Skip to comments.North Carolina Came Close to a Nuke Attack
Posted on 06/17/2014 8:39:43 PM PDT by QT3.14
A newly-declassified report reveals that two nuclear bombs accidentally dropped in North Carolina were much closer to detonation than previously reported.
On January 21, 1961 a B-52 bomber went into a tailspin, breaking apart mid-flight over Goldsboro, N.C. The plane was carrying two nuclear bombs, both of which were pushed into free-fall. The parachute for one of the bombs was safely deployed, but the other continued to plummet.
It had been previously believed that, though nerve-racking, the incident was not nearly as dangerous as it sounded as neither bomb was armed. But documents released Thursday by the National Security Archive reveal that the bomb that was in free-fall was in fact armed, and only failed to detonate due to a technical malfunction.
(Excerpt) Read more at military.com ...
I wonder what the yield on that sucker was ?
This was ‘61 so that was a real monster, I’d wager .
Attack? How about accident?
"Weapon 2" was an armed 3.8 megaton nuclear bomb. By comparison, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that devastated Japan for over a generation weighed .03 megatons combined. If "Weapon 2" had detonated, the fallout would have been 190 times worse than the explosions that ended the World War II.
Read the article.
Fascinating. I’ve never read this on FR before, except for the other 1213 times that it was posted in the last few months. LOL! :)
“Weapon 2” was an armed 3.8 megaton nuclear bomb. By comparison, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that devastated Japan for over a generation weighed .03 megatons combined. If “Weapon 2” had detonated, the fallout would have been 190 times worse than the explosions that ended the World War II.”
Though I'm not a big JFK fan (except for the tax cuts:), I'll concede it must have been less than pleasant to have to deal with this during his first full day in office.
190 times worse than Hiroshima???? Zoinks!
I would have been 1 or 2 - just down the road in Raleigh. This is one of those “things that make you go hmmm”
Read the posts, horse’s ass.
1961. Wow. That’s just.........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
There was a 4 second diff in our posts moron.
Dude, that was like 53 years ago.
Goes to show how much God loves NC> and you.
My smell detector is calling BS on this STORY.
What people today fail to appreciate is how hard SAC pushed itself in those days. In ‘61 we lost an average of one B-52 a month, -in training-.
Two days before this incident another B-52 “Felon 22” broke up and went down over a remote area in southeast Utah. It was January 19th, 1961. An airman who was able to bail out and made it to the ground, gathered his parachute around him to try to protect himself from the bitter cold. He froze to death shortly before the rescuers located him.
As he laid freezing under that tree in a wasteland, JFK gave his inaugural speech in DC. This is the “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any challenge,,,,, Ask not what your country can do for you speech”.
The next day this one went down over North Carolina. Today in the USAF crashes are more rare than ever. But in those days, they were out there over the edge, pushing the limits of men and machines. SAC was a national hero, and is sorely missed today.
The S.Carolina accident was a few years earlier. From Wikipedia:
# March 11, 1958 Mars Bluff, South Carolina, USA Non-nuclear detonation of a nuclear bomb
* A USAF B-47 bomber flying from Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah, Georgia accidentally released an atomic bomb. A home was destroyed and several people injured but the bomb’s plutonium core did not explode.
Gen. Curtis Lemay, and the WWII officer corps were some tough as nails men.
Active Duty/Retiree ping.
I wonder what the reaction would have been if the thing would have detonated. I’m SURE the communications between countries back then was nothing compared to what they are today. Would we have launched an all out retaliatory strike against the USSR, assuming they struck us first?(though their apparent first strike target would have made no sense at all)
Would we have retaliated even knowing it was an accident, as a face-saving measure? I tend to doubt it, as history would have been VERY unkind to such a thing, but worse things have probably happened. Of course, this is also assuming the .gov was as crooked back then as it is today.
Seems to me a dummy bomb would not have been difficult to construct; and real ones were mongo expen$ive. What could they have been thinking?
The story has been out there for a very long time. These are just new details on an old story. Please do some research on the facts before post.
I used to go to church with the head Chaplain of SAC, one Bishop Hopwood. He’d be over 100 years old now, but he passed away at age 98, about 4 years ago.
Given his age, I’d assume he’d of been at the peak of his career in the 1960s.
Dealing with this type of incident was part of a program called “Broken Arrow”. There were photos of the nuc swing from a tree by the parachute.
I’m pretty sure the doctrine of that era was that there were always nukes, airborne, 24/7. It served as a deterrent, if the Soviets hit us with a first strike, they knew the submarines and airborne SAC assets would be able to strike back.
Was this a plane that encountered a problem during a training maneuver, or simply while standing ready in the air?
Not sure. I know nowadays, training missions don’t ordinarily carry live nukes, not sure about back then, and in this incident. I will look around, online, and see if any more information is available.
From what I just read, in the S.Carolina incident, the plane was flying from Georgia to England, on what was described as an ‘exercise’. The plutonium core was stored, elsewhere, on board, and remained in the plane. The remainder of the bomb fell 15,000 ft., and the detonation of the high explosive trigger created a 50 ft. wide crater, that, today, is a tourist attraction !
God was protecting us!
Agreed. FYI - the first “Broken Arrow” - 1950. B-36 having engine trouble, crashed in British Columbia.
Wouldn't that nearly ruin your day, having a nuclear bomb fall on your house.
"...weighed .03 megatons combined..."
Gadzooks! Matt Bradwell... is an idiot!
Does anyone at military.com know their right hand... from shinola!
No doubt !
God was watching over the folks of North Carolina.
Or South Carolina...
my impression is that at least the older 1st generation nukes were designed to be armed manually during flight and not until the need arose (specific target identified, weather path clear, etc). otherwise you could drop one on the runway while loading it and it would go off at the air base.
so i wonder how much of this story is actually true and how much of it is politically motivated. if it is politically motivated, who benefits? what powerful entity is pushing, for example, for unilateral disarmament and destruction of our nukes?
“what powerful entity is pushing....?”
The KGB/DNC Axis of Evil.
"I made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs."
"Isn't a parsec a unit of distance, not time?"
As far as I know, the airborne alert flights continued until about 1965, ending shortly after the refueling midair collision near Palomares, Spain.
Thanks for the info !