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(Foreign Policy)   For Halloween, here's a darkly comic look at the 12 scariest nuclear weapons accidents (that we know about). Including the time the US Air Force exploded a nuclear bomb in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina   (foreignpolicy.com) divider line 143
    More: Scary, United States, nuclear weapons accidents, intercontinental ballistic missiles, mid-air collision, soviet leader, sound check, illegal dumping, high explosives  
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23838 clicks; posted to Main » on 31 Oct 2012 at 10:15 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-31 09:57:05 AM  
I am fairly sure I can legally tell this tale, but I will leave out certain details to be sure. While I was the in Air Force a maintenance crew was moving a pylon full of nuclear Air Launched Cruise Missiles from the storage area to an aircraft on bomber alert. An unqualified driver was operating the transport vehicle and misjudged the exit from the storage igloo, striking the edge of the doors and tearing a 15 foot gash in one of the weapons, tearing out more than one of the safety devices which kept the warhead from being armed. It exposed a portion of the core, spiked radiation alarms and caused a major evacuation of the weapons storage area, full of nuclear weapons. Well, all except the cops, we stayed. The incident was reported as a Bent Spear, but was down graded to avoid "causing panic" but really to allow certain high ranking officers not to lose their careers. 

There are all sorts of "little" incidents with these things you don't hear about.
 
2012-10-31 10:17:29 AM  
The solution to all of our problems is more government.
 
2012-10-31 10:24:13 AM  

sodomizer: The solution to all of our problems is more government.


Yes. To prevent future nuclear incidents, we should take away all of those pesky protocols and guards on the federal take. WTF is wrong with you?
 
2012-10-31 10:24:27 AM  

sodomizer: The solution to all of our problems is more government.


Keep farking that chicken.
 
2012-10-31 10:24:42 AM  
Can I get a rousing chorus of "We'll Meet Again" going in this thread?
 
2012-10-31 10:25:43 AM  

biyaaatci: WTF is wrong with you?


He's a brand-new troll, just taking itty bitty wobbly baby steps. Isn't he adorable?
 
2012-10-31 10:26:20 AM  
That explains so, so much about South Carolina.
 
2012-10-31 10:27:40 AM  
2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-10-31 10:28:13 AM  

theorellior: biyaaatci: WTF is wrong with you?

He's a brand-new troll, just taking itty bitty wobbly baby steps. Isn't he adorable?


But shoo him away from the nukes until he knows how to properly blow people up.
 
2012-10-31 10:29:12 AM  
Well, the Air Force did a shiatty job because Myrtle Beach is still there.
 
2012-10-31 10:29:30 AM  
I found out about the crater when I Was walking through the Denver airport a few months ago. They had a map on the wall with points of interested for every state. I saw this
dl.dropbox.com

and was all WTF? So much so that I took a picture.
 
2012-10-31 10:30:15 AM  

Ennuipoet: I am fairly sure I can legally tell this tale, but I will leave out certain details to be sure. While I was the in Air Force a maintenance crew was moving a pylon full of nuclear Air Launched Cruise Missiles from the storage area to an aircraft on bomber alert. An unqualified driver was operating the transport vehicle and misjudged the exit from the storage igloo, striking the edge of the doors and tearing a 15 foot gash in one of the weapons, tearing out more than one of the safety devices which kept the warhead from being armed. It exposed a portion of the core, spiked radiation alarms and caused a major evacuation of the weapons storage area, full of nuclear weapons. Well, all except the cops, we stayed. The incident was reported as a Bent Spear, but was down graded to avoid "causing panic" but really to allow certain high ranking officers not to lose their careers. 

There are all sorts of "little" incidents with these things you don't hear about.


What did they downgrade it to, a Dull Sword?

I'm presuming the young Airman who was assigned the task of moving nuclear weapons, without proper qualification, had his career destroyed by this. It's the military, credit travels up and blame travels down. Brass gets the credit, stripes get the bullshiat.
 
2012-10-31 10:33:07 AM  

ManRay: So much so that I took a picture.


