Fort Hood Dedicates Room to Vietnam War and 9/11 Hero Rick Rescorla

Tiffany Pelt KCEN TV

To see a video of the Rescorla Room, please click here.

This is the story of a hero. It’s also a story about love.

Rick Rescorla in Vietnam Photo courtesy of the Rescorla family

Rick Rescorla in Vietnam Photo courtesy of the Rescorla family

Susan Rescorla will have hip surgery soon, but despite her difficulty walking with a cane, she made the flight to Fort Hood. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” she said with a smile.

Dressed in her best, she arrived at the 2-7 Cavalry Headquarters where she was the honored guest. Though she wanted to cry, she held back tears and held her head high as the room dedication began. They unveiled a wooden plaque, and after she gently touched the engraved edges of the words, she walked through the door of what is now known as the Rescorla Room.  

“God had a plan, and he made me the recipient of this wonderful legacy of a man,” Susan said. “To go into that room was very difficult.”

You see, Susan’s husband was no ordinary man. In fact, he was quite extraordinary. Col Rick Rescorla was an American Hero.

“There will never be another Rick Rescorla,” said Lt Col Andrew Watson, Commander of 2-7 Cav. “How better can you epitomize selfless service to a nation?”

Rescorla is the very definition of American Hero, although he wasn’t even American. Born and raised in the UK, Rescorla fought with the British Army. He later immigrated to America and joined the Army, and fought with 2-7 Cav during the Vietnam War.

“This is where it all started,” Susan said about returning to the 2-7 Cav.

As a platoon leader for Bravo Company, Rescorla would belt out songs he wrote to his men to help calm them and inspire them to push on. “He had the ability to make you reach down inside of yourself and do things you didn’t think you had the ability to do,” said Sam Fantino, Rescorla’s radio operator during the war.

Against all odds, he empowered his exhausted and severely outnumbered company to hold off more than 2,000 enemy soldiers during the first major battle of Vietnam. He came back a war hero, but his legacy did not end there.

“Well, he’s just the most amazing man I ever met,” Susan said with a grin. Decades had passed since the war, and he met Susan. It was love at first sight.

“When he told me had cancer I thought, if I have five minutes with this man it would be the best five minutes of my life. And it was.”

But at 62-years-old, Rescorla did not die from cancer.  “I still can’t get over it,” Susan said as tears welled up in her eyes. “When you lose a love one, that’s shock enough, but what happened to America it just ripped us all apart.

Rescorla was working as the Vice President of Security for Morgan-Stanley/Dean-Witter, the largest tenant in the World Trade Center. On 9/11 he was in the south tower. Immediately he began to evacuate the employees and led more than 2,700 people to safety.

“Everybody said, Rick our folks are out. You’ve done what you need to do. He pointed up the stairwell and said you hear those screams? There’s more people up there. I have to help get them out,” said Col Watson as he told Rescorla’s story.

Before heading back up, Rescorla called Susan one last time. “He said to me, you have to stop crying. I’m getting my people out, but if something happens to me I want you to know you made my life. Then I said it back and it was all over,” said Susan.

She watched on TV as the towers fell with her husband inside. “I’m proud, I’m grateful, I’m blessed with a life that I could have never had without him,” she said.

Rick Rescorla, the American Hero, died selflessly because of love – the love for his country and the love for his people. Now his legacy will live on at the 2-7 Cav on Fort Hood with a room dedicated to honoring his brave actions; a place where younger soldiers can be inspired to love their country just as much.

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