USS Bataan Sailors Remember, Never Forget, 9/11

PALMA DE MALLARCO, Spain --

The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan hosted a 9/11 remembrance ceremony yesterday on the mess decks in honor of those who personified the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment in the face of great adversity.

Petty Officer 1st Class Imre Balazsi folds the national ensign during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan
Petty Officer 1st Class Imre Balazsi folds the national ensign during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan berthed in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Sept. 11, 2017. The ship is deployed with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the 6th Fleet area of operations. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kenneth Rodgers
Petty Officer 1st Class Imre Balazsi folds the national ensign during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan National Ensign
Petty Officer 1st Class Imre Balazsi folds the national ensign during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan berthed in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Sept. 11, 2017. The ship is deployed with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the 6th Fleet area of operations. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kenneth Rodgers

During the ceremony, Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Karl Kundrat spoke of his personal experiences in New York on the day of the 9/11 attacks. At that time, Kundrat said he was a Petty Officer 2nd Class assigned to recruiting duty with the Navy Recruiting District in New York City.

Kundrat said he was listening to the radio while on his way downtown to pick up some records for potential candidates when he heard the towers had been hit.

“I thought it was a bad joke; I was listening to Howard Stern on the radio. I went up to the roof of our building and saw the smoke and flames come out of the tower,” Kundrat recalled.

Feelings About 9/11

Kundrat went on to explain that his feelings and emotions about 9/11 haven’t faded as time passes.

“Every year the emotion is the same; sadness and darkness,” he said.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Averry Woods was also in New York on that fateful day. Woods recounted his experiences in his apartment in the borough of Queens as he watched the towers fall.

“I lived by the 59th Street Bridge, so I woke up every morning with the towers in my view,” Woods said. “I should have been at school that morning, but I was sick. So, I stayed home watching cartoons. I remember the news interrupting and saying that a plane had crashed into one of the towers and it was on fire. I ran to the window to see and then woke my parents up. We watched together as the second plane hit and throughout the day, watching both towers fall. It was devastating.”

Woods added that it was a defining moment for him and influenced not only his decision to join the Navy, but his brother’s as well.

“My brother worked in a building behind the towers,” Woods said. “He could have been at work when the towers got hit. We enlisted because we wanted to go out and help prevent things like this from happening again.”

The USS Bataan is currently making a schedule port visit here while deployed with the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the 6th Fleet area of operations.