Marine Invoice Bee reveals how he watched the 9/11 assaults from Camp Lejeune at 19


Marine Employees Sergeant Invoice Bee adopted his dream of combating for his nation by going straight into service after graduating highschool. A yr later he watched the Twin Towers fall from his barracks at Camp Lejeune on the finish of his coaching.

At simply 19 years previous he was thrust into fight as one of many first Individuals on the bottom in Helmand Province to tackle the Taliban because the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden and the terrorists accountable for 9/11 started.

It was his first of 4 deployments in Afghanistan. He had his first firefight and wrote his first goodbye letters to his household, all whereas he wasn’t sufficiently old to purchase a beer.

In his new e book The Shot he particulars how the response to the assault unfolded on the base in North Carolina and the way he was thrust into fight far sooner than anticipated.

The Pentagon had flown in a cargo from Floor Zero, a part of a girder from one of many towers and a Star-Spangled Banner that had been hanging contained in the towers once they got here down.

It was placed on the deck of Bee’s boat as they sailed down by the Suez Canal, in the direction of the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. 

He was now able to avenge the New Yorkers selecting up the items of their beloved metropolis, and the greater than three thousand folks killed by Al Qaeda that day. One in all his first operations can be looking Bin Laden’s youngsters.

Under is an account of how that day 21 years in the past modified his life without end. 

As his ship headed up the Suez Canal in the direction of the Persian Gulf, they obtained a name that one in all Bin Laden’s youngsters’s was hiding in a Chinese language vessel. For Bee, the Conflict on Terror got here to him in a short time.

The morning of September 11, I awoke at 5:00 a.m., and I might already really feel the North Carolina warmth and humidity by the home windows as I obtained down from my bunk, slipped into my garments, and headed for the health club like clockwork. 

I hit the weights with a few of my buddies, cracked jokes, and talked about how we imagined the Mediterranean can be full of ladies in bikinis and yachts. We had solely seen the turquoise waters, white seashores, and port cities stuffed with bars and fancy eating places in motion pictures with our highschool girlfriends— of which I had solely had one.

I headed to the bathe to clean off the sweat after which walked again to my room, the place all the things appeared regular.

Then my roommate Brooks poked his head within the door to see me getting dressed, and mentioned, ‘Dude, one thing’s occurred.’ He did not look scared or involved—simply confused.

I adopted him into the following room the place the radio was tuned to The John Boy and Billy Large Present. They had been shock jocks who usually performed traditional rock, made enjoyable of the information, and had everybody within the barracks in hysterics. However this morning, they struck a severe tone. They had been studying a growing story popping out of New York, however they weren’t actually positive what was happening.

A year later he watched the Twin Towers fall from his barracks at Camp Lejeune at the end of his basic training

Marine Employees Sergeant William ‘Invoice’ Bee observe his dream of combating for his nation by going straight into service after graduating highschool. A yr later he watched the Twin Towers fall from his barracks at Camp Lejeune on the finish of his fundamental coaching

‘We’re listening to {that a} airplane has flown into the World Commerce Heart,’ one of many hosts mentioned. I can not keep in mind which one. Brooks and I checked out one another in shock. It seemed like an accident, and one in all us cracked a joke about low-flying plane. 

Everybody thought a small prop airplane had flown into the tower. May the pilot have had a coronary heart assault?

We sat and listened, ready for extra data to clear up the scenario. 

Then we heard there was reside feed of the Twin Towers on each TV information channel, so we turned on The Right now Present, to observe what the remainder of America and the world was seeing whereas consuming their breakfasts, preparing for work, and sending their children off to high school. 

Ten seconds later, the second airplane flew straight into the South Tower, reside on the TV in entrance of us. That second will without end be seared into my reminiscence as a result of in seconds, my profession within the Marines modified. 

The airplane wasn’t small. It had the wingspan of a Boeing passenger jet, and it smashed into the constructing with such ferocity that I believed I might really feel the influence. This was no accident. We had been beneath assault.

It was actual.

‘Holy s***, one thing’s happening. We’re getting hit,’ my buddy mentioned. Our instincts to reply and combat again made us leap up.

Sergeant Muniz got here sprinting down from the corporate workplace yelling, ‘2nd Platoon, kind up!’ We hauled our asses downstairs able to obtain orders. 

