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At Least Six Marylanders Listed Among Missing Navy Personnel at Pentagon

By Nora Achrati
Capital News Service
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001

WASHINGTON - At least six Maryland residents are among the 42 Navy personnel, civilians and contractors listed as missing from the Pentagon following Tuesday morning's attack, the Department of Defense said Thursday.

The names of missing personnel from other defense agencies in the Pentagon have not yet been released. 

Approximately 126 Pentagon workers remain unaccounted for in total, according to the department. 

Those missing from Maryland were identified as Kris Romeo Bishundat, 23, of Waldorf; Lt. j.g. Darin Howard Pontell, 26, of Columbia; Angela Houtz, 27, of La Plata; Julian Cooper, 39, of Springdale; Jerry Moran, 39, of Upper Marlboro; and Marvin Woods, 58, of Great Mills. 

"We're hoping that he's alive, but it looks bad," said Louis Pontell, 88, Darin Pontell's grandfather. "If he's alive, I can live for another hundred years." He said Darin had lost a brother, also in the Navy, in a plane crash in 1989. 

Pontell, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who was working as an intelligence officer in the Pentagon, celebrated his 26th birthday two weeks ago, his grandfather said. He was married in March. 

Bishundat, a Navy information systems technician, second class, came to Waldorf with his family from Guyana at age 2, his sister said Thursday. The oldest of four children, and the only son, Bishundat joined the Navy about six years ago. He had been working at the Pentagon since June. 

The sister, Danita Bishundat, said her brother is not married, and that the family was notified of his status Tuesday evening. Bishundat would celebrate his 24th birthday Friday. 

Relatives of the other four missing Maryland residents could not be contacted Thursday. 

The Navy notifies all people designated as primary next-of-kin before the names of missing and deceased are released to the public. The Navy also provides counseling services and other support to families and friends of those missing or killed. 

"The families are made well aware of all the support that the DoD and the Navy offers," said Lt. Patrick McNally, a Navy spokesman. "It's part of the support system." 

That support system includes a Family Assistance Center the Defense Department has established at the Sheraton Hotel in Crystal City, Va. There, those who have questions on the status of a Pentagon worker can get information and support from military personnel, Red Cross workers, the Salvation Army and other volunteer organizations. 

"Our intent is to be here until families have learned about their loved ones and gotten all their questions answered," said Marine Corps Maj. Ben Owens, a spokesman for the makeshift center. "It may be quite a while." 

Families who showed up at the center Thursday said they were glad for the support under the circumstances. 

Washington, D.C., resident Sonya Rush, who was waiting for word on her stepmother, a budget analyst at the Pentagon, said an Army general took time to sit with the family and explain the process at the center Thursday. 

"I feel a lot better for being here. Just coming here has helped a lot," Rush said.


Copyright 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism

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