The 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company, formerly the MDW (Military District of Washington) Engineer Company, is the only technical rescue company in the Department of Defense. It specializes in urban search and rescue (USAR). The 911th is stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and is best known for its response to The Pentagon following the September 11 attacks in 2001. The First Sergeant and Company Commander moved the company to the disaster site without waiting for orders and spent 10 days engaged in search and rescue operations. The unit was re-designated as the 911th United States Army Technical Rescue Engineer Company on 11 September 2006, in memory of its historic role in the subsequent recovery effort. Its sister company is the 554th Engineer Company (Vertical Construction) located in Fort Stewart, GA. The 554th Engineer Company is currently tasked with technical rescue response under the Defense CBRNE Response Force, however it is a temporary task and on order the vertical construction mission will be resumed.
The 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company is assigned to the 12th Aviation Battalion, Army Air Operations Group, Military District of Washington. The company is modeled after a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Urban Search and Rescue Heavy Task Force. The company is mine rescue and technical rescue certified and specializes in trench, structural collapse, ropes, and confined space disciplines. It regularly trains with local, state, and federal first responders. The company was on standby during the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. In 2012 the company was equipped with heavy transport and dump trucks.
Unlike other conventional military units, prospective candidates must pass through a screening process in which they must be interviewed by unit leadership as well as pass a modified physical evaluation and extensive background questionnaire. The unit has never deployed overseas.