Jack Hess

1959 - 2023

On the morning of September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 77 was commandeered by terrorists and crashed into the Pentagon, penetrating the building’s five rings. The resulting fireball rose 200 feet above the building, engulfing a large area surrounding the impact site with smoke. A 100 foot section of one of the Pentagons’ outer walls collapsed and the fire, uncontrolled for two days, continued to smolder and reignite for approximately another week.

Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Jack Hess immediately reported to the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and remained at the Pentagon until later that same evening. As the Counterterrorism SSA in the Washington Field Office, he assisted with organizing the command incident site and evidence recovery plan. As part of this work, Hess came into contact with toxic debris and contaminates. There was no personal protective equipment available to him, and he was exposed to all carcinogens, toxins, hazardous materials, etc., present at the crash site.

On December 17, 2017, Hess was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer).  The disease later metastasized and, on August 4, 2023, Hess succumbed to his illness. Extensive research by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health established sufficient evidence that Hess’ exposure to the air in and around the Pentagon crash site either precipitated or accelerated his development of the disease.

Hess was born in 1959 in Paterson, New Jersey.  He entered on duty with the FBI on September 19, 1988.