Oswego alumnus' World Trade Center ordeal subject of blockbuster movie

WTC heroesOliver Stone’s new movie “World Trade Center” tells the story of a Port Authority policeman who is not only a real-life hero, he’s a graduate of SUNY Oswego.

Sgt. John McLoughlin ‘75 led a group of Port Authority policemen into the World Trade Center complex to rescue survivors. He and Officer Will Jimeno ended up trapped inside the rubble.

McLoughlin was trapped for 22 hours and spent four months in the hospital recovering. He lost function in his lower legs. “But I’m up and around,” he told Newsweek in an Aug. 7 article.

McLoughlin knew there might be danger. Still, he didn’t hesitate going into the World Trade Center complex to try and rescue any survivors. “I was familiar with the equipment and knew what had to
be done,” he says in his matter-of-fact way.

He approaches the fame surrounding his connection with the movie, in which he is played by Oscar-winning actor Nicholas Cage, in much the same way. He and Jimeno were contacted by the producers. “We told our story to the script writer, who wrote the script out of our story,” he explains. “They accurately portrayed everybody’s story.”

A whirlwind publicity tour, gala premiere and even an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show doesn’t appear to have gone to McLoughlin’s head. He is focused on a mission important to him. “We got involved so that we could tell the story of the men we lost that day, the heroism of the rescue workers,” he notes.

And while replaying his ordeal was difficult, he did it for his fallen comrades. “It was tough to relive it,” he says. “But we were committed to try and get the information out, so we had to go through the tough times along with the good times.”

The WTC hero has fond memories of Oswego, especially the three years he spent in Scales Hall and the “tight friends” he made there. “We had a good time,” he says. “I have a lot of good memories with a lot of fine people at Oswego.”

He keeps in touch with many of them. “When I was recuperating, I was getting cards and letters from people all over the country from Scales. I haven’t had the chance to thank them all,” he adds.

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PHOTO CAPTION: SUNY Oswego graduate John McLoughlin (right) shows his college pride as he and Will Jimeno pose on the rubble of the World Trade Center. The ordeal the two rescuers overcame serves as the basis for the new movie “World Trade Center,” with Oscar-award winner Nicholas Cage playing McLoughlin. Photo ©2006 Paramount Pictures

(Posted: Aug 10, 2006)