Immediately following the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001, frantic callers were unable to contact Chief of Navy Chaplains Rear Admiral Barry C. Black. Unbeknownst to the public, Admiral Black was 200 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean on board a ballistic-missile submarine when the Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon.
"At least four or five times a year," he explained, "I try to get on one of the major platforms in order to get some hard data regarding what our personnel think and feel. So I was doing one of those trips at the time when I heard about 9/11. I was out of pocket, and because my mission was classified, when people called, my staff didn't tell them where I was. And then friends tried to reach me by cell phone and couldn't. Others tried to reach me on my pager and couldn't. So reports of my demise began to circulate."
When he returned to his office, Admiral Black had more than 200 e-mail messages waiting for him. One message announced, "Admiral Black is missing and presumed dead."