It was the Gourd Museum in Angier that did it, right?
 
2012-10-31 10:35:42 AM  
Somebody is bound to ask this: When the US Government nuked Myrtle Beach, was there any damage?
 
2012-10-31 10:39:24 AM  
Actually the bomb site is near Florence SC, not Myrtle Beach. Its about a mile from Francis Marion University off of US 76. What's funny is that there is a traffic sign that says "Atomic Bomb Crater Site" that is often stolen. The site is on private land, but if you take the time to see it, there is still a swampy depression where it exploded. I think only a cow and a chicken were killed in the blast.
 
2012-10-31 10:39:43 AM  

Ennuipoet: I am fairly sure I can legally tell this tale, but I will leave out certain details to be sure. While I was the in Air Force a maintenance crew was moving a pylon full of nuclear Air Launched Cruise Missiles from the storage area to an aircraft on bomber alert. An unqualified driver was operating the transport vehicle and misjudged the exit from the storage igloo, striking the edge of the doors and tearing a 15 foot gash in one of the weapons, tearing out more than one of the safety devices which kept the warhead from being armed. It exposed a portion of the core, spiked radiation alarms and caused a major evacuation of the weapons storage area, full of nuclear weapons. Well, all except the cops, we stayed. The incident was reported as a Bent Spear, but was down graded to avoid "causing panic" but really to allow certain high ranking officers not to lose their careers. 

There are all sorts of "little" incidents with these things you don't hear about.



Was the pylon full of 129s or 86Bs? I can't even fathom how this would happen and I've pulled loaded pylons in and out of structures literally hundreds of times. The only thing I can think of is that the tug drive gunned the engine (they have a top speed of 15MPH but that's enough) and the catwalk caught on the igloo door that wasn't opened all the way and as it tore away from the trailer, it gouged the hell out of the missile.

I'm guessing it was ACM (129s) as the skin of those is really thin as compared to the ALCM (86b). I can see I pipe from the catwalk structure tearing a long-ass hole in an ACM. And I'm betting what you mean by the "core" was the actual warhead itself. It would take a lot to punch through the payload bay, through the weapon skin, through the HE, and then expose the pit. Plus, there's no rad monitoring at the igloos or the IMF for that matter. The only rad monitoring comes from the DOE and it is random surveys every six months or so. In addition, solid the material in those weapons are mostly beta emitters and wouldn't throw off a lot or radiation that would be picked up by any stationary monitor. That said, It is certainly possible the weapon skin was broke and if that was the case, your major concern would have been breathing in beta emitting radioactive material. Did anyone have to give a bioassay after the incident (piss in a jug)? If not, then no radioactive material was touched.

Also, the missile has an arm/disarm switch (that's what the middle "remove before flight" tag is hanging from). That's a relative minor link in the detonation chain. That is probably got hit by whatever caused the gash. Every time you see that streamer removed (like during a generation). That link is effectively removed from the detonation chain. So it's destruction in an accident is no big deal - with respect to the warhead being armed...which wouldn't happen anyway.

The more I think about this, the more it seems familiar. But I think it was a a few years after my time.
 
2012-10-31 10:40:35 AM  
The whole Tybee Island nuclear bomb in the mud thing just weirds me out a little every time we go there.
 
2012-10-31 10:40:37 AM  
"The incident inspired a terrible film starring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson called K-19: The Widowmaker.

I don't remember this being a terrible movie. I remember it being terrifying.

/Dolphin wearer
 
2012-10-31 10:41:45 AM  

Bondith: That explains so, so much about South Carolina.


There's more environmental rad material at SRS than where that bomb landed...by far. (which pretty much explains Aiken)
 
2012-10-31 10:46:37 AM  
North Carolina's Broken Arrow just received a highway marker this summer. 

www.ncmarkers.com
 
2012-10-31 10:48:34 AM  

UberDave: Bondith: That explains so, so much about South Carolina.

There's more environmental rad material at SRS than where that bomb landed...by far. (which pretty much explains Aiken)


Oh yes.

