Naval War College honors victims of 9-11 attacks

NEWPORT, R.I. – U.S. Naval War College (NWC) held a remembrance ceremony commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The event, held at the Patriots Memorial on NWC campus, honored those who perished in the attacks and paid special tribute to the three NWC students and eight alumni killed.
NWC President Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley gave remarks at the ceremony and noted that Americans can contribute to the healing process that family members and the nation is going through.
“We can cherish their memories and reflect on the ideals they upheld,” said Harley to the students, faculty, staff and others assembled for the ceremony. “We can cherish their memories and slowly heal the pain of the loss so suddenly inflicted. We can cherish the memories and aspire to have the spiritual, emotional, and physical readiness of those that have gone before, albeit prematurely.”
The remembrance also included a wreath laying at the memorial and a bell-ringing ceremony conducted by the Newport-area chief petty officer selectees. Students from the Newport-based Naval Academy Preparatory School also attended.
The 11 lost members of NWC community honored at the ceremony were Capt. Gerald DeConto, a 1998 graduate of NWC; Lt. Cmdr. Robert Elseth, who went through NWC’s Fleet Seminar Program; Capt. Lawrence Getzfred, who graduated in 1990; Angela Houtz had just begun her Fleet Seminar Program course; Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Murphy, who studied at NWC’s Fleet Seminar Program; Lt. Jonas Panik, who was studying at the college’s Fleet Seminar; retired Capt. Jack Punches, a 1985 graduate; Cmdr. Robert Schlegel, also from the Fleet Seminar Program; Cmdr. Dan Shanower, a Fleet Seminar student; Army Lt. Col. Kip Taylor, a 1998 graduate; and retired Capt. John Yamnicky Sr., a 1967 graduate.
Relatives of DeConto attended the event.
Patriots Memorial consists of a section of limestone removed from the damaged portion of the Pentagon. The names of the 11 fallen are inscribed on the memorial, which was dedicated in Sept. 2002.
NWC is a one-year resident program that graduates about 600 resident students and about 1,000 distance-learning students each year. Its missions include educating and developing leaders, helping define the future of the Navy, supporting combat readiness, and strengthening maritime partnerships. Students earn Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) credit and either a diploma or a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies or Defense and Strategic Studies. Established in 1884, U.S. Naval War College is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of nine students in 1885 and about 300 of today’s active duty admirals, generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni. 

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Daniel L. Kuester

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