John Ogonowski

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John Ogonowski
Ogonowski's name is located on Panel N-74 of the National September 11 Memorial’s North Pool, along with those of other passengers of American Airlines Flight 11
Born John A. Ogonowski
(1949-02-24)February 24, 1949
Died September 11, 2001(2001-09-11) (aged 52)
Manhattan, New York, United States
Nationality American

John A. Ogonowski (February 24, 1949 - September 11, 2001) was an American pilot and an agricultural activist. A resident of Dracut, Massachusetts, Ogonowski was a leading advocate on behalf of farming in Massachusetts, particularly in aiding immigrant farmers from Cambodia,[1] whom he assisted as part of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. He was murdered by terrorists while piloting American Airlines Flight 11, which was subsequently hijacked and flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the 9/11 attacks.


Ogonowski went to secondary school at Keith Academy, Lowell, Massachusetts. He attended Lowell Technological Institute (now the University of Massachusetts Lowell), where he was a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity.[2][3] He graduated in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in Nuclear Engineering.

Ogonowski was a pilot in the U. S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, assigned to the Air Force base in Charleston, South Carolina, and ferry equipment to Asia and sometimes transporting the bodies of fallen in C-141 transport aircraft. He retired from the military with the rank of captain.[2][4]

Ogonowski became a commercial pilot in 1978. For 23 years, he flew airplanes for American Airlines, and was a member of the Allied Pilot Association.[2][5] During the course of his commercial piloting career, he met Margaret, a flight attendant[2][6] who went by the nickname "Peggy",[7] whom he later married.[2][6]

September 11 attacks

Ogonowski was killed on September 11, 2001, while at the controls during the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11. Following his murder,[citation needed] his airplane was crashed into the World Trade Center.[6] It is believed that he was stabbed to death in order for the hijacker pilot Mohamed Atta to take control of the plane and crash it into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Before dying, Ogonowski managed to engage the aircraft's radio system to allow air traffic control to listen to the terrorists' conversations in the aircraft's cabin.[8] His body was never found.[9]


Ogonowski was survived by his wife Margaret and daughters Laura, Caroline, and Mary Catherine.[6] His younger brother, Jim Ogonowski, who is also an agricultural activist, made an unsuccessful run for the United States House of Representatives in 2007.[10]

A remote controlled model aircraft flying field in nearby Tewksbury, Massachusetts, has been dedicated to Captain Ogonowski.[11] The University of Massachusetts Lowell, Ogonowski was posthumously presented an honorary doctorate at the 2003 commencement ceremony at Tsongas Arena.[3]

The USAID Farmer to Farmer program was renamed the "John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter FTF Program" as part of the 2008 Farm Bill.[12]

At the National 9/11 Memorial, Ogonowski is memorialized at the North Pool, on Panel N-74 adjacent to the name of Kathleen A Nicosia, a friend and flight attendant also killed on board American Airlines Flight 11 that day.[13]


  1. "Niki Tsongas Backs Away From Supporter's Attack on Opponent With Notable Family History". Fox News. 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2010-03-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "John Ogonowski, of Dracut, pilot for American Airlines". Remember September 11, 2001. September 16, 2001.
  3. 3.0 3.1 2010 Pi Lambda Phi Membership Directory
  4. "John Ogonowski: Captain on the Farm". New York Times. 2001-12-03. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved 2010-03-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Mitchell Zuckoff (2001-09-16). "Reliving the morning of death". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-03-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Hanna Rosin and Pamela Ferdinand (2001-09-12). "At Logan Airport, Nobody Saw Plane's Sharp Turn South". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-03-10. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Perry, David (September 11, 2006). "For pilot's widow, life goes on. ‘It has to.'". The Lowell Sun.
  8. Toby Harnden (2001-09-13). "Hijackers reassured pilot while they stabbed stewardesses". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-03-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Abel, David (2005-02-25). "Effort to ID Sept. 11 remains ends". The Boston Globe.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Edward Mason and Crystal Bozek (2007-10-17). "Tsongas wins tight race". Eagle Tribune. Retrieved 2010-03-10. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Captain John A. Ogonowski Memorial Model Flying Field" (Pinnacle Street) - Tewksbury, Massachusetts at The 495th R/C Squadron
  12. [1] Archived May 28, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "North Pool: Panel N-74 - John A. Ogonowski". National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Retrieved December 11, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links