Flocco, 21, died when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed
into the Pentagon on September 11. "Matthew died," his mother
said, "doing what he loved most." Highly respected for his
good nature and exemplary meteorological skills, Matthew served
at the National Ice Center, an operational center run by the
Departments of Defense and Transportation in partnership with
NOAA. The Center helps safeguard ships in ice-covered waters.
On and off duty, Matthew was close to his shipmates, sharing
a love of baseball and music, especially the Phillies and
Dave Matthews Band. Matthew was about to begin off-duty college
courses. Because of his passion for baseball, Matthew's family
has established a fund to build a baseball field or sponsor
Little League activities in his name.
Earhart, 26, transferred to the National Ice Center last
December after serving a three-year stint at Pearl Harbor.
He, too, died during the Pentagon attack. Following in the
Navy footsteps of his father and grandfather, Ed made meteorology
a career -- his family talks about how Ed always relished
tracking weather. Early this month, on his last visit home,
Ed captured the curiosity of preschoolers by talking about
clouds and weather in his cousin's classroom. Just as his
friend Matthew Flocco, Ed earned high respect for his unflinching
willingness to get a job done right. He talked often about
his close family, their farm in Kentucky, and the Detroit
Lions. He loved computers and was about to learn golf. In
his memory, Ed's family has created a fund to help build a
Sanctuary Staff To Continue Educational Adventure
As Tribute to Students
began with a vision. Three urban 11-year-olds would savor the natural
wonders of NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary off of
Santa Barbara's coast.
Each youngster was a star student. Each lived in Washington, DC. Asia
Cottom was just beginning 6th grade at a new school where her father
coached baseball. Bernard Brown had turned things around to become
an exemplary student. This unique adventure was a reward for that.
Less than a mile away, Rodney Dickens had steered clear of his neighborhood's
dangers. Just as his two sisters, he was always on the school's honor
The vision for these youngsters ended when their flight from suburban
Washington split open the Pentagon. The following day, Rodney's empty
desk was draped in red, white and blue and his classmates were reading
their essays and poems about him aloud.
At the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, manager Matt Pickett,
educational coordinator Shauna Bingham, and NOAA's other sanctuary
staff were waiting for the students and the three extremely popular
teachers and two revered National Geographic Society staff members
who were flying with them.
Shauna describes the educational itinerary she developed - the boat
trip to search for marine mammals and seabirds; the island hike to
study native and introduced species; the kayaking above kelp forests
to view sea caves, and much more.
With other sanctuary staff, Shauna had coordinated the adventure with
National Geographic Society staff as part of the five-year NOAA/National
Geographic Sustainable Seas Expedition, one of the nation's premiere
undersea projects. "Now, " she says, "we will continue the educational
program in honor of the lives lost."
Dan Basta, NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary director, praised the
efforts of National Geographic in finding the candidates and funding
the education series that "brings young students, many of whom have
never seen the ocean, to National Marine Sanctuaries. Over the coming
months," he said, "we will be looking for ways to remember these young
adventurers and the teachers who were bringing new ocean worlds to
is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true
of a nation as well.
We have seen our nation in eloquent acts.
President George W. Bush
of Commerce Donald Evans met with Commerce staff soon after the attacks
on America. "Commerce is open for business. But it's not business
as usual," he said. Secretary Evans said that never before has he
been as proud to be an America, and that part of his pride comes from
his association with Commerce staff. "I trust you even more now,"
Fueling the Front Lines
work and after hours, NOAA staff keeps striking back with service.
Very soon after the Pentagon was hit, National Ice Center
staff pitched in to help Red Cross and Salvation Army workers
pass out cool water, hot food and other critical items to firemen
and other rescue workers.
They began by working in tents set up by both groups. But as rescue
workers grew more exhausted and smothered in ash, they moved directly
to the crash site, providing food and water to also sustain those
struggling to find life within the crushed Pentagon. About 15-20
NIC staff, the whole Command, have helped out each day. They plan
to continue until there's nothing left to do.
At the Naval Research Lab, NOAA Corps Officer, LCDR Tom
Strong, was Command Duty Officer on the day of attack. Working
nearly 34 hours straight, he organized the safe evacuation of
about 6,000 employees and ensured that security was in place.
