Don Awarded Prestigious Photograph
USMC WW 235th Birthday Ball
GySgt(Ret) Mario Monaco & Don Patterson show General James E. Cartwright the Twin Towers photograph.

I wish to thank each and every person who made this award possible. "Thank You!" I am proud to be a member of the LCPL Robert John Slattery Detachment 206, MCL, NJ. They have done so much for the wounded warriors in the years I have been working with them that it would take a book to tell just some of what they do. When I visit the hospitals and see someone who needs something, all I have to do is call from my cell phone and it is usually shipped that day.

When I was presented with the photograph, I was speechless! All I could say was "Thank You!"

OOHRAH Semper Fi


(Click photos for larger view)
USMC WW 235th Birthday Ball
Mario Monoco (not shown), Eddie Neas, Marc Puricelli presenting photograph & certificate to Don Patterson
USMC WW 235th Birthday Ball
Gunny Monoco, Marc, Eddie & Don
USMC WW 235th Birthday Ball
Gunny Monoco shows Towers photograph to LtCol & Mrs. Wall Michael Wall

This photo of the World Trade Center was taken on 26 August 2001, two weeks before the Towers were attacked by terrorists. It was taken from a 1951 Marine L-17, beautifully restored by Frank Flagg at Casey Avaiation in Mansfield, Massachusetts, and one of our crew chiefs in HMM-362 in Vietnam (1967-68). An L-17 ia a four passenger, single engine, propeller driven, low wing, bubble canopy airplane used by the Marine Corps in Korea & early Vietnam.

In the late afternoon of August 26, 2001 we were returning to Teterboro Airport, having shown the aircraft at the Sussex Airshow that weekend. Flying up the Hudson River, prior to making our final approach, I took out my pocket camera and snapped the usual "touristy" photos of the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center, the Intrepid and the Washington Bridge, never intending to get the wing in the photo.

I had forgotten that I had even taken the pictures, until months later, when I finally had the film developed. It was then that I discovered this photo with the Marine Wing framed between the towers. Apparently as I took the picture, I must have leaned away from the canopy causing the wing to come up and become framed between the towers, which ironically distinguishes this picture from the thousands of others taken of the WTC.

This photo has since become famous within the Marine Corps and related communities. The original enlargement was presented to General James Jones, the former Commandant of the Marine Corps, when I was presenting Warfighting Seminars at the Basic School, under the commandant's mentoring Program, and it hung behind his desk when he was the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. He was fond to relate, that when people invariably commented on the photo, he took the opportunity to say: "That's why we are there." It has given me great pride to present this photo. It has never been sold, but only donated for Marine-related charitable purposes, and given to those Marines who have requested copies.

Semper Fidelis,

Capt. Ben R. Cascio USMC Retired
"Seldom wrong, but never in doubt"

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