Project 2,996: Admiral Wilson “Bud” Flagg

2009 September 11
by justrand






Wilson “Bud” Flagg was a retired Navy admiral and retired American Airlines pilot, about whom much has already been written.  I will include excerpts from some of the splendid things already said about this fine man and fine American…but I would also like to add my own perspective on Admiral Wilson. 

“Bud” and his wife of 40 years, Darlene, were aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when fanatical followers of Osama Bin Laden crashed that flight into the Pentagon, murdering all aboard and many more on the ground.  “Bud” and Darlene, High School sweethearts and lifelong companions, were survived by two sons and four grandchildren. 

His service to our country was long and distinguished, and his decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V.  His son Michael put a more personal spin on his father’s service when he wrote:

There were only five people to ever surpass 3,000 hours of flight time in an F-8 Crusader. My dad was not only the fifth, but he was the last and also the highest. As a naval aviator, you can think of the movie ‘Top Gun’ and certain nicknames, like ‘Maverick,’ ‘Goose,’ ‘Ice.’ He had many names going through naval aviation. He was known as ‘Hawk.’ After this achievement, he was given the nickname ‘Mr. Crusader.’”

After retiring from active service Wilson “Bud” Flagg became a pilot with American Airlines, but remained in the Naval Reserve and was eventually promoted to Rear Admiral.  He maintained an office in the Pentagon.

Having worked in the Pentagon, and been an airline pilot for many years, I can only imagine that this man knew better than most aboard what was happening as the airplane screamed towards that building.  The “Rules of Engagement” at that moment were still to “cooperate and wait for the authorities”…but those ROE would change only minutes later, when the passengers aboard Flight 93 learned what was happening…and knew there would be no “authorities” to help them.  No one can know what “Bud” and others aboard his flight might have done had they known what the suicidal maniacs who highjacked them intended…but I like to think a hero such as “Bud” would have made a fine accounting of himself.

I did not know “Bud”, but the words written about him make me deeply and sincerely wish that I had.  He was by every and all accounts a fine man, fine father, and a fine American.  Having devoted so much of his life to safeguarding his country he became an early casualty in a war against fanatics seeking to destroy everything “Bud” fought for.  It is for we the living to see that those fanatics do not succeed. 

Honor “Bud”, and the other  victims of that day…and remember that day!  9/11 must remain etched in the American psyche along with Pearl Harbor, as a reminder of the vigilance we must maintain to remain free.  I did not know “Bud”, but I do know he would want that.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 September 11 12:04 pm

    SEPTEMBER 9-11


    (A friend of mine may hold the record of 5000 hours in the F-8)

  2. 2009 September 11 12:54 pm
    aureliusx permalink

    Peace, my brother.

    Today we remember you.

    Today is not an “interfaith day of service”, as Obama and Pelosi would like to defame your service and your memory.


    Today we remember you.

    Today we remember who did this to you and why.

    Today we resolve to make stronger the nation for which you fought, now hanging by a thread.

    Today we resolve to carry forward your fight, defend you and yours, and preserve a land of the free.

  3. 2009 September 11 12:58 pm
    Sharp2edgedsword permalink

    aureliusx, well said…

  4. 2009 September 11 1:50 pm
    JustMary permalink

    I loved your entry, Dad. Thank you. I truly hope each of the families of those we remember today will find our site and know that people out there still do, and always will, remember those lost.

  5. 2009 September 11 3:31 pm
    rightwingyahoo permalink

    Thank you for your service to our country, Bud, and your dedication to your profession.

    We will remember you.

  6. 2009 September 11 3:36 pm

    Keep the blue side up, and always check six.

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