On September 11, 2001, Joseph Pfeifer was a battalion chief in the FDNY. That morning, called to a gas leak in the street just blocks away from the World Trade Center, he and the firefighters with him looked up when they heard the sound of a low-flying plane and watched it bank toward the North Tower before impacting. Among the very first to respond, he talks through those first moments and the events of that day, explaining how it has helped him to learn some important lessons about decision-making under stress and leadership during a crisis. While it isn’t specifically a combat story, those same lessons are ones many of our episodes invariably touch on. Because of those striking similarities, this episode is packed with important insights for those in uniform and out.

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Image credit: 9/11 Photos