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Service & Sacrifice: 9/11 Combat Camera veteran

The first video camera allowed inside the Pentagon after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, was in the hands of an Air Force veteran with ties to East Tennessee


The first video camera allowed inside the Pentagon after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001 was in the hands of an Air Force veteran now living in East Tennessee.

"Emotionally I didn't think about it until later that night when I got home and I was out of my suit and everything. I kind of pondered it, thought about what I had just experienced," recalled Dave Barlow, who served from 1989 until 2012 in the US Air Force. He spent eight of those years in the so-called "Combat Camera" unit taking him to close to 20 countries for anywhere from a week to six months.

"You always have your bags packed, camera gear, everything ready to go. You carried a beeper back then," said Barlow, sitting in front of the exclusive video he recorded throughout the day on Sept. 12 that was later shared with a host of major news organizations. 

In addition to describing what he witnessed inside the Pentagon the day after the terrorist attack, Barlow also offered answers to 10 questions that offer more insight into his service and his life outside the military.


1. What one person influenced you most in life?

My wife Linda. She was there from the beginning. We met after basic training and have been married close to 25 years.

2. Do you feel honored and respected for serving your country?

Yes. Very much so. Even more so after (Sept. 11th 2001) I went from there on to the military base at Diego Garcia (in the Indian Ocean) where the US military started running the first bombing missions into Afghanistan.

3. How can people thank you for your service?

I don't need thanks. I say thank you to people for their support.

4. How do you honor your fellow service men and women?

I offer respect for them and for their mission.

5. How do you think this generation of military men and women is different or similar to yours?

I think technology has changed what we do. Younger generations in the military are more tech-savvy. One thing we share is the mission isn't about "I," it is all about "we."

6. What influence did your military service have on the rest of your life?

It created discipline and structure. I know how to iron a shirt and to this day I can't grow my hair long.

7. Does your family have a history of military service?

My father served in the Army and my uncle in the Air Force.

8. Would you encourage younger generations in your family to join the service?

Absolutely. Yes.

9. How has your opinion of war changed?

Our troops served honorably. I saw us pull together in the days after the terror attacks, but we have lost that togetherness and sense of a unified effort.

10. How did your military experience shape your religious faith?

I wasn't a Christian going in but I started looking for a change in life. I'm a changed person after becoming a Christian. God has had a hand in lots of things I've done.

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