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A Rightful Return: USO Delaware Helps Return Crew Pins from 9/11 Pentagon Crash Back to American Airlines Family

Monday, August 25, 2014


Video by Joseph Andrew Lee  

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.—A set of flight attendant’s wings and a pin sat for years among unclaimed personal effects from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The items, which were salvaged from the wreckage of American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon that morning, were eventually transferred to the Joint Personal Effects Depot (JPED), a military unit dedicated to returning personal effects of our country’s fallen.

But without a claim, and no personal markings, the wings and pin sat at the depot for over a decade. That’s where USO Delaware’s Joan Cote saw them.

Cote spent the next two years working with JPED to have the items returned to American Airlines. 

Several ceremonies have been held since, and the wings are now enshrined at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. On Aug. 4, representatives from American came to Dover to honor the two service members responsible for the items’ safekeeping.  

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