He instructed us that the Pentagon and the Marine Corp did not actually know what was happening. They did not know who had hit us or why. 

Round that point, one in all George W. Bush’s aides was whispering in his ear, whereas he was studying to elementary college youngsters in Florida. Muniz mentioned the bottom was going to be placed on lockdown in fifteen minutes. Nobody can be allowed in or out, as a result of we could possibly be deployed at any second to answer whichever b****** had finished this to us.

‘When you have household on the town, this could possibly be one of many final instances you will notice them,’ Muniz mentioned. ‘When you do not, then this could possibly be one of many final probabilities of freedom earlier than they ship us out to wherever we have to go.’

He did not inform us what to do, however we knew he was saying that we had a small window to attempt to go away earlier than the s*** actually hit the fan. I assumed the coaching operation with the Egyptians can be cancelled, and the cruise throughout the Mediterranean would get replaced with a battlefield face-off in opposition to whoever was accountable. 

My fellow Marine Pete Schuster had a automotive, so we hopped in with one other good friend and sped in the direction of the gates of Lejeune and tried to go off base. The velocity restrict was twenty miles per hour, and the navy police on base will pull over anybody.

In his new memoir The Shot , that will be released on Tuesday, Bee goes into detail about his journey from an Ohio trailer park to one of the first Americans in Afghanistan after 9/11

In his new memoir The Shot , that shall be launched on Tuesday, Bee goes into element about his journey from an Ohio trailer park to one of many first Individuals in Afghanistan after 9/11

However they ignored our rushing and allow us to go. They knew what was occurring, and allow us to go away as rapidly as doable.

By that time, the Pentagon had additionally been hit by one other airplane. 

The U.S. had simply been sufferer to the worst assault on its homeland in historical past, and we had been going to be the primary ones on the market combating again.

We did not do something after we obtained off base. We simply stayed in the home of a Marine who had household close by, and waited for information. We did not get drunk, we did not meet up with women, we did not go to a bar. There have been no clichés and no ideas of ‘That is our final night time on Earth, so what lets do?’ 

We simply sat by our telephones, standing by for our orders. 

Our eyes had been glued to the TV, watching the limitless protection of smoke plumes filling the skies above Manhattan, with New Yorkers operating for his or her lives coated in mud and particles. Each single one had pure terror on their face. 

They had been in fits and ties and pencil skirts, screaming for his or her family members, as they ran previous strains of fireplace vans and cop automobiles with their sirens on, for all of the information channel sound crews to listen to. I attempted to think about the pure concern and terror they had been feeling, whereas the world was watching by its fingers and thru tears in its eyes.

What ground had been they on when a airplane hit their tower? Who had been they pondering of? I had by no means been to New York, however

I had all the time dreamed of what it could be like. What was unfolding in entrance of me was Armageddon—an occasion of such magnitude it was unattainable to fathom. It was a darkness that I had by no means seen and did not assume was ever doable.

The assault on 9/11 was once I realized how a lot hatred is on this planet. Watching protection of first responders selecting by the rubble of Floor Zero, attempting desperately, and with a sliver of hope, to search out anybody alive, and seeing the celebrations happening all through the Center East stuffed me with a fury past phrases.

I watched President Bush inform America that terrorism in opposition to our nation wouldn’t stand, and when he vowed to hit again with full drive, I silently did the identical. It might sound chilly and callous, however at that second, I considered executing each particular person celebrating the 9/11 assaults, and I might have finished it with a smile on my face.

To at the present time, the photographs from 9/11 are among the many few issues on this Earth that may convey a tear to my eye. Marines had been late coming residence from go away, as a result of they had been serving to pull folks out of the rubble, with tons of of New York cops and firefighters. 

Bee knew he wanted to fight in the Marines when he was a child. He was surrounded by military men in his family growing up in an Ohio trailer park

His first trip to Afghanistan was his first of four deployments in Afghanistan. He had his first firefight and wrote his first goodbye letters to his family, all while he wasn't old enough to buy a beer

Bee knew he needed to combat within the Marines when he was a baby. He was surrounded by navy males in his household rising up in an Ohio trailer park. His first journey to Afghanistan was his first of 4 deployments in Afghanistan. He had his first firefight and wrote his first goodbye letters to his household, all whereas he wasn’t sufficiently old to purchase a beer

They stayed in flats overlooking Floor Zero for weeks, and spent daily sifting by the snapped metal beams, the molten workplace furnishings, and the disintegrated concrete, for indicators of life. For months after 9/11, there have been nonetheless fires on the crash web site and fears that extra buildings might collapse. 

