by Ed Beakley
On September 11, the evacuation was real. A fireball erupted in the nearby tower, and all of Morgan Stanley’s employees were making their way down and out of the other tower. By the time the second hijacked airliner hit the south tower at 9:07 a.m., most of the company’s employees were out. But Rescorla’s work was not finished. Three employees were missing. Rescorla and two assistants went back to look for them. Rescorla was last seen on the tenth floor of the burning tower. He died when the building collapsed a short time later. But he had saved thousands of lives. Out of 3,700 employees, Morgan Stanley lost only six, including Rescorla.
In 1990, Rescorla as head of security for Dean Witter (merged with Morgan Stanley in 1997) in the World Trade Center called in an old Army friend with extensive counter-terrorism experience and jointly assessed the vulnerability of the tower to attack. Their determination – drive a truck with explosives into the basement. Less than three years later, on February 26, 1993, Rescorla got all of the company’s employee’s out after a truck bomb exploded in the basement. Followers of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a radical Muslim cleric in Brooklyn were convicted of the bombing.
Rescorla continued his concern and planned for and forced Morgan Stanley employees to practice evacuation like school children. Almost 3000 died on September the 11th, 2001, but 3700 lived because Rescorla ignored the Port Authority’s direction to stay in place after American Airlines Flight 11 impacted the first tower, and evacuated his people. He had managed a crisis before it became a crisis – a disaster.
Please read Rick Rescorla’s story – a story of the DAY - The Real Heros Are Dead