Then he led 36 volunteers as they cleared out buildings and found
space for displaced Pentagon employees.
In New York, Mike Wyllie, meteorologist in charge of the Upton
National Weather Service forecast office, and his staff
worked closely with New York's emergency management office. The
offices have worked closely before, coordinating severe weather
response. Weather service staff had often visited New York's emergency
management office, now demolished at the World Trade Center site.
In Sterling, Virginia, meteorologist in charge Jim Travers and
his 10-person staff have been providing around-the-clock weather
support to emergency services groups handling recovery at the
Pentagon. The groups signal their requirements and Jim's crew
sends back spot forecasts.
There's also a lyrical twist to that office's support. Meteorologists
Andrew Woodcock and Chris Strong play in StrangeWax,
their rock band "with a lot of influences, a U2 meets Pink Floyd
kind of sound." With praise from the Washington Post,
StrangeWax released its first CD about a year ago
and orders continue to come in via its web site at www.strangewax.com.
Now the band is contributing all CD profits to the Red Cross.
There's much more…At the Coast Guard's request, a hazardous material
response team from NOAA's National Ocean Service is developing
an emergency response database to document possible contaminants
in the New York area.
The worst of character is showing us the best of character.
NYC rescue worker
From South Carolina, the National Ocean Service's Marine Forensics
Branch has offered to assist the FBI with DNA analysis. From NOAA
Fisheries, 27 special agents from the Office for Law Enforcement
are helping with interviews, search warrants, evidence collection
and other security concerns. The agents became engaged almost
immediately after the attacks.
shock and sorrow, sympathy and solidarity, the world has noticed
NOAA's efforts. NESDIS - the National Environmental Satellite,
Data and Information Service - reports an outpouring of international
support from around the world. The National Weather Service,
too, could cover a world-wide map with heartfelt communication
from every area on it.
Last week, during my visit to the National Ice Center
in Maryland, I was pleased to welcome back LTjg Nancy
McKeown, USN, officer in charge of the National Ice
Institute's Pentagon office. After being injured during
the Pentagon attack, LTjg McKeown was back at work,
ensuring that critical support to the Navy's command
center was on track. It is with distinct honor that
LTjg McKeown escorted Edward Earhart home to his family.
Matthew Flocco was escorted home as well.
On behalf of Secretary Evans and all NOAA employees,
I also wrote to the families of AG1 Earhart and AG2
Flocco, and to parents of the children who died en route
to NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
I hope the message will provide some solace to those
who lost loved ones, and to our NOAA employees who grieve.
I wrote that whether as outstanding National Ice Institute
staff, determined six-graders who worked hard to reach
a dream adventure, or visionary sanctuary staff who
fostered these dreams, there are legacies and initiatives
to always be proud of - my hope is that those to whom
I wrote and many NOAA staff can find some comfort in
recognizing just how key a role they played in shaping
the proud legacies of those who so tragically died.
I also thank the many NOAA staff who during and after
work have been vital contributors to support efforts
at the Pentagon, in New York, and in their respective
Acting Administrator, NOAA
you & your family can help
Help for you & your family
All of us grapple with problems at some point in our lives, perhaps
even on a daily basis. When help is needed, it's available to all
NOAA staff who wish to have it. Grief may be an issue right now.
Other issues might include stress, marital and/or other family or
relationship problems, debt, alcohol or substance abuse, and anything
else that makes life difficult. Financial services, pre-retirement
counseling, even income tax help are available too.
Services are pre-paid and provided in confidence by professional
outside counselors. Dependents and eligible family members also
qualify. For assistance around-the-clock : 1-877-234-5151; TDD line,
learn more: http://www.lifeworks.com.
ID is noaa; password is 5018. For resources and referral, contact
1-866-662-2952. TDD, 301-713-9470.
NOAA's Worklife Center
and Loss in the Workplace
-- University of Michigan
the Aftermath of a Disaster
-- American Psychological Association
Deal with Scary News
-- Mr. Rogers/Family Communications, Inc.
the News with
3- to 7-Year-Olds: What to Do?
-- National Association for the Education of Young Children