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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Soldiers share reflections of 9/11

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  • Today, Americans around the world will pause to reflect on Sept. 11, 2001, including service members stationed at Fort Leonard Wood. For two of the thousands of soldiers at the post, 9/11 impacted their lives in a variety of ways.
     
    Sergeant 1st Class Devon Martellotti, the 2012 Fort Leonard Wood Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant of the Year, was in high school in Elmira, N.Y., the day of the attacks.
     
    "As the events were taking place the faculty rolled a TV into our classroom," she said. "They just kept replaying it over and over and over again." The events of that day eventually played a part in Martellotti's decision to join the Army.
     
    Sergeant 1st Class Adam McQuiston, the 2012 Fort Leonard Wood Drill Sergeant of the Year, was a military policeman at his first duty station in the fall of 2001.
     
    "I was a private at Fort Bragg, (N.C.)," he said. "We were working platoon duty, just working out of the office."
     
    McQuiston said it was a day similar to any other, until the first plane hit one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York. He said word of the attacks traveled quickly through the post, as did rumors about what was taking place.
     
    "A large group of us from the platoon, they let us go watch the TV," he added. Shortly after the attacks began, Fort Bragg and other American military posts around the world began to lock down.
     
    "Our company was alerted, we grabbed all of our deployment gear and our formation area was a basketball court in the middle of our barracks," McQuiston said. "The day was really busy, it ended up being a long day."
     
    He was one of the soldiers on Fort Bragg sent to reinforce entry points and to prevent unauthorized entry to the large, open military post. He also helped secure housing areas on the post. He said he and other soldiers spent most waking hours manning access control points and patrolling.
     
    But after the events of 9/11, both McQuiston and Martellotti continued to feel the repercussions of the attack.
     
    "The most significant event that I can remember is being a brand new soldier in my first unit and our first sergeant gave us a brief on how our MOS (military occupational specialty) would be transitioning from a non-deployable MOS to a deployable one," Martellotti said, explaining that she is a 31E, also known as an internment/resettlement specialist.
     
    Page 2 of 2 - "They needed more us of us to give our expertise downrange," she added.
     
    For McQuiston, the changes came in the form of deployments and he watched the as the Army changed and evolved through two wars.
     
    "I deployed to Iraq a couple times," he said. "It definitely changed the way we trained and we see all the technology that resulted from it. All the different equipment we have now, different trucks, additions to our weapons, new weapons."
     
    The events of 2001 continue to impact people around the world. McQuiston added that everyone has their own way of remembering the events of that day.
     
    "You always think about it," he said. "You remember what happened every year when Sept. 11 comes back around, people think about it a lot more. You replay the images in your head."
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