Skip to comments.Fort Benning unveils statue of Sept. 11, Vietnam hero
Posted on 04/04/2006 7:36:13 AM PDT by T-Bird45
COLUMBUS, Ga. - More than 500 people attended the unveiling of a statue honoring Rick Rescorla, the decorated Vietnam veteran who, as security chief for Morgan Stanley, led hundreds of people to safety from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
The statue was put up Saturday at Fort Benning, in west-central Georgia, where Rescorla attended Officer Candidate School, though it was sent back to storage after the ceremony while a permanent pedestal is being built. Fort Benning's National Infantry Museum already has a portrait of the former Army Colonel.
"There was never any question as where to put the statue of Rick," said his widow, Susan Rescorla. "It was here he went to OCS and from here that he left for Vietnam."
Rescorla died on Sept. 11 after helping evacuate 2,700 employees from the World Trade Center. The 62-year-old was last seen going up stairs of the south tower, looking for stragglers in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.
"If he hadn't done his job the way he did, the death toll at the Trade Center would probably be twice what it is today," said author Joe Galloway, who met Rescorla at the 1965 battle at Ia Drang in Vietnam and wrote about it the best-selling book "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young," which was made into a movie starring Mel Gibson.
A young Rescorla carrying a rifle at Ia Drang, pictured on the book's cover, was the inspiration for the bronze statue.
Rescorla was awarded both the Silver and Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam. Retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, who co-authored the book with Galloway and attended the unveiling, called Rescorla "the best combat platoon leader I ever served with."
Rescorla's widow said the lessons he learned in Vietnam made the difference on Sept. 11.
"He made one last sweep, as he'd learned at Ia Drang, and was determined not to leave a single soldier behind," she said.
Rescorla was born in England. After Vietnam, where he served with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, he became a U.S. citizen.
fyi - article ran Sunday but didn't come up on search.
In the tradition of "Iron Mike" ....
Will look for it my next trip to Ft. Benning.
A real hero, God Bless Him and the United States.
said this photo was taken right before south tower collapsed... rick is with the bullhorn evacuating people.
Vietnam, 9-11 hero honored at Benning
Rescorlas widow unveils portrait at infantry museum
Story and photo by Bridgett Siter/The Bayonet
FORT BENNING, Ga. (TRADOC News Service, March 11, 2005) If war heroes, like athletes, had signature moves, Rick Rescorlas would be the final sweep.
Thats 2nd Lt. Rescorla featured on the cover of We Were Soldiers Once And Young conducting a final sweep on Vietnams bloody Ia Drang battlefield in 1965. It was a clean sweep Rescorla brought all his men out, all but one alive.
And thats retired Col. Rescorla featured in what has become a familiar image of 9-11, a barrel-chested man with a bullhorn overseeing the evacuation of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. As the vice president of corporate security for Morgan Stanley, Rescorla was responsible for the safety of more than 2,700 employees. All but six made it out alive. Rescorla died making a final sweep.
He saved 2,700 lives, only to give his own, wrote James Stewart in Heart of a Soldier, a tribute to the man they called Hard Core in Vietnam because he sang soothing Cornish folk songs while the battle raged all around him.
When Rescorlas widow, Susan, visited Fort Benning last week to unveil his portrait at the National Infantry Museum, she described a big, strong man with a big, soft heart. Doctors had diagnosed prostate cancer and gave him six months to live back in 1998, months before she met him while out walking her dog.
They fell in love soon after, and when Rescorlas cancer went into remission, he credited Susan. He sang to her a Cornish ballad, White Rose, and sent her dozens of white roses every week. And he proposed. The couple had been married two years when he was killed.
Now Susan has made it her mission to erect a bronze statue of Rescorla at Fort Benning, where he attended basic training and Officer Candidate School. It would be the first of its kind, a statue depicting and honoring an individual. That would be fitting, his wife said, because Rescorla was one of a kind, a new hero for a new millennium.
