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Naval Academy ring
Lt. J.G. Darin H. Pontell Lt. J.G. Darin Howard Pontell
Attack Location: Pentagon
Age: 26
Home: Columbia, Md.

I had known my husband since we were about 11. All he wanted to do was go to the Naval Academy like his older brother, but it was a challenge for him to get in and make it through the four years and graduate with honors. And this is his Naval Academy ring that he wore every day, that marked his accomplishment; he accomplished something that he had set his mind to when he was so young. He was proud to be a Naval Academy graduate and an officer in the U.S. Navy.

Devora Wolk Pontell, wife

Source: The Washington Post

Lt. J.G. Darin H. Pontell

Retired mail carrier Louis Pontell, 88, hovers between hope and grief as he waits for news of his bright, handsome grandson, Lt. j.g. Darin H. Pontell, 26, who worked in naval intelligence at the Pentagon.

"A computer wizard," is how his grandfather describes him.

Pontell, a 1998 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, grew up in Columbia. He and his wife, Devora, 25, have been married for six months.

"A military wedding with the swords and all," his grandfather recalled with a laugh yesterday. "He was smart. He had an awful lot of friends."

Pontell had been working at the Pentagon since April, after spending two years in Virginia Beach. Devora Pontell recently was a law clerk for Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge D. Warren Donohue.

The couple's home is in Gaithersburg, and a few weeks ago, the family gathered at their place to celebrate Pontell's birthday. Now, he is listed as missing.

"His family hopes maybe he is one of the lucky ones," his grandfather said. Maybe, as the jet plowed into the Pentagon on Tuesday morning, he was away from his desk. "Maybe he went downstairs for a coffee break. If they look in the right place, maybe he is sick or hurt."

The waiting is especially terrible for this family of three sons. Pontell's older brother Steven died in October 1989, when his Navy jet crashed into the deck of an aircraft carrier, his grandfather said.

At the couple's Gaithersburg home yesterday, Devora Pontell's eyes filled with tears. "We love him, and we hope he's going to come back to us," she said.

And in Columbia, his grandfather jumped every time the phone rang. He keeps the number of the Navy hot line for families in his breast pocket. "It's the only thing I carry."

He keeps calling. They say, "Sorry Mr. Pontell, no news yet."

-- Mary Otto and Phuong Ly

Source: The Washington Post, AP and