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Navy moves operations center after attack on Pentagon

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 14, 2001


WASHINGTON -- Navy commanders shifting warships around the world have been forced to make those moves without their Pentagon central command center, which was heavily damaged in Tuesday's attack.

WASHINGTON -- Navy commanders shifting warships around the world have been forced to make those moves without their Pentagon central command center, which was heavily damaged in Tuesday's attack.

Officials confirmed Thursday that the Navy Operations Center, the site inside the Pentagon used to maintain constant communication between ships at sea and naval leaders in Washington, had to be re-established elsewhere.

Navy officials said the need to relocate the center would not hinder military planning or communications in the event of a retaliatory strike against those who carried out Tuesday's attacks.

"We have re-established our operations center at another location, and we are functioning," said Adm. Vern Clark, chief of naval operations, at a briefing.

Defense analysts agreed, saying the military has "backup for backups," as P.W. Singer of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, put it.

Also Thursday, rescue workers reported hearing pings coming from the black box containing flight data from the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

"We're hopeful that we'll find it and as always, we remain hopeful that we'll find people in there too," said Capt. W. Scott McKay of the Arlington County, Va., Fire Department, which is leading the search.

At least 190 people are thought to have died in Tuesday's attack at the military compound across the Potomac River from Washington.

The Pentagon released a list Thursday morning of 126 missing personnel -- the first such tally since rescue efforts began an hour after the crash -- who are believed to have perished. Seventy-four were Army employees, 42 were with the Navy and the other 10 were listed as employees of "other defense agencies." The Marine Corps and the Air Force did not report any casualties.

In addition, all 64 passengers aboard the jet, American Airlines flight 77, are assumed dead.

At least 70 bodies were pulled from the cratered wedge by Thursday and flown by helicopter to the military's largest morgue at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

One of the highest ranking among the missing is Lt. General Timothy J. Maude, 53, the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel.

And for the second time in as many days after the attacks, the Pentagon was evacuated around 6 a.m. Thursday when a bomb threat was reported to the FBI. It turned out to be a false alarm, and employees were allowed in the massive office building after 8 a.m.

The parking lots at the Pentagon were close to full Thursday as it appeared that most employees returned to work, said Air Force Lt. Col. Ginger Blazicko.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush visited some of the 94 Pentagon survivors who were taken to several Washington-area hospitals for treatment, a trip the commander-in-chief described as "sobering."

- Information from Newsday and the Hearst Newspapers was used in this report.

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