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.”

Holcomb said for 10 hours all he could do was cry, uncertain if his mother had survived the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been more scared than that time. It was the worst day of my life.”

After the terrifying events that occurred on Sept. 11, Holcomb, the brigade maintenance officer with the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade here, decided to become a part U.S. Army 75th Ranger Regiment.

The Ranger Regiment is a lethal, agile and flexible force capable of conducting many complex special operations missions. When the U.S. needs to occupy an enemy country the 75th Ranger Regt. is one of the first units called for the initiation for follow-on forces. This concept is referred to as “the tip of the spear.”

Later that evening, Holcomb was finally able to contact his mother. The New York native said he was reassured of her welfare and it was a relief. But even after knowing his mother was safe, he still became angry and felt as though he had to do something.