U.S. Navy Lt. Eric Allen Cranford, 32, of Drexel, N.C., had worked under the chief of naval operations in the Pentagon since April 1999 and was in the building when American Airlines Flight 77 struck it.
Cranford graduated from East Burke High School in Drexel, a town of 2,000. Cranford, a naval aviator, was commissioned at the University of North Carolina in 1992 and obtained the rank of lieutenant in 1996. He served in a helicopter squadron in Mayport, Fla., and on the USS Gettysburg, USS McInerney and USS Carr. He had been awarded nine service medals.
Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.