emergency crews that had arrived. As things were starting to settle down, Al was sent to rehab to be checked out by paramedics and eventually taken to the hospital for treatment.

For his actions, Al was awarded the US Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award. The award is the second highest award given to Army Civilians. He has since retired and moved



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