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FLIGHT LINE
New Member: CDR Iain A. Currie

CDR Iain A. Currie, USNR

A UNITED PILOT'S 911 EXPERIENCE

In a nutshell, I'm fine, having been on the last day of a layover in Sao Paulo, Brazil, when the twin towers were destroyed. We were held in place until last night, Sept. 14, arriving this morning to Miami airport and our Operations people waving an American flag, handing out flowers, and hugging us, while we deplaned.

After clearing Customs (which was less than fun) there were more greeters, and a small memorial set up in remembrance of our comrades who'd fallen earlier in the week.

Brazil isn't my favorite place in the world, but the people down there did a fantastic job. ALL the flags in the city were at half mast, people hearing our English would randomly come over and express concern, and the hotel stepped up security, answered our every question, and even let us have free calls home, when a line could be gotten. Overall, a grade of excellent.

One of the hardest actions I've ever had to undertake, was boarding the plane to return home. This may sound a bit trite, but after the insanity being witnessed on the TV for a few days, our imaginations were running wild. After all, more than one person had convinced themselves that flying an airplane into a large building, was acceptable behavior, and we could only wonder what was in store for us.

I also must admit, that some of my fellow United crewmembers were a bit new and naive regarding a large scale crisis, and lacked some of the rebounding and forward leaning reaction that I saw at Pan Am after Lockerbie.

The trip home was thankfully uneventful, and the passengers great.

Right now I'm on the warm-up pad with the Navy Reserves. There's a slight tug-of-war going on, as I was due to depart from my current Command on October first for one that meets in Miami. Naturally, the people I work for now want me to stay on as I have experience, and would be more integrated than someone new. We'll see as the week progresses.

I'm tired, but DAMNED glad to be home, and hope to participate in the resolution of this mayhem.


Iain,
15 SEP 2001

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Iain Currie was born in Rochester, NY on June 23, 1960 to a British father and American mother. His family has a long history in serving in the military, and two of his uncles achieved flag status. One in British Army and one in the Canadian.

Iain was commissioned from the NROTC Unit at the University of Rochester, in May, 1982, where he graduated with a degree in Oceanography. He first served in the Operations Department at HELSEACONWING-1, the H-2 Wing, NAS Norfolk, while awaiting his class date in flight school. Iain reported aboard Pensacola, in February, 1983, but was stashed again for 2 months as the head lifeguard at the NAS beach. Primary training was started in June; Advanced training in Corpus Christi, began exactly one year later. His wings were earned on July 20, 1984, exactly 15 years to the day after Neil Armstrong walked the moon.

From Pensacola, Iain was sent to Moffett Field in San Francisco for P-3 training, and in April , 1995, he joined his first squadron, VP-4, the "Skinny Dragons", in Diego Garcia while they were half way through their deployment. From there, then LTJG Currie was Based out of Barbers Pt., HI, where he deployed to Adak, AK and Cubi Pt., PI.
LT Currie left active duty in July 1989 and moved to Miami where he joined Pan American Airlines as a co-pilot flying Boeing 727's all over the Caribbean. Simultaneously, he joined Naval Reserve Squadron, VP-62, flying the P-3 at NAS JAX. There he served as Department Head of every section in VP-62, and screened for command. Iain was promoted to both O-4 and O-5 (May 1998). He is presently awaiting a follow on duty billet after serving with USCENTCOM at Mac Dill AFB, Tampa, where he was the sole Reserve representative in the J5, Plans and Policy section.

After Pan Am ceased operations on December 4, 1991, he worked solely with the Reserves for 18 months to maintain proficiency, while seeking another flying job. He was hired by a charter operator, Av Atlantic out of Ft. Lauderdale where he flew B-727. Shortly thereafter he transferred to American Trans Air from Orlando, flying Lockheed 1011's, and finally, after six years of trying, was hired by United Airlines in 1999 where he is flying B-727's out of Miami. Iain hopes his last move is the end of job hunting.

Iain, moved to Jupiter in June, 1996, and recently moved into a lovely river front home. When not flying, he is an active member of the American Legion Post 374 in Key Biscayne, a volunteer with WLRN Radio Reading Services for the Blind in Miami, and is the head coach of the Jupiter Outrigger Canoe Club. He also likes to sail and is a member of the Palm Beach Sailing Club, does Yoga training, and is a member of the Miami Scottish Marching Band, playing the bag pipes.

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