My best friend is a radiation safety inspector for the NRC. Get a few drinks in him and he will rant about how crappy the DOE is in their standards compared to what he is tasked with doing for civilian power at Votgle.
 
2012-10-31 10:48:58 AM  
A friend of mine has a lantern from the Glomar Explorer.
 
2012-10-31 10:51:22 AM  
Far creepier was the SL-1 accident in 1961 - a accidental critical that resulted in a meltdown, killing three people.

Around 10:30 p.m., the supervisor for the contractor running the site (Combustion Engineering) and the chief health physicist arrived. They entered the reactor building and found two mutilated men soaked with water: one clearly dead (Byrnes), the other moving slightly (McKinley) and moaning. With one entry per person and a 1 minute limit, a team of 5 men with stretchers recovered the operator who was still breathing; he did not regain consciousness and died of his head injury at about 11 p.m. Even stripped, his body was so contaminated that it was emitting about 500 R/hr. The third man was discovered at about 10:38 p.m., impaled to the ceiling. With all potential survivors now recovered, safety of rescuers took precedence and work was slowed to protect them.

The bodies of all three were buried in lead-lined caskets sealed with concrete and placed in metal vaults with a concrete cover. Some highly radioactive body parts were buried in the Idaho desert as radioactive waste. Army Specialist Richard Leroy McKinley is buried in section 31 of Arlington National Cemetery.
 
2012-10-31 10:51:26 AM  

Shotgun Justice: Actually the bomb site is near Florence SC, not Myrtle Beach. Its about a mile from Francis Marion University off of US 76. What's funny is that there is a traffic sign that says "Atomic Bomb Crater Site" that is often stolen. The site is on private land, but if you take the time to see it, there is still a swampy depression where it exploded. I think only a cow and a chicken were killed in the blast.


Cow and chicken? Cow and chicken?!? Not whale and dolphin?
 
2012-10-31 10:51:51 AM  
Boom! Baby! I am the Midnight Bomber that bombs at Midnight! If all the humans died in a fiery nuclear death, not much would be lost.
 
2012-10-31 10:52:32 AM  

MrGMan: Shotgun Justice: Actually the bomb site is near Florence SC, not Myrtle Beach. Its about a mile from Francis Marion University off of US 76. What's funny is that there is a traffic sign that says "Atomic Bomb Crater Site" that is often stolen. The site is on private land, but if you take the time to see it, there is still a swampy depression where it exploded. I think only a cow and a chicken were killed in the blast.

Cow and chicken? Cow and chicken?!? Not whale and dolphin?


Now we know how momma had a cow and a chicken.
 
2012-10-31 10:58:20 AM  

UberDave: Was the pylon full of 129s or 86Bs


I am pretty sure it was 86B's but I was an LE Troop, I assisted investigating it as a "traffic accident". Much of my information came from the Security Specialists on the scene, so the exact details are probably inflated. The gash on the side I witnessed, and there was definitely a radiation alarm and they evaced the WSA.

This was at a southern bomber base, but not one in Louisiana, that is now closed.
 
2012-10-31 10:58:26 AM  
Americans easily accept the fact they have nuclear weapons on their soil. Even from reading the comments, it appears as more of a "hey that's interesting, ho hum". From a guy who doesn't have, or ever want nuclear weapons anywhere within the borders of this country, those stories scared the living sh*t out of me. I don't get and will never understand the purpose of these death machines. I really don't get it. I've come to realize that life is short enough without the ability to wipe out not one person, or a hundred people but the potential to annihilate an entire species. In 500 years I'm sure we'll look back on this time and think "were they insane? They tested nukes in their own atmosphere and had a casual attitude to something that could have killed everyone". I know history is revisionist, but I don't think there's any doubt this period in history will be viewed as anything but a time of mass insanity.
 
2012-10-31 10:58:40 AM  
The US Government nuked Quebec once in the 1950s.

