LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Most of us can remember exactly where we were Sept. 11, 2001. First Msgt. Kayci Groff was driving to class at her college.

"I couldn't get cell phone reception. I didn't really know what was going on," Groff said. "All I heard on the news was there was a plane that hit the tower."

She and her classmates watched in horror as the second plane hit the world trade center that tragic day.

nellis plane

Nellis Air Force Base on Sept. 1, 2021 (Lee Ortlieb/FOX5) 

"Everybody was quiet in silence. It was a very emotional moment," she added. 

Two days later, she got a call that changed her life. She had joined the Air Force months before on a delayed entry program as she waited to get the job she wanted. But now, it was time.

"My recruiters actually called me and ask if I still wanted to maintain my service, my contract, since I hadn't gone through basic training yet. When they called me, there was no if, ands or butts. There was no changing my mind or nothing like that. In fact, it made me want to do it more," Groff said. 

She said wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father and grandfather who was in the 101st airborne in Vietnam and World War II. And she said she felt a deep obligation for her country.

"I wasn't coming in here to kill bad guys. That's not what I wanted to do. But I was coming in here to make a difference, and they needed us," she said. 

As a bomb loader, she would put explosives on planes that would help those on the ground complete their mission.

"You really don't think. It's more instinct. It's more how do you snap into that moment and take care of the situation at hand. Because if you freeze, something tragic could happen which we have seen in multiple situations," Groff said. 

After almost 20 years, multiple enlistments and countless sacrifices made, she has no regrets.

"If I would have stayed home right after Sept. 11 and said no, I would have sat there and I would have failed. I would have failed myself, my family, my country," she said. 

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