BASED ON A TRUE STORY: The U.S. Navy was among the first responders on 9/11. Entrusted with the iconic Ground Zero flag, the Roosevelt battlegroup took to the seas searching out those responsible, and to bring justice to a nation in mourning. 1145 September 2001, the U.S.S. Leyte Gulf deployed within hours of the attack on the W.T.C. with orders to shoot down and destroy any birds t squawking over New York City. The Ground Zero flag flew with pride and determination from our mast, giving us strength on our important mission. After two days we were then redirected to the gulf and given orders to destroy the Taliban with the Tomahawk missiles onboard. During transit, we were told by our Captain that the Taliban would be waiting for us in the narrow Suez canal. So narrow in fact, only a single ship can go through at any one time. If the first and last ship were to be hit by surface to air missiles, there would be way out. The aircraft carrier U.S.S Roosevelt, would be trapped in the middle and defenseless. There they were, waiting for us on horseback atop the sandy Suez dunes...following us. Just a bunch of scared kids manning the ships guns, wondering what was to happen next. What followed would change our lives forever. This is my sea story.
Joseph Pignataro is a Navy veteran living happily in upstate New York with his wife Toni, children and a spoiled Siamese cat, Maximus. Joseph has been awarded three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.