Actually, the bomb in question was not "loaded" with a warhead, but they were forced to drop it--and then explode it in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands (Eskimo Nell? the Quebec Government?). The sound of the explosion was heard in five villages. Even without the warhead, the conventional explosives in a 1950s bomb was an impressive amount of Ka-boom!

Wikipedia:

November 10, 1950 - Rivière-du-Loup, Québec, Canada - Non-nuclear detonation of an atomic bomb
Returning one of several U.S. Mark 4 nuclear bombs secretly deployed in Canada, a USAF B-50 had engine trouble and jettisoned the weapon at 10,500 feet (3,200 m). The crew set the bomb to self-destruct at 2,500 ft (760 m) and dropped over the St. Lawrence River. The explosion shook area residents and scattered nearly 100 pounds (45 kg) of uranium (U-238) used in the weapon's tamper. The plutonium core ("pit") was not in the bomb at the time.[7]

This wasn't even the first nuke problem over Canada.

Wikipedia:

February 13, 1950 - British Columbia, Canada - 1950 British Columbia B-36 crash-non-nuclear detonation of a simulated atomic bomb
A USAF B-36 bomber, AF Ser. No. 44-92075, was flying a simulated combat mission from Eielson Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska, to Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas, carrying one weapon containing a dummy warhead. The warhead contained uranium instead of plutonium. After six hours of flight, the bomber experienced mechanical problems and was forced to shut down three of its six engines at an altitude of 12,000 feet (3,700 m). Fearing that severe weather and icing would jeopardize a safe emergency landing, the weapon was jettisoned over the Pacific Ocean from a height of 8,000 ft (2,400 m). The weapon's high explosives detonated upon impact. All of the sixteen crew members and one passenger were able to parachute from the plane and twelve were subsequently rescued from Princess Royal Island. The Pentagon's summary report does not mention if the weapon was later recovered.[5]

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_nuclear_accidents

You can see why some people might protest the stationing of American nukes on their territory. Worse things have happened and in places far more heavily populated than Canada, but nobody likes their nation becoming a target of the world's massive arsenel of over-kill. Canada at least can sleep secure in the knowledge that Americans at least think it is worth protecting from the Enemy (even if it has to be destroyed to liberate it, to quote the Vietnam War era military-speak).

The percentage of Americans who would risk American hides for many other countries is small and the political costs of letting the Russians or Chinese have them, smaller.

All in all, Canada is fortunate that it has plenty of room and can absorb quite a thrashing without really noticing. As the old joke puts it: Canada plays an important role in American nuclear defence strategy. The Americans hope the Russian missiles will run out of fuel over it.

Although some of the more difficult to recover nukes are still lying around the ocean floor, corroding, they are probably nothing compared to the massive stockpiles of radioactive by-product (whole buildings, clothing, radioactive isotopes, ants that have crawled through the waste, etc.) that is just sitting around waiting for somebody to figure out what the Hell, if anything, they are going to do with it.

Nuclear power plants typically have large pools of waste like those at the Japanese tsunami-destroyed reactors at Fukashima. Some of them are on the coast and even more vulnerable to a tsunami or earthquake than the Japanese facilities.

A nuclear bomb isn't going to explode spontaneously (that we know) but these piles of untold tons of rubbish could be spread all over Southern California, the East Coast, etc., in the event of a big hurricane or tsunami. They are far from contained as it is. As hinted above, ants and termites and other critters have been found around the dumps (containment is too big a word) with enough radioactivity to alarm even pro-nuclear scientists.

There are a lot of economic costs not being fully accounted for, not to mention a lot of safety not being fully provided. The externalities of nuclear waste mount with the waste. We get the power right away, the next 450,000 years of humanity and life on Earth get the problems.

I don't think the kind of "discounting" that economists do should apply to human extinction risks. It's all or nothing, kids. If the human race goes extinct ten thousand years from now, it's just as serious and final as if it goes extinct today. You don't discount extinction. The value of future generations is not morally or even economically less than the value of the present generation. Future value discounting only works in microeconomic situation. In macro-economics it fails, and in the bigger moral picture, it fails catastrophically.

