Haddaway Distinguished Award Luncheon
F-16 pilot Dan Caine
protected the nation’s capital on 9/11
Col. Caine was presented with the
George E. Haddaway Award
on May 12 2016
The George E. Haddaway Award is presented by the Frontiers of Flight Museum each year to those who have distinguished themselves by their accomplishments in the realm of flight as pilots, aircrew members, corporate or political leadership, engineering, education, or literature. We are proud to present the 2016 Haddaway Award to Dan Caine.
Honoree Dan Caine
On September 11th 2001, Colonel Dan Caine was an F-16 Fighter Pilot and the Chief of Weapons and Tactics at the 121st Fighter Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base Maryland. Like many Americans that day, as the word spread of the attacks on the World Trade Center, he quickly ran to the nearest TV and watched as the horror unfolded in the nation’s largest city.
“As soon as we watched the second airplane enter the screen and fly into the South tower we instantly realized that we were a nation under attack. After only a moment, which seemed like an eternity, our training kicked in and we began to respond.”
And like thousands of other military members and first-responders, Caine was called on by his country to do something about it.
On September 11th, Caine and his Squadron mates were ordered to take to the skies to intercept and take down any other hijacked commercial airplanes that posed a threat to the nation’s capital.
As he raced to his jet, his Wing Commander read Caine and his colleagues the rules of engagement and said, “I don’t know exactly what you’re going to see out there. I don’t know what you are going to face, but I trust you and I’ve got your back.”
With those liberal rules of engagement, Caine and his fellow Wingmen climbed into the cockpits of their F-16s and prepared mentally to face whatever challenges awaited them.
They soon took to the skies to create a safe perimeter around the Capitol and White House.
They never had to fire a missile.
Caine and his Wingmen intercepted many aircraft that day, using whatever means possible to ensure the safety and security of our nation’s Capital.
In the chaotic hours that followed Caine recalls, “We quickly created a no fly zone around Washington, D.C., in which nobody could travel except us…pushing traffic out 40, 50, 60 miles. Our goal was to create time. Time to make decisions, time to be able to determine each aircraft’s intent…to know with certainty that the pilots were still in control.”
One of the unknown aircraft that morning was United Flight 93.
Col. Caine says, “Not a day goes by that I personally don’t reflect on the incredible courage, leadership and selfless sacrifices that those passengers made. They took matters into their own hands protecting America, saving countless lives in Washington – and, in my mind, was the first moment that our Nation fought back in the War on Terror. They were an incredible example for us all.”
As the once peaceful nation huddled together below the quietening skies, Caine and his fellow Squadron mates flew overhead with one mission – to protect Americans at any cost. When asked about the prospect of having to shoot down a hijacked airliner with innocent Americans onboard, he replies “As difficult a decision that would have been, our Nation relies on us to do what needs to be done…it’s what we have been trained to do. Thanks to the passengers of United Flight 93 we did not have to make the most difficult decision in the world.”
And on that terrible September morning, Col. Dan Caine was prepared to do just that.
Since September 11th 2001, the scramble horn has gone off at the 121st Fighter Squadron more than 5,500 times. The squadron, known as the Capital Guardians, remain on alert today 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
George E. Haddaway
George E. Haddaway was a prominent fixture in the north Texas aviation scene for decades as a pilot and aviation journalist.
For forty years, beginning in 1934, he was publisher of the area’s most successful aviation magazine, Southwest
Aviation, which underwent several name changes to reflect his observations as the area’s aviation industry matured. His years of publishing brought Mr. Haddaway into contact with aeronautical legends such as “Jimmy” Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh and Wiley Post, among others, and Haddaway accumulated a wealth of aviation-related memorabilia and archives.
With this vast treasure trove of books, photographs, and papers, he was the driving force behind the formation of the History of Aviation Collection. The collection is now housed at the McDermott Library of the University of Texas at Dallas.
The many significant three-dimensional artifacts he acquired formed the basis for the founding of the Frontiers of Flight Museum to house and display these priceless aeronautical heirlooms.
F-16 Pilot Dan Caine
“As soon as we watched the second airplane enter the screen and fly into the South tower we instantly realized that we were a nation under attack. After only a moment, which seemed like an eternity, our training kicked in and we began to respond.” recalls Dan Caine.
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