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September 11 Memorial: Remembering the victims who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania

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Wilson F. Flagg

Age: 63

Hometown: Millwood, Va., USA

Occupation: Retired Navy Admiral and pilot, American Airlines

Location: Passenger, American Flight 77, Pentagon

"There were only five people to ever surpass 3,000 hours of flight time in an F-8 Crusader. My dad was not only the fifth, but he was the last and also the highest. As a naval aviator, you can think of the movie 'Top Gun' and certain nicknames, like 'Maverick,' 'Goose,' 'Ice.' He had many names going through naval aviation. He was known as 'Hawk.' After this achievement, he was given the nickname 'Mr. Crusader.'" -- Michael Flagg, son


The weekend before they died, they went to his 40th college reunion.

Among the stories told by returning members of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1961 was the one about how Bud Flagg cured his classmates of raiding his CARE packages. He switched a batch of Dee Embree's good cookies with his own batch loaded with laxatives -- and nobody messed with him again.

Wilson "Bud" Flagg served on active duty from 1961 to 1967, including three tours as a fighter pilot in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. After that, he had dual careers as an American Airlines captain and an officer in the Naval Reserve, retiring from the Navy in 1995 as a rear admiral and from the airline in 1998.

In the early '90s, the Flaggs -- who were high school sweethearts and married when he graduated from the academy -- moved to a Millwood cattle farm in Clarke County, Va. When Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, they were on board, heading to a family gathering in California.

Both Flaggs were 63 and, according to his classmate Chuck Morris, "extraordinarily affable."

Darlene "Dee" Flagg was a 1960 graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and taught school in Annapolis till Bud graduated.

Bud Flagg attended flight school in Pensacola, Fla., and became a Navy pilot in 1962. After leaving active duty, he continued flying the F-8 Crusader and logged more than 3,200 flight hours.

His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V.

His career was blemished by the 1991 Tailhook Association scandal. In 1993, he was one of three top officials who received letters of censure for knowing about but failing to stop extensive incidents of sexual harassment at the association's Las Vegas convention.

His academy roommate, retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Leo Willetts, said Flagg knew his duty as a senior officer and accepted the punishment as best he could.

The Flaggs lived in Mississippi, California and Connecticut before settling on the cattle farm. They also had a home in Las Vegas. Dee Flagg was active in Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Winchester, Va., and the Greenway Garden Club in Clarke County. Both were members of the Blue Ridge Hunt.

They leave two sons -- Mark, of Florida, and Michael, of Clarke County -- and four grandchildren.

-- Adam Bernstein

<style> #PentmemMemoryWrap { margin-left: 95px; width: 506px; background: #faf7ec; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; color: #2e2e2e; } #PentmemMemoryTop { padding: 14px; } #PentmemMemoryTop img { padding: 0px 0px 0px 10px; } #PentmemMemoryTop .headline { font-size: 12px; font-weight: bold; } #memAuthor { float: right; margin: 2px 20px 20px 0px; font-weight: bold; } .blurb { font-size: 11px; line-height: 16px; margin-left: -92px} </style> <div id="PentmemMemoryWrap"> <div id="PentmemMemoryTop"> <div class="blurb"><p><img src="" align="right" border="0">"When Dad planned his retirement from the Navy and American Airlines, little did we know a third career would get started at Daybreak Farm raising black angus beef cattle. Mom and Dad loved the farm and welcomed everyone to it. At the age of 2, when my son, Michael, was supposed to visit for 2 weeks in the summer, but stayed 2 months, we knew they had something special.</p> <p>When we moved to the farm, Michael and Natalie would get up every morning to race down to Grandma and Grandpa's. They would feed the animals, eat baloney and cheese sandwiches by the pond, and make homemade ice cream all topped off with Grandma's hugs and squeezes."</p> <div id="memAuthor">-- Michael E. Flagg, son <!-- /end memAuthor --></div> <!-- /end blurb --></div> <br> </div> </div>

Source: The Washington Post, AP and

The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.

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A day after the 9/11 attacks a makeshift memorial was created on the Arlington Memorial Cemetery fence. Seven years later, the first 9/11 memorial is opening.

Related Coverage:

3-Dimensional Virtual Memorial

Victims Remembered in Maryland

One Family's Loss

Stepping Through the Ashes

Pentagon Under Attack

Five Year Anniversary Coverage

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