But Rescorlas story began more than 60 years before the new millennium, in Cornwall, England, home of the legendary King Arthur, where these days they sing The Ballad of Ricky Rescorla. He left home at 18 and served with the Queens army in Cyprus before joining the Colonial Police in Rhodesia. There he met Dan Hill, a freelance soldier who would become a lifelong friend.
What now? Hill asked Rescorla as they prepared to leave Rhodesia.
I want to fight communism, Rescorla said.
Then come to America with me, his friend replied. Well fight it together.
Thats how Rescorla came to be a platoon leader with B Company of the 7th Cavalrys 2nd Battalion. B Co. came to the aid of 1st Battalion, which was being chewed up by 2,000 North Vietnamese forces in one of U.S. historys bloodiest battles. And thats how war correspondent Peter Arnett captured the photo of Rescorla conducting a final sweep, with his M-16, bayonet fixed, leading the way.
Rescorla left active duty in 1967 but remained with the Reserves and retired as colonel in 1990. By then hed earned a law degree, owned a construction company, served as military instructor, professor and occasional writer.
But it was in his position as security chief for Morgan Stanley that Rescorla shined, using the skills and logic hed honed on the battlefield. The employees were less than impressed when he instituted a regular evacuation drill for the companys 30-plus floors.
Everybody used to laugh. No one took it seriously, one employee told Jane Pauley in a Dateline report last year. He drilled it into our heads.
That was before the truck-bomb attack in 1993. After that, Morgan Stanley employees trusted Rescorlas instinct, and it served them well. When the first plane hit the North Tower in 2001, he ordered an immediate evacuation, despite assurance from World Trade Center officials that everything was all right and everyone should remain in their offices.
Morgan Stanley employees got an 18-minute head-start to safety. Along the way, someone snapped a picture of Rescorla with a bullhorn. He sang Cornish tunes, some later told Susan, and urged them to be proud, its a great day to be an American.
When the last of the Morgan Stanley employees passed his way, Rescorla headed back up the tower for a final sweep. It cost him his life, Susan said, but he gave it freely.
He couldnt have lived with himself if he made it out safe and lost someone there, she said. He was a Soldier on that day. He was doing what he did in Vietnam. I wouldnt have expected anything less.
Rescorlas body was never recovered, a fact that Susan doesnt dwell on.
I dont need a body. I dont need a memorial at Ground Zero, she said. What Id like is for people to never forget. Never forget what happened on 9-11.
Im proud of my husband, and Im proud of America, and Im proud of our Soldiers, she said. I want them to know this is not another Vietnam. They have our support.
Susan would also like to see her husband awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and shes collected 30,000 signatures petitioning Congress to do just that.
When he was alive, he didnt want to be honored for anything, she said. If he were here today, hed be asking what all the fuss is about.
Im doing this for me. Its how I deal with it. People say, You know, after a while, you should get over it. Ill never get over it. Ive decided to live with my grief. I think about him everyday.
Rescorlas portrait, painted by Al Reid, and his medals, will be displayed on the first floor of the National Infantry Museum. Donations for his statue can be mailed to Rick Rescorla Memorial Fund, Post Office Box 128, Brookeside, NJ 07926.
Thought you might like to see this. Rick went to OU
Statue pictures are now posted at
Lifesaver RICK RESCORLA's statue joyfully unveiled - Ft. Benning GA
(Statue unveiling TV Coverage - The History Channel
8pm - Sept. 11th, 2006)
See where RICK RESCORLA walked in Vietnam, exactly:
The Man Who Predicted 9/11: RICK RESCORLA, ..R.I.P.
"I dont need a body. I dont need a memorial at Ground Zero, she said. What Id like is for people to never forget. Never forget what happened on 9-11."
"Rescorla died on Sept. 11 after helping evacuate 2,700 employees from the World Trade Center. The 62-year-old was last seen going up stairs of the south tower, looking for stragglers in the aftermath of the terrorist attack."
God Bless Rick Rescorla, and his wife, who continues to honor him by keeping his memory alive. He lived a hero and he died a hero.
I look forward to taking a trip to Fort Benning to pay my respects to this great American.