New on View: Gloves Worn on 9/11 During Pentagon Rescue Efforts

New on View: Gloves Worn on 9/11 During Pentagon Rescue Efforts

Gloves worn by Richard Stallings on 9/11. Collections 9/11 Memorial Museum, Gift of FBI Special Agent Richard Stallings.

A pair of leather gloves worn by an FBI special agent on 9/11 are now on display in the historical exhibition of the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

On the morning of 9/11, FBI Special Agent Richard Stallings received a transmission over his radio: "Go to the Pentagon. Reports of a plane and smoke." He rushed to the scene and immediately began search and rescue efforts amidst the chaos and confusion. A former tank platoon leader during Operation Desert Storm, Stallings described the 9/11 attacks as nothing he had ever experienced before. "Being exposed to war is a different kind of chaos," Stallings said.

"The only thing in my mind is, we have to get in to find out what happened; in to figure out what can we do. Who’s there? Is there things to secure? Is there things we need to find out? What kind of attack?" Because really, our job is really to find the truth,” Stallings recalled. 

Wearing an FBI raid jacket and a pair of leather work gloves, Stallings worked to evacuate survivors, moving them from the crash site to a safer location. He established a perimeter within the Pentagon and made his way through the smoky corridors, calling out to those injured or trapped. At some point, something tore through Stallings gloves, cutting his hand. It was most likely a jagged metal piece of plane fuselage that had severed on impact.

It was not until after midnight that Stallings returned home with his clothing torn and covered in soot. He would return to the Pentagon the next morning at 6 a.m. and join the recovery efforts. For the next several weeks, he worked 12-hour shifts each day.

"I knew it had to be done. I knew it had to be done right and had to be done every day," he said.

By Kathryn Johnson, Exhibition Intern