The Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience is named for a 62-year-old vice president of security for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. who directed an evacuation of the company’s 2,700-person workforce in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2011.
Rescorla is credited with saving the lives of most of his co-workers and had returned to the building to search for survivors and was in it when it collapsed.
Rescorla grew up in Hayle, a village in Cornwall on England’s southwest coast and as a young man joined the British military. He fought against the Communist-backed insurgents in Cyprus from 1957-1960, and in Rhodesia from 1960-63.
After moving to the United States, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought with Americans during the Vietnam War.
His battles included the fight in the Ia Drang Valley in 1965. It was Rescorla’s picture that appeared on the cover of a book about that battle, “We were Soldiers Once ... and Young,” written by Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway.
Moore described Rescorla as “the best platoon leader I ever saw.”
After the war, he returned to the United States and using his military benefits studied creative writing at the University of Oklahoma. He eventually earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in literature as well as a law degree.
A life-size bronze statue of Rescorla, based on the photo on the cover of the book about Ia Drang, is on permanent display at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Ga.
Rescorla also is the subject of a book, “Heart of a Soldier,” by James B. Stewart.
More information about Rescorla can be found at rickrescorla.com.