Suwanee woman recounts 9/11 onboard Air Force One - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Suwanee woman recounts 9/11 onboard Air Force One

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Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Wanda Joell was a flight attendant onboard Air Force One. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Wanda Joell was a flight attendant onboard Air Force One.
SUWANEE, Ga. -

Few people were closer to history on 9/11 than a Suwanee woman who was onboard Air Force One with President George W. Bush.

Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Wanda Joell was a flight attendant on Air Force One in Florida at the time. She and staff were waiting on President Bush after he learned of the attacks while reading to students in Sarasota.

"We got airborne and had to make some deviations in flight and different plans just to keep our president safe," said Joell. "I felt like we were going to be OK, we were safe with our guardian angels."

Security orders still remain for Joell not to reveal many details about those harrowing hours when the President's plane was airborne. She says Air Force One was protected by two fighter jets on either side, as she and others first learned of the magnitude of the attacks from the news.

"I was in the conference room in the airplane and I looked at the news and that's when I saw the second tower had fell," said Joell. "We were all shaken. It was a very emotional experience."

Joell retired in 2010 after nearly three decades in the Air Force. She spent 24 years flying, first with Vice President George Bush on Air Force Two before transitioning to Air Force One when he became president. She was part of the staff for the two Bushes, and Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Joell now lives in  Suwanee, closer to her parents in Lawrenceville, and with her 16-year-old son Darius. He tells he doesn't' remember much of 9//11, just that his mom was with the President.   

"It made me feel safe and the rest of my family definitely," said Darius Joell.

Wanda Joell says she is now a motivational speaker who wants to tell her story of how discipline, hard work and dedication put in her a place of history she will never forget.

"I know that I made history and I'm honored and humbled and blessed to be a part of it," Joell said.

Joell was also the first African-American woman to work as a flight attendant onboard Air Force One.

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