Paul Eidson, U.S. Air Force, retired

Once word came in that the United States was under attack, his unit issued a Threatcon Delta, which is the highest awareness level of security for a terrorist attack, and that was the only time he experienced that call. He said experiencing 9/11 reinforced his motivation to serve in the military for as long as he can.

Looking back at the 20-year anniversary, he said he wants common Americans to recognize just how vulnerable America is, which many people saw on 9/11, but Eidson said he saw similar attacks every day in the Air Force while stationed in Iraq, Albania, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other countries.

People today are in a mindset that it could not happen again, and there are things that the normal person in the U.S. doesn’t know that a lot of people in the military get briefings on — we’re under attack every single day,” Eidson said.

After 29 years, he retired from the Air Force Reserves in June 2021 as a senior master sergeant due to his “disappointment in the next generation’s leadership” in the military.

Photo and interview by Denali Lerch as part of the Advanced Photojournalism course at the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. 



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