Call me a Burke Conservative, if you like. I think it is so.
 
2012-10-31 10:58:44 AM  

Silverstaff: Ennuipoet: I am fairly sure I can legally tell this tale, but I will leave out certain details to be sure. While I was the in Air Force a maintenance crew was moving a pylon full of nuclear Air Launched Cruise Missiles from the storage area to an aircraft on bomber alert. An unqualified driver was operating the transport vehicle and misjudged the exit from the storage igloo, striking the edge of the doors and tearing a 15 foot gash in one of the weapons, tearing out more than one of the safety devices which kept the warhead from being armed. It exposed a portion of the core, spiked radiation alarms and caused a major evacuation of the weapons storage area, full of nuclear weapons. Well, all except the cops, we stayed. The incident was reported as a Bent Spear, but was down graded to avoid "causing panic" but really to allow certain high ranking officers not to lose their careers.

There are all sorts of "little" incidents with these things you don't hear about.

What did they downgrade it to, a Dull Sword?


Dented Mace. Maybe Tarnished Shuriken?
 
2012-10-31 10:59:21 AM  

sodomizer: The solution to all of our problems is more government.


is that a FINAL solution?
 
2012-10-31 11:00:57 AM  

mjohnson71: The whole Tybee Island nuclear bomb in the mud thing just weirds me out a little every time we go there.


You have nothing to worry about, it's under fifteen feet of muck. Fifteen feet!

If it does blow, that will totally absorb any radiation.
 
2012-10-31 11:01:41 AM  

UberDave: Ennuipoet: I am fairly sure I can legally tell this tale, but I will leave out certain details to be sure. While I was the in Air Force a maintenance crew was moving a pylon full of nuclear Air Launched Cruise Missiles from the storage area to an aircraft on bomber alert. An unqualified driver was operating the transport vehicle and misjudged the exit from the storage igloo, striking the edge of the doors and tearing a 15 foot gash in one of the weapons, tearing out more than one of the safety devices which kept the warhead from being armed. It exposed a portion of the core, spiked radiation alarms and caused a major evacuation of the weapons storage area, full of nuclear weapons. Well, all except the cops, we stayed. The incident was reported as a Bent Spear, but was down graded to avoid "causing panic" but really to allow certain high ranking officers not to lose their careers. 

There are all sorts of "little" incidents with these things you don't hear about.


Was the pylon full of 129s or 86Bs? I can't even fathom how this would happen and I've pulled loaded pylons in and out of structures literally hundreds of times. The only thing I can think of is that the tug drive gunned the engine (they have a top speed of 15MPH but that's enough) and the catwalk caught on the igloo door that wasn't opened all the way and as it tore away from the trailer, it gouged the hell out of the missile.

I'm guessing it was ACM (129s) as the skin of those is really thin as compared to the ALCM (86b). I can see I pipe from the catwalk structure tearing a long-ass hole in an ACM. And I'm betting what you mean by the "core" was the actual warhead itself. It would take a lot to punch through the payload bay, through the weapon skin, through the HE, and then expose the pit. Plus, there's no rad monitoring at the igloos or the IMF for that matter. The only rad monitoring comes from the DOE and it is random surveys every six months or so. In addition, solid the material in tho ...


Either way, even a drop from a jammer isn't going to bust open a W-80.

I tore down enough of these missiles for training as an EOD tech in the USAF - I've seen trainers dropped, rolled, crushed. Hell I have seen super-sonic sim drops where the AGM-86 didn't take that much damage.
 
2012-10-31 11:02:11 AM  
Its insane the number of nukes that have been detonated.

Link: Linkhttp://

Whats a few more? (Also why do so many people get cancer these days)?
 
2012-10-31 11:03:07 AM  

Whatthefark: mjohnson71: The whole Tybee Island nuclear bomb in the mud thing just weirds me out a little every time we go there.

You have nothing to worry about, it's under fifteen feet of muck. Fifteen feet!

