Sirens rang in the background as he listened to his mother’s frantic voice, “Darren, I don’t know if I’m going to get out of here alive. I love you, son.” His mind race beyond imaginable as he sat hopelessly in a dayroom more than 800 miles away from her. He heard a drill sergeant in the distance yell, ‘We’re going to war’. Just when the situation seemed to be at its lowest, things turned for the worst.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Darren Holcomb’s mother, Celestina Bynes, worked downtown Manhattan, only two blocks away from the skyscraper that once dominated the New York City skyline. Holcomb had recently joined the Army and was attending Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

The only verification he had of his mother’s well-being was suddenly disrupted. The phone call was disconnected. He cried into the phone, “Mom, Mom,” but there was no response, only a dial tone.

“I was traumatized when the phone cut off,” said the then-20-year-old private. “I thought the worst. I didn’t think I was going to hear form her again.”