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~ ~ Remembering September 11th, 2001 ~ ~

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My Personal Memory Of An American Tragedy - 9/11/2001





Remembering A Personal American Tragedy - 9/11/01 -  Sedona Arizona - 9/11/11 - (update on 11/03/2019) sperryr.com 
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merica will never be the same after that Tuesday, the 11th day of September in 2001.  I would hazard to say that no country in the world has been the same.  Almost two decades have gone by but for many, it seems like only days.  There are those people who have been touched and scarred deeply by the event; family members, close friends and co-workers, who never returned home that evening. Since then, many thousands of service men and women have lost their lives defending our freedom;  freedom from tyranny and terrorism, and then there are the first responders who have endured pain, suffering and death due to their connection with Ground Zero. The survivors go to sleep every evening and wake up every morning with the unbearable pain of what they had to endure and the loved ones they have lost.  Our hearts and prayers go out to these brave souls who continue to fight day in and day out to survive the scars they received from the events of that horrific day.
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or the people who were not directly scarred by 9/11/01, many may only reflect back when there is an anniversary.  As Americans, we will never forget.  An entire generation has been born since September 11th. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that future generations understand and appreciate our history and what can happen when evil forces try to take your freedoms from you.
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Below, you can watch a video or scroll through some unique pictures taken for Newsweek. For the story about Rudy Giuliani, I was able to scan it so that you could read it if you wanted to.  This issue of Newsweek has historical value and will be maintained in its present condition.  It is in very good shape other than a very slight yellowing. The magazine quality pages have held up well over the years. I took pictures of the other pages, so I apologize for the not so perfect quality, though it will help you get a sense of the history of the pictorial.
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"My Personal Perspective" (see link below), I have written a personal account of how I spent the day.  During my last seven working years, 2000 thru March or 2007, I spent that time at the UPS Regional Gateway on the ramp located adjacent to Ontario International Airport.  I still have notes from the "Disaster Plan" that I put together on that fateful day.  Airport and package security became the center-point for processes and procedures that have evolved over the days, months and years that followed. In fact, I am sure these processes and procedures are still evolving today.
In my final position as the Hazardous Materials and Dangerous Goods Co-ordinator and liaison to the FAA, I helped develop and enforce the processes that were paramount to the safety of our people, planes, packages and general public. 


Images and Video Below
Select This Bar for Video Pictorial - Historical Images Remembering September 11, 2001
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Select the first image to scroll through the images below.
These images are from Newsweek Special Report and are a historical account of that horrific day in our history.
Caution: Some images have horrific detail and may not be for all eyes to see.

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Images from present day New York City (below)


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Disaster Plan Notes
A Historical Time Line and Personal Perspective

The hand written sheet contains the notes that I took from the conference calls and meetings that were held before our hub operations started on 9/11/2001. When I look at these notes ( and I have pulled them out to review them during past anniversaries), they take me right back to that day.  Without these notes, I have a vague recollection of what I had to do and how the day went .  These notes are a mental "time machine" for me.  

I have broken the actual notes down line by line and you can find the breakdown in the tabs below.
As the header line states, all airports were closed and all flights were grounded. My operation was an air operation. All packages had to go by ground. The main problem we had involved flights that were loaded with no where to go. I will go through the document for those who do not understand UPS and air operations but first I must digress to give you a sense of how the day started.....



A Personal Perspective —-> 
This day changed all our lives forever. Follow the story of an Airport Manager and what we had to do when the aircraft are grounded.
My Wake Up Call… 
My Wake Up Call

I worked twilight hours, so I was sleeping when the planes hit the first tower.  
Ricky, my oldest son was watching the TV and got me up right around the time the 2nd plane hit.  As the event started playing out, I realized this was no accident and being unsure of what else was going to happen, I decided to head to Costco and stock up on emergency supplies and canned goods. 


Eerie Feeling In My Gut


I knew things would be different at UPS so I went in earlier than normal. As I got out of the car, things were already different.  I worked at an airport. ... LOTS OF NOISE! But it was eerily silent. Then I noticed the huge tractor type dump trucks guarding the vehicle entrances to the facility. Little did I know that these were the first of many changes to come.


First Priority

Come up with a plan to unload and move all air by ground.  Part of that plan included new security prodedures.  I was priviledged to FAA communication so I was aware of the chatter that some terrorist act was planned for the West Coast.  UPS property is attached directly to airport.

The plan we came up with was designed as a interim plan to get us through two days.  Nobody was sure how long all flights would be grounded.  So we estimated a two day plan. 


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Changes To Come… 
Changes Since 9/11/01 (Note: This is a very fluid process that continues to evolve as new threats and processes develop.)

Hazardous Material procedures now called Dangerous Goods have gone through a litany of changes since 9/11/01. At the time of the attack, little did I know that I would eventually become the manager in charge of compliance for the district. That job started out as a job to ensure that all employees handling dangerous goods going through the air system were certified and following proper procedures and protocols.  Over the years, the responsibility for training and enforcement has moved from the jurisdiction of the Air Department to the Plant Engineering Department. Procedures and protocols have changed to meet the changing conditions and regulatory control that is established by the Federal Government and state and local agencies and regulatory bodies.  

To give you some understanding of what is involved, there is a manager who is responsible for coordinating compliance efforts across all departments especially in states such as California and New York that have very strict regulations and compliance agencies. For awhile, California and Hawaii were a region unto themselves because the laws, regulations and protocols were much stricter than in other states. People who were responsible for operations in California had to be very familiar with California law to stay up on the changes.  

