Daughter of 9/11 hero to follow in his footsteps

FRESNO, Calif.

Lt. Commander Otis Vincent Tolbert was among the 184 people who died at the Pentagon on 9/11. Amanda's mother says she's just like her dad Vince - motivated and brilliant in her analytical thinking. A natural for a career in military intelligence.

Amanda Tolbert beamed with pride as General David Petraeus dedicated the Otis Vincent Tolbert Joint Intelligence Center at Macdill Air Force Base in August.

Tolbert said, "General Petraeus will continue to be briefed there. Just the kind of people and work being done there it's crazy to think all this is named after my dad and they all joke and call it 'The Vince' which I just think is awesome."

17-year old Amanda Tolbert plans to someday work in the building named after her father. Vince Tolbert wrote intelligence briefings for the Chief of U.S. Naval Operations.

Amanda said, "We knew he was a great guy because he was my dad and we loved him but we never understood the magnitude of how he affected his field."

Amanda graduates from Buchanan High School next week. In the fall, she'll attend Georgetown and study Arabic. She explained, "It's kind of bittersweet graduating because you want your dad to be there to see you and what you worked so hard for but you just hope he would be proud of me."

Amanda was just nine years old when she lost her father on 9/11. As the eldest, she helped her mother raise little brother Anthony and sister Brittany, who was born with cerebral palsy.

Shari Tolbert said, "On one hand you want to apologize for all those things but on the converse of that those are the things that made her independent, capable and strong so I can't apologize for those things because that's exactly what made her who she is today."

And she's an exceptional student who took in 9/11 history lessons much differently than her classmates. Amanda said, "It's such a personal event for me that sometimes I get lost in how much it affected the country."

Her mother is proud of the path she has taken. "To want to follow in her father's footsteps and honor his legacy. That is incredible in and of itself."

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