Accession Number: C.2012.662.1
Dimensions: 25 in X 20 in
Dimensions (Metric): 63.5 cm X 50.8 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Amy Z. Mundorff
Navy blue Kevlar jacket with hood and gray reflective stripes on the sleeves and trim. The official Office of Chief Medical Examiner patch is on the upper left breast. Printed on the back of the jacket is gray reflective text: "NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner."
Forensic anthropologist Amy Mundorff was at work at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City on the morning of September 11, 2001, when she learned that the North Tower of the World Trade Center had been struck by an airplane. Mundorff put on this jacket identifying her as a member of the OCME staff and joined colleagues on the Medical Examiner’s Scientific Assessment Team driving to the scene of the disaster.
By the time they arrived, the South Tower had been struck by a second hijacked aircraft. While they were planning how to establish temporary field mortuaries for those who had been killed in the two airplane crashes, the South Tower collapsed. Caught in a hail of debris, Mundorff had the presence of mind to pull her jacket up over her head before she was slammed into a wall. Mundorff was later ferried to a hospital in New Jersey where she learned that she had sustained a concussion, cracked ribs, and two black eyes. She credits the Kevlar-reinforced jacket with protecting her from more severe injuries, as well as her husband’s advice while they were mountain climbing, to cover her head in the event of an avalanche. In spite of her injuries, within a few days Mundorff was back at work at the OCME. Her training as a forensic anthropologist proved critical in creating procedures for identifying the remains of many who had been killed in the attacks at the World Trade Center.