If it does blow, that will totally absorb any radiation.


Hey, grab some dredging equipment and you can soon have yourself a nice souvenir to put on your fireplace mantle.
 
2012-10-31 11:06:36 AM  

Ennuipoet: UberDave: Was the pylon full of 129s or 86Bs

I am pretty sure it was 86B's but I was an LE Troop, I assisted investigating it as a "traffic accident". Much of my information came from the Security Specialists on the scene, so the exact details are probably inflated. The gash on the side I witnessed, and there was definitely a radiation alarm and they evaced the WSA.

This was at a southern bomber base, but not one in Louisiana, that is now closed.


Someone was blowing smoke up your ass about a few things most likely, SPs are notorious for hyperbole.
 
2012-10-31 11:07:28 AM  

GoodOmens: Far creepier was the SL-1 accident in 1961 - a accidental critical that resulted in a meltdown, killing three people.

Around 10:30 p.m., the supervisor for the contractor running the site (Combustion Engineering) and the chief health physicist arrived. They entered the reactor building and found two mutilated men soaked with water: one clearly dead (Byrnes), the other moving slightly (McKinley) and moaning. With one entry per person and a 1 minute limit, a team of 5 men with stretchers recovered the operator who was still breathing; he did not regain consciousness and died of his head injury at about 11 p.m. Even stripped, his body was so contaminated that it was emitting about 500 R/hr. The third man was discovered at about 10:38 p.m., impaled to the ceiling. With all potential survivors now recovered, safety of rescuers took precedence and work was slowed to protect them.

The bodies of all three were buried in lead-lined caskets sealed with concrete and placed in metal vaults with a concrete cover. Some highly radioactive body parts were buried in the Idaho desert as radioactive waste. Army Specialist Richard Leroy McKinley is buried in section 31 of Arlington National Cemetery.


I read a book a couple years back about 'when tech goes wrong' and this was one of the case studies, I didn't recall until I got to the bit about the guy impaled on the ceiling which was pretty memorable. The book was full of stories like this that make you almost amazed we haven't accidentally obliterated ourselves yet.

I think this was it, I remember enjoying it although it's a bit formulaic (each chapter is "here's a regular dude and his job, here's how his job went bad one day, usually everyone dies") and it's more a collection of anecdotes than any real "why" analysis: http://www.amazon.com/Why-Things-Bite-Back-Consequences/dp/0679747567

Might be a bit dated now.
 
2012-10-31 11:07:59 AM  
Speaking of dropping things, I don't think this was in the article, apologies if I missed it.

Link

Titan II Missile Explosion

The Titan II Launch Complex 374-7 in Southside (Van Buren County), just north of Damascus (Van Buren and Faulkner counties), became the site of the most highly publicized disaster in the history of the Titan II missile program when its missile exploded within the launch duct on September 19, 1980. An Air Force airman was killed, and the complex was destroyed. The Titan II Missile Launch Complex 374-7 Site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on February 18, 2000.

Complex 374-7 had already been the site of one significant accident on January 27, 1978, when an oxidizer leak sent a cloud of toxic fumes 3,000 feet long, 300 feet wide, and 100 feet high drifting across U.S. Highway 65. Civilians were evacuated from the area, and four people suffered some ill effects from contact with the vapors. The leak was quickly repaired.

On September 18, 1980, at about 6:30 p.m., an airman conducting maintenance on the Titan II missile dropped a wrench socket, which fell about eighty feet before hitting and piercing the skin on the rocket's first-stage fuel tank, causing it to leak. The commander of the 308th Strategic Missile Wing quickly formed a potential-hazard team, and by 9:00 p.m., the Air Force personnel manning the site were evacuated. About one hour later, Air Force security police began evacuating nearby civilian residents as efforts continued to determine the status of the missile and the fuel leak.

