As I sat at my desk in my office, I read what my duties were as a noncommissioned officer of the largest communications center in the world in the largest office building in the world that was open 24/7 because of the Viet Nam War.
Our department was the top floor of the Pentagon. A very loud noise was heard across the hall behind me; that was the men’s bathroom.
I found out later that a lady Viet Nam protestor dressed as a janitor and carrying a mop bucket with a bomb in it, went into the bathroom, set the bomb in a commode, and made a run for it.
When the bomb went off everything in the Pentagon shut down. All the many doors on the ground floor were locked. No one could go out or come in when something like that happened.
I had only been there a few weeks, and had not yet met some of the hundreds of people who worked on our wing.
The alarms were sounding all through the Pentagon. I was told the controls were in our commander’s office, the next room to mine, and he was away for the day.
I was asked to try and turn them off. It took me some time, but I found the right control and turned the alarms off. My workers thought I was their hero.
All of the elevators had been shut down during this time, and when the doors of the elevators on the first floor opened, the lady that set off the bomb walked into the arms of the guards, mop bucket and all.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)