Before retiring, Colonel Tony Basile spent a lot of time in an F-16.
Basile served in the military for three decades. He flew in desert storm. In 2001, he was the Vice Commander of the 174th Fighter Wing.
He recalls the morning of September 11. “It was just kind of a normal day” he told NewsChannel 9’s Iris St. Meran.
That quickly changed when an administrative assistant had him, and his wing commander, watch the news.
Basile quickly got ready for whatever he would be tasked with. “It was pretty chaotic,” he said.
The airspace had been closed. Then he gets a call about another plane heading toward the capital. His team’s job was to intercept it.
“As it turned out, by the time we got airborne that airplane already hit the ground,” Basile said of that day.
The 174th’s job was to enforce the no-fly zone, utilizing all their aircraft. Then, they were given two more aircraft. Basile was one of two pilots left.
Not long after, Basile was given a target. Watch the video above to see what it was – and why 9/11 was also personally difficult for him.