Army pays tribute at Fort Totten to those lost


| Phertling@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photo Phil Hertling
THE COURIER/Photo Phil Hertling

They gathered to pay tribute to those who stood — and fell — defending our freedom.

Soldiers of the United States Army Reserve gathered at Fort Totten’s annual September 11 memorial on Saturday morning, September 8, to remember six first responders lost in the terror attacks.

“Those of us who wear the uniform, for generations, have always tried to honor and remember our heroes,” said Major General Richard Colt, who was the commanding general of the 77th in 2001. “And even though the six soldiers who we honor today were not wearing the Army uniform, when they died, they epitomized the values that the Fire Department of New York puts into their men and women.”

The six men that gave their lives — Captain Michael Mullan, Captain Mark Whitford, Warrant Officer Ronald Bucca, Sergeant Shawn Powell, Staff Sergeant Frederick Ill and Lieutenant Colonel William Pohlmann — were part of the 77th Regional Support Command, renamed the 77th Regional Readiness Command in 2003, according to Master Sergeant Minnie Hawkins, who led the service before a few hundred Army personnel. Five were New York City firefighters and the other, a volunteer firefighter in Ardsley, New York.

“Even though their loved ones are gone, we are here to support them. They’re gone but not forgotten,” said Sergeant First Class Eric Thompson. Mullan, of New York City Ladder 12, and Whitford, of Manhattan’s Engine Company 23, died while operating rescue missions at the Towers. Bucca was assigned as fire marshal to Manhattan Command. He was the first fire marshal killed in the line of duty with the Fire Department of New York, authorities said.

Powell was a firefighter for Engine Company 207. Frederick was a fire captain with Ladder 2 in Manhattan. He gained fame in 1999 for saving a man from an oncoming subway train. Pohlmann worked as an attorney and had an office in the World Trade Center. He was also the engine company president of the Ardsley Volunteer Fire Department.

“They stopped what they did, ran into a building and tried to help others,” Sergeant First Class Kevin Wilson said. “It just shows how we are as people. We come together as Americans.”