A Cornish Hero - Rick Rescorla

9/11, The Day That Changed The World 


2Lt. C.R. "Rick" Rescorla, 26
Hero of the 1965 Ia Drang Valley (Vietnam) Battles,
November 16, 1965


C.R. "Rick" Rescorla, 62
Evacuating the 42nd floor of World Trade Center Tower 2
September 11, 2001

Courage came readily to Rick Rescorla, the man who enabled thousands to escape from New York's World Trade Center on that fateful day. Cyril Richard "Rick" Rescorla was born in 1939 at Hayle and grew up there, unaware the woman he called his sister was actually his mother. He never knew his father. For all his success in the US, Cornwall was never far from Rick’s heart and he returned regularly.

He left home for military service, and when Vietnam came, he managed to get involved as a GI in the US Army, enlisting in 1963. He was a hero of the 1965 Ia Drang Valley battles described in the book and hit movie "We Were Soldiers Once...And Young," and co-author, Lt. Gen. Hal Moore described him as "the best platoon leader I ever saw". His men nicknamed him "Hard Core" for his bravery in battle, and revered him for his good humour and compassion towards his men.

After Vietnam he secured US citizenship, and as an ex-GI, was able to take up a college place. He earned a master's degree in literature, then studied law, while continuing to serve in the Army Reserve, before retiring in 1990 as a Colonel. He hid his medals in the attic, and settled down to life as a professor of criminal justice at the University of South California.

In 1985 he began working in corporate security for US investment giant Morgan Stanley. When the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993, he was instrumental in evacuating the building, literally being the last man out. After more research, he warned authorities that he expected another attack, but his warning was ignored. However, he insisted that all employees practice quarterly emergency evacuations, a practice that would ultimately contribute to saving many lives.

On September 11, 2001 hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 hit World Trade Center Tower 1 at 8:48 a.m. He ignored officials' foolish advice to stay put and began the orderly evacuation of Morgan Stanley's 2,800 employees on 20 floors of WTC 2, and 1,000 employees in WTC 5. Rick reminded everyone to "be proud to be an American," and sang songs, both American and Cornish, over his bullhorn to help evacuees stay calm as they left the building and had most of Morgan Stanley's 3800 employees and others working on other floors of WTC 2 safely out of the buildings by the time United Airlines Flight 175 hit WTC 2 at 9:07 a.m..

After having reached safety, Rick returned to the building to rescue others still inside. He was last seen heading up the stairs at the tenth floor of the collapsing WTC 2. His remains have not been recovered. He leaves a wife and two children.

To learn more on the life of Rick Rescorla, use the search facility of your favourite internet browser.

On that fateful day, Rick Rescorla saved the lives of more than 3000 people!

The monument erected in Hayle in his honour

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