Robert Randolph Elseth – Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy


Robert Randolph Elseth
Attack Location: Pentagon
Age: 37
Home: Vestal, New York
Robert Randolph Elseth was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy.

Bob Elseth, a Vestal High School graduate and Navy Reservist, was working in the Pentagon that day. He called his sister Nancy, who works in Manhattan, to make sure she was all right.

“He’s like Nancy, are you ok? I said yeah, why? He goes, you don’t know? What happened? Then he told me two planes crashed into the World Trade Center. And he told me to stay home, they didn’t know if there were more.”

There were more planes, and one was headed toward the Pentagon. Minutes later, Bob Elseth was dead.

The next day, his father Curtis went to Washington hoping for the best, but fearing the worst. He stood outside the Pentagon as the building still spewed smoke.

“You want to do something, but you can’t even go near there, you can’t get close, they won’t let you. There’s times you’d think you’d do just about anything, but you can’t do a thing.”

Nancy Elseth plays her last phone conversation with her brother in her head all the time. She looks back on it fondly.

“I’m very glad I got to talk to him and that I got to tell him I was ok, cause I know just the way he was, that made him feel a lot better.”

Bob Elseth loved spending time with his family, working hard, and playing sports. He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His grave overlooks the Pentagon. The family visits often, saying it helps in the grieving process.

“It goes on continually. Everybody’s really gone out of their way to try and help.”

The Elseths say today will help too, as they tour the rebuilt part of the Pentagon.



On September 11, 2001, at the Navy Command Center in the Pentagon.

He is survived by his wife, Annette; daughter Faith; parents, Berta and Curtis Elseth; brothers, Jim and Harlan; and sister, Nancy.

Bob was a 1987 graduate of The Ohio State University. He served 10 years on active duty with the United States Navy, serving on the USS CLAUDE V. RICKETS (DDG-5), USS DONALD B. BEARY (FF-1085), and the USS JOHN RODGERS (DD-983) and served as an Instructor at the Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, Rhode Island. While at Surface Warfare Officer School, Bob was recognized as the Junior Officer of the Year for Newport Naval Ashorc Commands.

Bob was active in his church as a Sunday School teacher for first graders, and also coached girls’ soccer. Along with friends, Bob was a founding partner of Delta Resources, Inc., a defense consulting firm. He continued to serve the Navy an an Officer in the Naval Reserve in a number of units including his most recent service in the Naval Command Center.

He will be remembered by all as a loving son, a caring brother, a devoted husband, a friend to all, and a father like no other.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, September 23, 2001 at 3 p.m. at Messiah United Methodist Church, 6215 Rolling Rd., Springfield, Virginia 22152. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the church at the address listed above, a local chapter of the Red Cross, or the USO at PO Box 96898, Washington, DC 20090-6898. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

NOTE: Commander Elseth was laid to rest in Section 64 of Arlington National Cemetery, in the shadows of the Pentagon.


  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 06/12/1987 – 07/31/1997
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 12/02/1963
  • DATE OF DEATH: 09/11/2001
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 11/08/2001



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