In a district such as Southeast California now Southern California District where there were close to 4000 employees that needed various certifications to handle packages that were designated for air travel, training requires a staff of trainers as well as more than one master trainer. It also requires an administrative assistant just to keep tabs on all documentation and make sure all employees stay current on their training. When it came to compliance and especially dangerous goods, the Southeast California District was larger than all the US regions for employees certified to handle dangerous goods, except the main UPS airport facility at Louisville Kentucky. 

The attack that the United States of America experienced on September 11, 2001 changed life as we know it, on this planet forever. Every September 11th, our country as well as diplomatic missions around the world have to be on high alert to thwart those who would relish the chance to do harm to our great nation. 

God bless the souls who perished that fateful morning as well as all defenders of freedom who have sacrificed their lives since then and throughout history.  Never forget, the people they touched and the first responders whose bravery is part of the fabric of America. We honor you every day. ...END 


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Disaster Plan Notes 
Open tabs to the right to get an explanation of the full note by line number. (Start with "Original Time Line")
Time Line 
The notes below are broken out to help show the hoops UPS had to go through at the Ontario Regional Gateway. This is the second largest air operation in the United States. Our Louisville Air Hub is the only larger operation. Each tab takes a snippet of the notes and explaination tells what happened.


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Line 1 to 5 
Adjusting the operation for ground movement

Line 1 & 2
 - Ground - Two Day Air (2DA) and 3 Day Select (3DS) along with CANU - (California-Arizona-Nevada-Utah) goes through the ground (Twilight) - Intra Sort (West Coast Next Day Air) - employees were to work building ground loads
Line 3 - We build our East Coast air containers and let them sit - We can't get the air there in under 2 days.
Line 4 & 5 - My operation (Day Sort) runs and off loads 20,000 plus another 15,000 from normal inbound trailer volume. I load Hawaii (Hono) and let it sit.


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1- Ground, 2 Day Air, 3 Day Select, go through the Twilight (ground) operation - CANU (California-Arizona-Nevada-Utah) also go ground
2 - Intra Minus CANU - will be held - Oregon, Washington, Idaho
3 - 10 K ( Next Day Air Operation NxDA) Louisville Rockford is built and it sits - (air containers)
4 - Daysort runs about 15,000 pieces and we Transload about 20,000 from 3 flights to ground feeders.
5 - Hono (Honolulu) runs but it sits


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Line 6 & 7  
Security Change - 

Line 6 & 7 - This is a major shift.  UPS has 3000 employees working in any 24 hour period on airport accessible property. So I had to send 3 supervisors to the gate to identify every employee with 2 forms of identification (eg. UPS ID and Driver Lic).  If the supervisors at the gate did not know the employee, the employee was turned away. Security changed forever on that fateful day. UPS employs metal detectors at most of it's facilities in the LA basin now. Airport facilities go through the same scanning procedures (minus taking off shoes) as regular passengers go through.  Employees that work at the airport go through a federal (FBI) screening process and are printed and part of the federal identification process.  At one time, I was one of the few managers that had access to the entire airport facility including all terminals and ramp access. 


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6 - 7 - Supervisors At Gate to verify employees - They need 2 I.D.s - Supervisors Aram, Tyson, Antonio - know most if not all employees.
If the supervisors cannot identify the employee, they are turned back and not allowed to work


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Line 8 to 16 
Little Did We Know…

Line 8 through 16
 - Any package not moving would have an exception as "closed 1".  This was not a UPS caused service problem so all guarantees were off the table. We knew that all air traffic was grounded until the following evening. Little did we know flights would be cancelled for a few more days. All our Haz-Mat procedures would remain intact.  Major changes would follow that continued to change until I retired. Management would work and layoffs for non-management would be day-by-day.  We would contact employees with union steward 2 hours prior to operation.  As always, use available down time to work on safety process training with employees.  EOS is Employee Opinion Survey.


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8 - 11 am conference call - All exceptions packages scanned as "Closed 1"
9 - All UPS flights cancelled thru Wednesday night at the earliest
10 - All Haz-Mats (Hazardous Materials) - Procedures remain in effect
11 - All Day Sort Management will work
12 - Process for Lay Off (below)
13 - Two hours prior - Document - phone number - Time - Who contacted - witness
14 - Stewards make the calls
15 - Washington - New York - Chicago - Closed
16 - Take advantage of EOS (Employee Opinion Survey) CHSP Habits - (California Health & Safety Process) (Safety Training)


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Continue to tab on right —> 
This is the two areas of explanation of the historical note from September 11th, 2001
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Line 18 through 21 - Number of employees by area on the inbound (unload).  6 S.S. (Small Sort - envelopes and tiny packages) 4 Bulk - (people who handle irregularly shaped packages that don't fit in system).


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18 - 15 Unloaders - 6 Small Sort employees
19 - 15 Sorters - 4 Bulk Train operators (Irregular and Oversize Pieces)
20 - Let everyone know what a great job they did
21 - PCM (Pre-Work Communication Meeting) Who is here, who is not, accurate accounting of all personnel


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Line 24 to 34 
Evacuation Procedures
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Heightened Security to say the least!  No baseline for anything like this before. We did not know where else terrorist would try to breach security or attack.  Our National Defense Team felt that our airports were the highest risk. 

The building needed to be kept clean of all misc. packages to ensure quick evacuation if needed. All sorts needed to run all packages sorted. Nothing left on belts for next operation (change over).

EAM (time sensitive) packages loaded in rear and forecasted for the next operation. An area that was addressed was workplace violence because of the high emotion.
The last few lines describe some additional procedures that need to be followed.  Targeting loads with extra security and controls

Donations

UPS employees have always been know to be actively support their local communities. The company sets the example in the corporate world and the employees follow suit as world class donors to worthy causes.  Keeping that in mind, UPS endorsed giving charitable donations to the Red Cross.  


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