September 11, 2001: a day that shook the U.S. to its core.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, it was sometimes a long and difficult process to identify the victims. Almost a month later, after matching DNA from a sample of hair from a hairbrush, Pendleton native Mike Selves was verified as among the 188 people killed during the attack on the Pentagon.
Selves, a 53-year-old retired lieutenant colonel who had gone back to work for the Army as a civilian, was apparently in his office near the Pentagon’s helipad when the hijacked plane crashed into the building. His wife Gayle, who visited the scene, said it appeared that the impact of Flight 77 was right near her husband’s office.
A 1965 graduate of Pendleton High School, Selves joined the Army in 1969, serving in Korea and Italy. He worked for the Pentagon for 15 years before retiring in 1996, then returned to work as a civilian two weeks later, serving as the director of the Information Management Support Center for the Secretary of the Army. Selves was scheduled to retire for good in 2002, and he and wife Gayle had planned to move from Fairfax, Va., to Hilton Head, S.C., to enjoy golf at their timeshare house there.
During a memorial service in Pendleton, Selves’ friends spoke about a warm and generous man who was always ready with a smile. “He was good at jokes,” said good friend Mike Burns. “They weren’t very good jokes, but they made us laugh.”
Members of the PHS Class of 1965 presented Gayle with a Pendleton Woolen Mills “Freedom Blanket” in their friend’s memory.
Selves also left behind parents Jack and Florence Selves of Pendleton and sister Karen Hart of Umatilla.
Renee Struthers is the Community Records Editor for the East Oregonian. See the complete collection of Out of the Vault columns at eovault.blogspot.com