Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General; now CEO, OptumServe
Patty Horoho was at work in her office at the Pentagon when someone announced a plane had hit the World Trade Center. She walked across the hall and watched on television as the second jetliner hit. She calmly said, “We’re going to be next.” Soon they heard a loud boom and felt the building shake.
She began following others evacuating the Pentagon. But she realized she needed to be near the crash site to provide help. This was because, by experience and training, her specialties are burn care and critical incident stress debriefings. She immediately began to care for and triage those injured.
Ironically, on the morning of 9/11, she was the right person, in the right place, at the right time.
“The response of medical people was tremendous,” Horoho said. “We had physicians from Walter Reed, physicians from Bethesda, and physicians and nurses from civilian hospitals in the area. We also had the medical students from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. They drove as far as they could, parked and then ran until they got there.
“The Salvation Army showed up about suppertime. They started serving pizza, chicken and coffee. I left at 12:30 that night. I called my mom and dad, who were a wreck. I talked to my sister and my brother.”
Reflecting back, she says that protecting our freedom and our way of life makes her very proud to have been an officer, a soldier and an Army nurse.
Patty Horoho is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General. She continues to serve through leadership, as chief executive officer of OptumServe.