"Be proud to be an American ... everyone will be talking about you tomorrow!"
Born in Hayle, Cornwall, United Kingdom, in 1939, Rick had been a paratrooper in the Parachute Regiment of the British Army, and served in Cyprus. He later served with the British South Africa Police and as an inspector of the paramilitary police of Rhodesia, now Zambia, before returning to civilian life as a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Service of London. After he immigrated to the United States, Rick enlisted in the U.S. Army. He graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in 1963, and attended Officers Candidate School and the Basic Airborne Course at the U.S. Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. Second Lt. Rescorla went to Vietnam as an Infantry platoon leader with Company B, 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). As one of the first ground combat units to deploy to Vietnam, his battalion was involved in the November 1965 battles in the Ia Drang Valley.
Cyril Richard "Rick" Rescorla
Although his company was extracted after they had fought at Landing Zone X-Ray, after only a brief rest they were alerted to return to reinforce
another unit. No one complained as they marched to the helicopters that that would take them back into the fight. Rescorla remembered that "No one had shaved, but our weapons sparkled. A spectator asked 'What outfit are you?' I answered, 'The Hard Corps of Bravo Company, 2d of the 7th.' 'Where are you headed? I answered, 'To kick ass!'"
Lt. Col. Hal Moore, his former battalion commander and co-author of the book We Were Soldiers Once, and Young, praised Rescorla as "the greatest platoon commander I have ever seen."
After leaving active duty, Rick remained in the U.S. Army Reserve and retired with the rank of colonel. He was employed as the director of security for the financial services firm Morgan Stanley, located in the World Trade Center, Tower 2 (South Tower), on September 11, 2001, where he developed and had his co-workers practice an evacuation plan. When the terrorist attack struck, he led the firm's employees down the stairwells to safety. Rick could be heard saying "... be proud to be an American ... everyone will be talking about you tomorrow," and singing God Bless America and other patriotic and military songs over his bullhorn to help evacuees stay calm as they left the tower. Rescorla was last seen on the tenth floor, heading back upstairs to make sure no one remained behind before the tower collapsed. He was credited with saving the lives of 2,687 people that fateful day.