In Memoriam

Terrorism Strikes America

The Victims

September 14, 2001

The names of more Marylanders killed or missing in Tuesday's terrorist attacks became known yesterday.

Darin Pontell

Life was good for Darin Howard Pontell of Columbia: He married in March, loved his job at the Pentagon and just two weeks ago celebrated his 26th birthday with his wife, Devora Volk, parents, in-laws and grandfather.

Now Pontell, a Navy lieutenant junior grade, is among the 126 people who are unaccounted for at the Pentagon, where a hijacked American Airlines Boeing 757 crashed Tuesday.

But Louis Pontell, 88, isn't ready to accept that his grandson is dead. "They said in the paper it could be 10 to 12 days just to clean everything up," he said last night. "If he was hurt, I don't care. I'll be very happy if he's only hurt."

But Louis Pontell has been watching television since his son, Gary, called with the grim news. He knows things don't look too good.

But he prefers to talk about his grandson -- especially the way he was two weeks ago when he last saw him.

"The party was strictly for family," Louis Pontell said. "They served cake and ice cream. This was at their home, just after dinner. He was very happy, very happy. After all, they're a young married couple."

Darin Pontell, a 1998 Naval Academy graduate, loves computers and works in intelligence at the Pentagon, his grandfather said.

"He was always busy," Louis Pontell said. "I think he did bowl and participate in other activities, but we never talked about it. He's a youngster, I'm an old man. But he was very active and very, very good with computers."

In 1989, the elder Pontell lost another grandson, Steven Pontell, in an airplane crash on the USS Lexington off Pensacola, Fla.

"It's a shameful thing it happened [Tuesday], but I'm praying and hoping that he's alive."

-- Laurie Willis

Gerard Moran

Gerard Moran, a Navy contractor, was on the job in the newly renovated section of the Pentagon Tuesday. He is among those unaccounted for in the aftermath.

Moran, 39, of Upper Marlboro, is a video-teleconferencing engineer at the Pentagon, said Joyce Moran, his wife of 17 years. He also is an assistant coach for the St. Mary's-Ryken junior varsity softball team and had worked as a lighting technician for such Hollywood films as Enemy of the State, Random Hearts and Contact. He had served in the Navy for five years, where he was a combat photographer.

Joyce Moran said she learned about the attack on the Pentagon while she was checking her e-mail at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Suitland.

"My son called," she said. "I just told him to be patient. No news is good news."

The Morans, who moved to Maryland six years ago, have a daughter, 16, and a son, 14.

Besides coaching at St. Mary's-Ryken, a Catholic private school in Leonardtown, Moran also has coached its power-lifting team.

Gary Padgett, head coach of the softball team, said he had called Moran last week to promote him to assistant coach on the varsity squad. "I'm just praying that they find him," he said. "I didn't find out until this morning, and he's all I've been thinking about all day."

Joyce Moran said her husband is a gourmet cook who enjoys camping and fishing.

"My husband was always a survivor in everything he did," she said. "If there's a way, he will survive."

-- Edward Lee

Marvin R. Woods

Marvin R. Woods, 58, of Great Mills in St. Mary's County, has worked for 18 years as a civilian communications manager for the Navy and has been assigned to the Pentagon since the mid-1990s. He, too, is among the missing.

He spent 22 years on active duty and retired from the Navy in December 1984 as a chief radioman, said Betty Woods, his wife of 29 years.

"The only jobs he ever had was with the Navy, active duty or civilian service," she said. "He spent his whole life taking care of his country.

"He loved his country," she added. "He would not want to give into this terrorism. He would want the U.S. to stand together, to stand firm."

Woods also loves to fish and work with wood, his wife said. They have three children and three grandchildren.

His office is in an area of the Pentagon that had just been renovated. His wife said she knew from watching television reports Tuesday that the airliner had crashed into that part of the building. She said that when she didn't hear from her husband, she held out hope that he was OK, "thinking maybe he was working to help everyone else."

But at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Navy officials came to her house and told her her husband was officially missing.

Yesterday, she said, "My husband's car was brought home."

-- Eric Siegel

Kris R. Bishundat

Administrators at Thomas Stone High School in Charles County made a concerted effort on Tuesday to help students through the terrorist nightmare by offering counseling and historical context.

But school officials could not have known then that one of their graduates, Kris R. Bishundat of Waldorf, was among those missing in the attack on the Pentagon. Bishundat, a Navy information systems technician, expected to celebrate his 24th birthday today.

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