Shortly before the terrorist attacks, the honoree's office had been in the area where the plane hit the Pentagon.
WASHINGTON -- Navy Capt. William J. Toti, a native of Campbell, received the Legion of Merit (Gold Star in lieu of his third Legion of Merit medal) for his actions after the terrorist attack Sept. 11 at the Pentagon.
According to the certificate accompanying the Legion of Merit, which was presented to Toti in a private ceremony by Admiral V.E. Clark, chief of Naval operations, Toti's "courageous and determined actions in the horrifying moments immediately following the terrorist attack, and through the hectic days and weeks that followed, were directly responsible for the Navy staff's ability to successfully recover from the devastation and swiftly respond to ever-expanding wartime requirements."
Toti was one of the first on the scene after the attack and "rendered vital assistance" in evacuating and treating the severely wounded, and he repeatedly returned to the site to ensure the safety and security of personnel.
Toti is a son of Atty. Joseph W. and Jean Toti, of 4719 Easthill Drive S.W., Roanoke, Va. Atty. Toti, a retired administrative law judge, practiced law in Youngstown for 18 years before leaving the area in 1974.
Toti said his son's knowledge of first aid, learned as a Boy Scout and as a former submarine commander, made it possible for him to effectively aid the injured.
The certificate says Capt. Toti "aggressively took charge of the massive effort to reconstitute the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations staff" and "devoted phenomenal energy and resourcefulness to rapidly and effectively restore the infrastructure and full operational capabilities of a Navy Pentagon organization, which had been reduced to 11 percent of its pre-attack ability."
What happened: At the time of the attack, Toti, in his third tour of duty at the Pentagon, was at work as part of a Navy budget commission, his father said. Capt. Toti's office was on the same floor as where the plane hit the building, but about 100 yards away. Just two weeks before the attack, Capt. Toti's office had been located in the area where the plane hit, his father said. "We were very lucky," the elder Toti said.
Capt. Toti is involved in the war effort in Afghanistan, his father added.
"Needless to say, my wife and I are extremely proud, as we are of all our children. He was, with countless others, a hero on 9/11," he said.
Toti, 46, graduated in 1974 from Campbell Memorial High School and in 1979 from the Naval Academy.
He and his wife, Karen, have two children, Sara and Billy, and live in Springfield, Va.