Cornish hero of the World Trade Tower terrorist attack
Died: 11th September, 2001
A commemorative obelisk on the harbour front at Hayle, opposite where Rick was born.
Rick was born in Hayle in May 1939, and lived here with his mother and grandparents in his early years. From 1943, American troops were stationed nearby, and perhaps this inspired Rick towards a career in the military. Rick left Hayle in 1956 to join the British Army, training as a paratrooper, working in the intelligence services in Cyprus between 1957-60, and subsequently in the police service of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) from 1960 until 1963, followed by a short period of employment with the Metropolitan Police in London. He then emigrated to America, where he based himself in Brooklyn and completed military training at Fort Dix.
Following further training at Officer Candidate School, and airborne training, Rick joined the US Army and fought in Vietnam in the early part of the war. His bravery and leadership were noted, and anecdotes about his involvement in the actions in the Ia Drang Valley in November 1965 are recorded in the book 'We were soldiers once...and young' - referenced below: Rick was known for singing Cornish songs to bolster the confidence of his troops, including 'Going up Camborne Hill'! On retiring from the Army as a Corporeal in 1990, he returned to civilian life, studied at several American Universities, and taught Criminal Law at the University of South Carolina for three years, during which time he authored a book on criminal justice. Subsequently, Rick left his role as educator and moved to the role of private security in New York.
Rick was working as the Vice President of Security for Morgan Stanley/Dean-Witter during the World Trade Towers terrorist attack. He is credited for helping to save the lives of 2683 of the company's employees who were working in World Trade Tower no. 2, when the terrorist incident unfolded. Since 1993, when a bomb had exploded in the basement of one of the World Trade Towers, Rick had been pressing for heightened security at the building, and had instigated regular evacuation drills for the staff of Morgan Stanley. When the first plane hit, Rick was quickly able to begin the evacuation of the offices, which would not have been possible without his foresight. All but 13 staff members escaped from the building, and Rick was last seen in a 10th floor stairwell, helping the remaining few to evacuate. But the building collapsed, and Rick's remains were not recovered.
A GWR train engine was named for Rick in a ceremony - attended by his widow - at the Longrock Depot at Penzance in 2019.
We were soldiers once...and young. Lt Gen. Harold G Moore & Joseph Galloway. Published in 1994.