Air Force One commander recalls 9/11

Air Force One commander recalls 9/11

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -

A Johns Creek man was in command Air Force One when the country was under attack by terrorists on 9/11.

Retired United States Air Force Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears commanded the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base in 2001. He said that nothing could have prepared him for that day.

"We were surprised. No one had anticipated an attack from within," said Spears.

The Air Force One pilot transporting President George W. Bush was under his command. Spears got a phone call from the pilot.

"He asked me, ‘Boss, where do we go?' So, I recommended Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La.," said Spears.

Like everyone else, the general watched the attacks unfold on television and knew that it wasn't safe for the president to return to Washington. He feared Andrews Air Force Base would be next.

"They would have thought through that the president was not in Washington, DC. He had to return. And he returns to Andrews Air Force Base," Spears said.

But once it was safe enough for the president to return, Spears was one of the first people to greet him as he descended the stairs of Air Force One.

"He said, ‘Glenn, we will find those cowards who executed this strike. We will hunt them down, and bring them to justice,'" Spears recalled.

Spears will be the keynote speaker at a 9/11 remembrance program Wednesday at 6:30pm at Northview High School in Johns Creek.

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