I had mates that misplaced household within the towers. We stayed by our telephones as extra particulars surfaced about who was accountable. 

I watched President Bush inform America that terrorism in opposition to our nation wouldn’t stand, and when he vowed to hit again with full drive, I silently did the identical. It might sound chilly and callous, however at that second, I considered executing each particular person celebrating the 9/11 assaults, and I might have finished it with a smile on my face. 

All indicators coming from the White Home pointed to a small group of terrorists in Afghanistan, who hated America and needed to wage jihad on the U.S. We nonetheless did not know the place we had been going, however we had been mentally making ready for the Center East.

Our panicked households saved calling us, attempting to determine the following transfer and the destiny that awaited us. Kristan was in a seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and was attempting to get in contact with me. 

She knew, as quickly as she noticed the second airplane hit, that I used to be going to finish up someplace she did not need to think about. 

As children we had confronted the world on our personal, and he or she knew that my ardour was being within the Marines, however for the primary time in our lives, we confronted the prospect of being on completely different sides of the world and in a far completely different actuality than the fields in Rust Belt Ohio.

On September 12, after lower than twenty-four hours away, we obtained the decision to return again to Camp Lejeune. 

Our September 18 deployment would proceed on schedule, and we had been nonetheless going to journey to the Mediterranean for our operation with the Egyptians, however all of us knew that it most likely would not be our remaining vacation spot.

We loaded up on the ship, and headed throughout the Atlantic for a couple of days of freedom in Italy and Spain, the place we loved a drink and saved ready for developments. 

We had been close to the top of our coaching in Egypt, after we had been abruptly instructed the ship can be leaving earlier—on October 7. 

It could be the identical day President Bush instructed the nation, from the Oval Workplace, that the U.S. navy was going into Afghanistan. Al Qaeda and the Taliban had been the targets, and Osama Bin Laden was now probably the most needed man on this planet. 

We had been going to be one of many first Marine models on the bottom. B-52s had been bombing Taliban frontlines in southern Afghanistan for months and had been serving to the rebels within the north combat again and acquire floor. I used to be skilled to be a scout swimmer. I might spent a lot of the final two years within the water storming and securing seashores, and my first deployment can be to a landlocked, mountainous nation. 

Bee writes: 'The attack on 9/11 was when I realized how much hatred is in the world. Watching coverage of first responders picking through the rubble of Ground Zero, trying desperately, and with a sliver of hope, to find anyone alive, and seeing the celebrations going on throughout the Middle East filled me with a fury beyond words '

Bee writes: ‘The assault on 9/11 was once I realized how a lot hatred is on this planet. Watching protection of first responders selecting by the rubble of Floor Zero, attempting desperately, and with a sliver of hope, to search out anybody alive, and seeing the celebrations happening all through the Center East stuffed me with a fury past phrases ‘

We sailed up the Suez Canal, and skilled by operating sixteen one mile laps of the ship’s flight deck.

Because the departure moved nearer, we abruptly obtained orders we had been altering to a smaller boat. 

The Pentagon had handed on intelligence that there was a Chinese language service provider vessel close by, and one in all Osama Bin Laden’s youngsters was on board. It was what we had been ready for: we had reached the struggle. 

There weren’t many particulars. We solely knew that there was a risk {that a} child of the person who orchestrated the assault on America was hiding someplace on the ship, and we needed to put together. I used to be excited that I used to be lastly capable of channel among the fury I had been holding in from that day, and do what I felt I used to be born to do.

Senior officers sat our platoon down, and instructed us we’d be performing a search and seizure with the Navy and the SEALs. One other Marine unit would have normally been tasked to do the raid, however that they had been held up close to the horn of Africa, so it was as much as our group to get it finished. I had by no means been skilled to assault a ship, and it was the primary time I used to be given fight orders. It was my first mission, and I wasn’t going to f*** it up. I used to be additionally instructed that this was the primary time

I might find yourself pulling the set off in anger at an enemy combatant.

