Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Do the Ingersoll Shots Depict Spent Munitions?

Subtitle: "For the record, I am a 0938 time of impact kind of guy."

A recent email exchange with a military man, William Paisley, (he's the Oh-niner-38 kind of guy,) inspired me to reexamine an important finding of mine: whether or not three shots taken by Marine Corporal Jason Ingersoll depict spent artillery shells lying in the muddy foreground before a damaged and collapsed Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Mr Paisley posts over at his Instapinch blogsite and it was his sardonic discovery of my Pentagon work that led to our back and forth. As a former Navy flier, Mr. Paisley says he is experienced in high explosives and that what we see depicted in the Ingersoll shots is definitely not what I claim it to be.

To judge for yourselves it is best to go to the official government site to see the images in the highest resolution possible. The best way to get there is to go to and put in the search term Ingersoll.

Two images will come up:

seen here:
and a glancing view here at:
seen here:
another significant view is DM-SD-02-03911, which is no longer current in the government archives but a copy is here:

In any of these images, click on the expanded view and scroll down to the lower right-hand corner. There you'll see what I take to be spent high-explosive casings but what Mr. Paisley contends are rolls of roofing-tar paper, or some other kind of rolled construction material.

I've taken the liberty of blowing up the bottom right corner to enlarge the area.

Truth be told, I have zero background in munitions or high-explosives. But after ruling out construction materials as an explanation, my gut instinct told me these were recently exploded ordinances of some kind. The only collaborating evidence I found on the web was an antique example from a forestry archive at Yale University. It nonetheless provided me with some verification as to the scale and mass of a high-explosive shell.

I contend that the rounds were fired off from within the buried rectangular metal vaults we see in the foreground of the photographs. These would have been antiquated but still functioning defense systems at the time in 2001, I should think. The actual mechanics of firing off cannon are also not in my area of expertise. Several commenters at the Instapinch blog raise interesting objections to my theory. One states that used shells wouldn't be found within the blast area. It is difficult to estimate how far removed from the building these buried defenses were. The photographic record of 9-11 is distorted in its entirety by special lens meant to affect depth perception. Using the following unmeasured plan as a guide, I recall that the distance between the outer line of columns at the Pentagon was said to be approximately ten feet. If that is true, the buried vaults could be as much as sixty feet away from the facade of the building. Whether this distance is far enough away to fire ordinances into an already opened wound is a question to be answered. Two other commenters at Instapinch provided me with a sort of back-handed verification. One described the shells sarcastically as eight-inch rounds. This was helpful because I didn't know if caliper was measured by the inner diameter or the outer. Another poster said that the paint is "usually" not still found on the shells after firing. This was helpful as apparently they are painted at least before.

"Pinch" as Mr. Paisley is called (The men at Instapinch have already given me nicknames too: boy, and steve-oh are their terms of endearment for me. At least I hope they are affectionate.) found my concept of missile defense at the Pentagon absolutely hilarious. He couldn't get over my naiveté! Especially when I told him about the following image, in which it appears the Pentagon is installing similar buried rectangular defenses in the cloverleaf of Route 27 and Columbia Drive, over by South Parking.

(Not to mention, in Arlington National Cemetery.)

Pinch also insists that there was a roll-up door from the A&E Drive into the Navy Command Center that was blown out by the force of an airplane crash and subsequent fire. Since I tend to doubt this contention, I also doubt Pinch's assertion about the exploded ordinances. I'm sure he's a great guy and I don't mean to expunge his credibility in all matters but I would like the larger military community to weigh in on the matter. If I'm wrong about this, I'm sure I'll start catching on pretty quick once the information starts being vetted in a public forum. And if I am wrong, I'm going to owe an awful lot of people an apology--especially Pinch. He'll have to settle for a steak dinner and my sincerity then.

Oh, by the way, I'm a 0920 kind a guy. Can I buy you a drink?

Modular Propelling Charges

might be the technical name for the debris we see out front of the Pentagon of September 11th, 2001.


  1. Nicknames, or "callsigns" are a fact of life in military aviation.

  2. Sir,
    Your assertions are all incorrect. There was no artillery attack. I worked nearby and did not hear artillery. I would know since I lived for years on Quantico where Marines practice firing artillery. The explosion was followed by thick black smoke that smelled of jet fuel. Both the type of smoke and the smell are consistent with jet fuel and would not be consistent with artillery. The questions dealing with how the impact deformed the building would best be answered after you study mechanial engineering for several years. It took me 5 years to get my degree, so I'll check back in a few years to see if you have any questions.

  3. Sir, you may be deaf then. Numerous newscasts report multiple loud explosions between 9:20 until after 10am. These were variously attributed to sonic booms, exploding gas lines, propane canisters going off etc. The thick black smoke you speak of came largely from a burning generator and a multi-thousand-gallon-tank of diesel fuel, which was another anomaly found in close proximity to an aircraft landing site. Other nose-witnesses reported the smell of cordite, or gunsmoke in the area. Your degree in materials science would have been useful in studying the way the building reacted to the attack, however your leaders did not see fit to charge you with studying many physical aspects of that morning. The blown out "roll-up door" into the NCC from the A & E Drive for instance, isn't mentioned in any official document or after-action report. Neither are the downed lamp posts, which many eyewitnesses claim were hit by an incoming 757 jet, officially mentioned--thus neither officially "exist." Not having a degree more than qualifies me to speak on that which was not mentioned.

  4. Rolls of tarpaper. Definitely.