November 4, 2009
History Commons Groups
New details of a NORAD exercise called Amalgam Virgo 01-02 have been found in a document at the National Archives. The exercise involved a suicide pilot attacking a military installation in the US. It was run in early June 2001, just three months before 9/11.
The document was found in the 9/11 Commission’s files at the National Archives by History Commons contributor Erik Larson (a.k.a. Paxvector) and uploaded to the 9/11 Document Archive at Scribd. Some information about the exercise was revealed at the History Commons Groups blog in June, when we publicised a commission document summarising a group of military exercises designed to help the military deal with suicide hijackings. However, the newly-found three-page scenario provides more detail.
In the scenario, a Haitian AIDS sufferer named Reginald Montrose forms an alliance with Columbian drug lords. This link-up is inspired by funding the Columbians have provided to treat AIDS patients in Haiti. Montrose plans to crash a Cessna into the headquarters of the Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS) in Florida. Its destruction will draw attention to the Haitians’ plight and “allow the drug cartel to flood the US with flights of aircraft and to increase their market share in the US drug market.”
The exercise starts with a call from a local airport manager to SEADS saying that they have found a suicide note in a suspicious car, and one of their small aircraft is missing. Another call then comes in based on FBI information. Montrose’s sister has contacted the bureau and told it of a second suicide note. The target is believed to be a Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, where SEADS is located.
The text of both suicide notes is included in the scenario. The first even states that Montrose has taken out an insurance policy with Lloyds of London to cover the cost of the plane he intends to crash into SEADS, and has filled the gas tank of his rental car, which is to be returned to the Alamo facility at Tampa International airport.
SEADS launches fighters to intercept and identify the incoming Cessna, and to attempt to turn it away from the Florida coastline. However, Montrose is to remain on course, without turning. The scenario states, “This will develop into an ROE [Rules of Engagement] drill that will challenge the battlestaff as they work to keep the target aircraft from impacting SEADS.” It adds, “Target will remain on course… throughout scenario or until simulated shot down…. Scenario fruition is up to Blue Forces.”