John Ogonowski

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John Ogonowski
Ogonowski's name is located on Panel N-74 of the National September 11 Memorial’s North Pool, along with those of other passengers of American Airlines Flight 11
John Alexander Ogonowski

(1951-02-24)February 24, 1951
DiedSeptember 11, 2001(2001-09-11) (aged 50)
ResidenceDracut, Massachusetts, U.S.
ChildrenLaura Ogonowski, Caroline Ogonowski, Mary Catherine Ogonowski

John Alexander Ogonowski (February 24, 1951 – September 11, 2001) was an American pilot and an agricultural activist. He was murdered by terrorists while piloting American Airlines Flight 11, which was subsequently hijacked and flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the September 11 attacks.

A resident of Dracut, Massachusetts, Ogonowski was a leading advocate on behalf of farming in Massachusetts, particularly in aiding immigrant farmers from Cambodia,[2] whom he assisted as part of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project.


John Alexander Ogonowski was born February 24, 1951 in Lowell, Massachusetts, where he was raised.[3][1] He attended St. Stanislaus School, Keith Academy in Lowell. He attended Lowell Technological Institute (now the University of Massachusetts Lowell), where he was a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity.[3][4] He graduated in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in Nuclear Engineering.

Ogonowski was a pilot in the U. S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, assigned to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, ferrying equipment to Asia and sometimes transporting the bodies of fallen in C-141 transport aircraft. Following his service commitment, he resigned his commission under honorable conditions and separated from the military with the rank of captain.[3][5]

Ogonowski became a commercial pilot in 1978. For 23 years, he flew airplanes for American Airlines, and was a member of the Allied Pilot Association.[3][6] During the course of his commercial piloting career, he met Margaret, a flight attendant[3][7] who went by the nickname "Peggy",[8] whom he later married.[3][7]

Ogonowski was also an avid farmer, who secured 150 acres of farmland on Marsh Hill Road in Dracut through the federal Agriculture Preservation Restriction program. He raised hay, corn, pumpkins, blueberries, and peaches.[3] He was also a leading advocate for farming in Massachusetts, particularly in aiding immigrant farmers from Cambodia.[2]

September 11 attacks[edit]

Ogonowski was killed on September 11, 2001, while at the controls during the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11. Following his murder, his airplane was crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.[7]


Ogonowski was survived by his wife Margaret and daughters Laura, Caroline, and Mary Catherine.[7] His younger brother, Jim Ogonowski, who is also an agricultural activist, made an unsuccessful run for the United States House of Representatives in 2007.[9]

A remote controlled model aircraft flying field in nearby Tewksbury, Massachusetts, has been dedicated to Captain Ogonowski.[10] The University of Massachusetts Lowell, Ogonowski was posthumously presented an honorary doctorate at the 2003 commencement ceremony at Tsongas Arena.[4]

The USAID Farmer to Farmer program was renamed the "John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter FTF Program" as part of the 2008 Farm Bill.[11]

At the National 9/11 Memorial, Ogonowski is memorialized at the North Pool, on Panel N-74 adjacent to the name of Kathleen A. Nicosia, a friend and flight attendant also killed on board American Airlines Flight 11 that day.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Capt John Alexander Ogonowski". Find a Grave. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Niki Tsongas Backs Away From Supporter's Attack on Opponent With Notable Family History". Fox News. 2007-10-13. Archived from the original on 2010-06-06. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "John Ogonowski, of Dracut, pilot for American Airlines". Remember September 11, 2001. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  4. ^ a b 2010 Pi Lambda Phi Membership Directory
  5. ^ "John Ogonowski: Captain on the Farm". New York Times. 2001-12-03. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  6. ^ Mitchell Zuckoff (2001-09-16). "Reliving the morning of death". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-03-10.
  7. ^ a b c d Hanna Rosin and Pamela Ferdinand (2001-09-12). "At Logan Airport, Nobody Saw Plane's Sharp Turn South". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-03-10.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  8. ^ Perry, David (September 11, 2006). "For pilot's widow, life goes on. ‘It has to.'". The Lowell Sun.
  9. ^ Edward Mason and Crystal Bozek (2007-10-17). "Tsongas wins tight race". Eagle Tribune. Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2010-03-10.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  10. ^ Captain John A. Ogonowski Memorial Model Flying Field" (Pinnacle Street) - Tewksbury, Massachusetts at The 495th R/C Squadron
  11. ^ The John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program US Agency for International Development
  12. ^ "North Pool: Panel N-74 - John A. Ogonowski". National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Archived from the original on July 27, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2011.

External links[edit]