It was time to get my affairs so as. At simply nineteen years previous, I ready my will and wrote my first dying letter.

Having to put in writing down all the things you need to say to your loved ones and mates is disquieting. What are you alleged to say? ‘Sorry, Mother.’ ‘I really like you, Dad.’ ‘I will all the time keep in mind our church group journeys and looking snakes in Ohio, Kristan.’

I can not recall what I wrote, however I keep in mind not one of the Marines penning these letters had dry eyes by the top of it.

It was the primary time I imagined what would occur if I by no means noticed my household once more, and their remaining reminiscence of me can be a scribbled handwritten letter, handed over by a Marine knocking on the door. I knew I must write that letter sooner or later in my profession, however I by no means imagined it could be this rapidly—simply over a yr after graduating highschool, and three months after I had left the US for the primary time.

I addressed the goodbye letters to my dad and mom, my sister, and my finest mates from the highschool band, after which signed my will because the countdown to the operation continued.

I went by all of the outcomes of the mission in my head, and tried to calibrate all of my coaching for an operation I could by no means have been concerned in, had the circumstances been completely different. 

I used to be about to be one of many first American troops to get an opportunity to get again at Bin Laden. 

Capturing one in all his youngsters can be a serious victory and a dent in morale for the pinnacle of Al Qaeda, who had an enormous household—a minimum of twenty youngsters by 4 completely different wives.

Just some days earlier, President Bush had confirmed that he had given the navy orders to strike Al Qaeda navy installations and disrupt communications, after the Taliban refused to satisfy calls for to shut down terrorist coaching camps and return any Individuals that they had unjustly detained.

Bin Laden launched a speech on the identical day, calling the US hypocrites, and saying Muslims had been utilizing violence to answer eighty years of humiliation. 

Our households again residence now knew the place we had been going, however mine did not know that I used to be in the midst of the Arabian Sea, in the dark, able to enter the struggle far sooner than I might have imagined. I used to be prepared, however holy s***, was it actual. 

We gathered our gear, armed up, and stayed awake by the night time, ready for the decision to go. Simply after 1 a.m., we got the all-clear, and the adrenaline began flowing. 

I appeared out over the pitch-black waters from the deck of the ship, and will barely make out the lights on the goal vessel. The air was nonetheless, and there was an unnerving silence till the Seahawk helicopter rotor blades spun to life. 

They had been so quiet that the enemy would not know {that a} forty-seven-million-dollar, twin-engine assault helicopter was hovering above them, till it was too late. 

I used to be a part of the second wave of the assault, so I watched as the primary set of helicopters sped off into the night time, and headed for the boat on the horizon. As my second wave left, I held on because the pilot launched us off the deck. 

The Marines round me had been quiet as mice and laser-focused on getting the job finished. Simply two minutes later, the pilot stopped, suspended above the ship that from so excessive up appeared like a matchbox. I hooked myself right into a rappel line, leaned backwards out of the door with my again hanging over the touchdown skids, and obtained able to drop. 

I steadied myself, closed my eyes for a short second, after which inhaled among the ocean air round me. Earlier than that second, I had solely ever rappelled at boot camp—once I was twenty ft up, the situations had been managed, and I knew what awaited me once I landed.

I pushed off the helicopter into the black abyss, and plummeted in the direction of the vessel. The rope slipped by my arms with none resistance. 

I peered over my left shoulder and watched because the deck obtained nearer to me by the second. 

I might see Marines breaking by the door of the bridge, however one had stayed again and was on his knee trying like he had been hit. Then it hit me—I used to be dropping into fight.

I braced for the influence of the touchdown, and saved trying round to try to work out what was happening. The place was this child hiding? Was he even on board? Had been we in a gunfight? What number of of them had been there? What firepower did they’ve?

Had been they skilled? I attempted to recollect all of the coaching situations from Camp Lejeune, Pendleton, and Cocoa Seaside so I might adapt with out hesitation.

