Pfc. Timothy Bramhall, 5-73 Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, pulls guard during a mission in Balad Ruiz, Iraq. On September 11, 2001, Pfc. Timothy Bramhall was on his way to process out of the US Army Reserve in NYC when a plane struck the first World Trade Center tower:
By Spc. Ryan Stroud
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
BALAD RUIZ, Iraq (Dec. 19, 2006) – On the morning of September 11, 2001, Pfc. Timothy Bramhall made his way to downtown New York City to officially end his military career. After proudly serving in the Army Reserves, the Bronx native felt he was at a crossroads in life and needed guidance on what to do with his bright future. Bramhall decided it was time for him to exit the military and start anew.
Little did he know, the guidance on what to do with his life, the guidance he was searching for, was about to hit him like a ton of bricks.
Bramhall stepped off the train at Madison Square Garden station to find the world he knew, the world he grew up in, now searching for his help and his guidance.
On September 11, 2001, a day that will never leave Bramhall’s heart, terrorists attacked both towers of the World Trade Center, causing them to fall and end the life of many innocent people.
“I was getting ready to get out of the Army,” said Bramhall. “On 9-11, I went downtown to be out-processed, but found myself at the World Trade Center doing search and rescue.”
“I just walked out of the Madison Square Garden Train Station, and these Secret Service agents grabbed me and asked if I would help pull security since I was in uniform,” he said. “I didn’t think, I just did what I was asked to do.”
Bramhall, fighting through the chaos from the citizens of NYC, followed his orders and made his way to the Towers to help secure the area. As he was pulling security, Bramhall was asked to help with one of the biggest missions of his life – go into the Towers to help people exit them before they fell.
“While I was pulling security, I was pulled into a mission to start clearing one of the Towers,” he said. “Once again, I followed my orders.”
Though he admits he was scared of what might happen to him, Bramhall bravely entered the second Tower, completely fulfilling one of the U.S. Army’s core values, personal courage. Bramhall put the lives of the people stuck in the Towers over his own. He was driven and knew he had to help.
“At first I was really scared,” Bramhall admitted. “At the time I went into the Towers, people were jumping out of them. I saw one person jump and hit a fire fighter and kill him. After that, I wanted to turn and run.”
“I thought to myself, ‘I’m too young to die,’” he continued. “But then it hit me.
"These people are scared and what would they think if they saw a guy in uniform run from a situation like this? So I regained my composure and went right back to the mission, not really knowing what would happen next.”
Bramhall’s fear hit a new level as soon as he heard the alarm signaling the Tower was about to fall.
“I was inside the building helping everyway I could when I heard the alarm signaling the Tower was falling,” he said. “All I remember after that was running out the building and down this ally. I ducked down and cradled myself to protect myself from falling debris. I felt this huge rushing wind that seemed to pull everything by me.”
After the second tower fell, Bramhall linked up with another Soldier and two Marines, and went to work searching for people in the wreckage.
“Unfortunately, we mostly were pulling out bodies, but kept up the hope that we would find survivors,” said Bramhall...
After a week of searching, Bramhall hit the jackpot...more after the Jump.
...But seven days later, as Bramhall put it, a miracle happened.
“On day seven of the search and rescue, we found a handicapped person who was not in the Towers, but in a building that was near the Towers that was damaged because of the fall,” he said. “It was amazing that she was still alive.”
Bramhall and his new “brothers” helped the woman out of the wreckage and to a place where she could receive aid.
“That was a great feeling,” he said. “You lose hope after time that anyone will be alive. You want to keep hope, but it slips after seeing the wreckage. So, to find this woman on the seventh day, it was amazing. We felt so good.”
The mission was not yet over for Bramhall. He and his fellow servicemen stayed at the wreckage site until January 2002, working 12-hour clean-up shifts and sleeping in a local high school hallway.
“Times were hard out there but we kept reminding ourselves that we were in the military,” Bramhall said. “This is what we were meant to do; this is what Soldiers are meant to do – help people in need.”
After his service to the World Trade Center Towers was complete, Bramhall still decided to exit the military. He then went to work for the Rescue 1 Fire Station in NYC, hoping to continue to serve the people of New York. But after some time of reflection, Bramhall decided the best way he could serve the people of New York and his country was to go back into the Army.
Now a member of the 5-73 Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Bramhall says he’s right where he needs to be – serving his country in Iraq.
“This is one of the reasons I am here in Iraq,” he said. “I’m here in support of those people in the Towers who didn’t make it out of there. I’m doing this for them. I’m also doing this for another person who worked with me at the Towers.”
On the year anniversary of the falling of the Towers, Bramhall met up with those who had helped him and others clear the buildings, trying desperately to save the lives of those inside.
“One of the guys who helped us lost his Uncle, Brother and Father to the crash of the Towers,” said Bramhall. “He wasn’t doing so well a year later.
He went through some really hard times afterwards, so I’m also doing this for him, too.”
Bramhall says he proudly serves his country for all of those out there who want to lend a hand to their country, but can’t.
“I do this for those guys who want to be out here, but can’t be out here,” he said.
“This is not about revenge,” Bramhall added. “I just think about those who lost so much, and how I can help bring peace to their lives.”
Though Bramhall still has a way to go in his year-long deployment with 5-73, he says he’s okay with that. Bramhall said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I would not change anything,” he said. “I’m glad I’m here, doing my part.”