Bee (pictured second from right) was shot at multiple times and survived multiple close calls with the Taliban during his military career. Just hours after the infamous shot, he held the hand of a young Marine sniper who had been shot in the head as he died on a small platform in a mud hud

Bee (pictured second from proper) was shot at a number of instances and survived a number of shut calls with the Taliban throughout his navy profession. Simply hours after the notorious shot, he held the hand of a younger Marine sniper who had been shot within the head as he died on a small platform in a mud hud

When my ft hit the deck, it was like I had landed on black ice, with the wash from the rotor blades. A corpsman was standing on the backside to ensure we did not slip. My ft had been sliding in all places, and he shouted at me ‘go that approach’ whereas pointing on the bridge as I attempted to regain my bearings. I ran to the bridge on orders to carry it down with my platoon commander, whereas different groups searched each inch of the ship.

We stayed there all day, ready for affirmation that one of many youngsters of the world’s most needed terrorist was stowed away, attempting desperately to evade seize, however the operation turned up nothing. I later discovered the Marine I noticed clutching his knees hadn’t been shot. 

He had felt a flash of warmth when one of many Chinese language crew members jumped out of a hatch and threw espresso on him, making him imagine he had been hit.

All they discovered on the ship had been mountains of rice. There was nothing suspicious, and no members of the Bin Laden household had been on board, so far as we knew. Whereas the end result was disappointing—given I might been able to open hearth at any enemy—a minimum of I had my first mission beneath my belt. 

We had been known as onto the deck, to see a cargo the Pentagon had flown in from Floor Zero. There was a part of a girder from one of many towers and a Star-Spangled Banner that had been hanging inside once they got here down. What I noticed on the deck was proof that my journey to Afghanistan was my future. Each motive I needed to combat was proper in entrance of me 

The Marines round me additionally felt extra snug, now that we knew what was anticipated of us. It confirmed that we had been going to knock down any door, board any ship, or hit completely anyplace, if there was even the slightest probability we might catch somebody near him. It was my first involvement in what would change into America’s longest struggle, and we hadn’t even reached Afghanistan.

We saved operating laps as we waited for our subsequent orders and headed additional into the Arabian Sea, when someday we had been instructed to collect on the deck. I had no concept what was happening.

We might had no heads-up about any operation, and I knew we’d get superior discover if we had been going to fly into southern Afghanistan the place the Taliban had concentrated most of their fighters, and the place the airstrikes had been focusing their firepower.

We discovered from our households that the information was wall-to- wall protection of explosions within the mountains, and bomb craters surrounded by mud huts.

We had been known as onto the deck, to see a cargo the Pentagon had flown in from Floor Zero. There was a part of a girder from one of many towers and a Star-Spangled Banner that had been hanging inside once they got here down. 

What I noticed on the deck was proof that my journey to Afghanistan was my future. Each motive I needed to combat was proper in entrance of me. I used to be awestruck by how the large metal beam had bent and damaged beneath the burden of all of the flooring that collapsed above it. 

The flag was burned across the edges and had small tears, however was nonetheless principally intact. I signed the girder with the remainder of my platoon, and took pictures in entrance of the flag. 

We had been all grinning like idiots as we posed for the cameras, however the second was so highly effective. 

It related us with all of the rescuers nonetheless looking out by the rubble for survivors, working day and night time to ensure anybody holding onto life was discovered. 

I had spent my life making ready to change into a Marine, and I knew that my mission was to avenge the New Yorkers selecting up the items of their beloved metropolis, and the greater than three thousand folks killed by Al Qaeda that day. 

We had been about to wreak havoc on Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The Shot: The Harrowing Journey of a Marine within the Conflict on Terror shall be out there in most e book shops on September 13. Pre-order it right here. 

His world plunged into darkness on his third tour of Afghanistan when a Taliban sniper round landed inches from his head. It was the loudest sound he had ever heard in his life. 'I could feel the impact reverberating, and it seemed like my brain was bouncing off the insides of my skull. I couldn't hear and I couldn't see.'

His world plunged into darkness on his third tour of Afghanistan when a Taliban sniper spherical landed inches from his head. It was the loudest sound he had ever heard in his life. ‘I might really feel the influence reverberating, and it appeared like my mind was bouncing off the insides of my cranium. I could not hear and I could not see.’

Bee and his wife Bobbie are pictured at their home in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in 2021

Bee and his spouse Bobbie are pictured at their residence in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in 2021



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