Senior Airman David Livingston and Sergeant Jeff K. Kennedy entered the launch complex early on the morning of September 19 to get readings of airborne fuel concentrations, which they found to be at their maximum. At about 3:00 a.m., the two men returned to the surface to await further instructions. Just as they sat down on the concrete edge of the access portal, the missile exploded, blowing the 740-ton launch duct closure door 200 feet into the air and some 600 feet northeast of the launch complex. The W-53 nuclear warhead landed about 100 feet from the launch complex's entry gate; its safety features operated correctly and prevented any loss of radioactive material. Kennedy, his leg broken, was blown 150 feet from the silo. Livingston lay amid the rubble of the launch duct for some time before security personnel located and evacuated him. Livingston died of his injuries that day. Twenty-one people were injured by the explosion or during rescue efforts.

In early October 1980, cleanup operations gathered tons of debris from around 400 acres surrounding the launch complex and pumped some 100,000 gallons of contaminated water from the silo. The total cost to replace Launch Complex 374-7 was estimated at $225,322,670, while demolition and cleanup were expected to cost $20,000,000. Ultimately, the Air Force decided to seal the complex with soil, gravel, and small concrete debris.

A congressional inquiry into the accident found the Titan II missile program to be essentially reliable. It recommended, however, improved communications between the Air Force and local officials in case of accidents and a modification of the Air Force's policy of neither confirming nor denying the presence and condition of nuclear weapons at an accident site.
 
2012-10-31 11:09:11 AM  

Ennuipoet: UberDave: Was the pylon full of 129s or 86Bs

I am pretty sure it was 86B's but I was an LE Troop, I assisted investigating it as a "traffic accident". Much of my information came from the Security Specialists on the scene, so the exact details are probably inflated. The gash on the side I witnessed, and there was definitely a radiation alarm and they evaced the WSA.

This was at a southern bomber base, but not one in Louisiana, that is now closed.


If it was at Carswell, then it was slightly before my time...and that would explain the active rad monitoring (such as it were).
 
2012-10-31 11:09:32 AM  
Can you imagine the amount of sphincter pucker that ensued among the crew when that bomb fell out of the plane?
 
2012-10-31 11:09:53 AM  
By the time they allowed LE in the WSA, the radiation part was over, the Security Guys all swore it happened, and the BB Stackers were pale as sheets, but that is probably a different kind of fear. I saw the tear in the side of the missile, but nothing inside (obviously, as that was all much more classified than the outside.)

For my part, I can attest that someone definitely screwed up and tore a hole in the thing, scared the shiat out of the Wing King and then the whole thing was quietly written up and it was the last I heard about it. I've tried over the years to dig around to see if it is mentioned, but found nothing. It may be it wasn't a big enough deal to merit mention, or it may be it was very effectively hushed up
 
2012-10-31 11:10:45 AM  

spelletrader: SPs are notorious for hyperbole.


Yeah, I was Jeeped fairly often by the Security guys, it was my first assignment and the loved farking with the LE guys.
 
2012-10-31 11:11:29 AM  

indarwinsshadow: Americans easily accept the fact they have nuclear weapons on their soil. Even from reading the comments, it appears as more of a "hey that's interesting, ho hum". From a guy who doesn't have, or ever want nuclear weapons anywhere within the borders of this country, those stories scared the living sh*t out of me. I don't get and will never understand the purpose of these death machines. I really don't get it. I've come to realize that life is short enough without the ability to wipe out not one person, or a hundred people but the potential to annihilate an entire species. In 500 years I'm sure we'll look back on this time and think "were they insane? They tested nukes in their own atmosphere and had a casual attitude to something that could have killed everyone". I know history is revisionist, but I don't think there's any doubt this period in history will be viewed as anything but a time of mass insanity.


The US is a big land mass. If one goes off accidentally, it will likely be too far away to affect me. But other than that yeah, it's not a pleasant thought.
 
2012-10-31 11:12:07 AM  

brantgoose: The US Government nuked Quebec once in the 1950s.


"What's your least favorite, Italy or Quebec?"
"Quebec."
"[aims bomb] Nobody ever says Italy."
 
2012-10-31 11:13:58 AM  

xanadian: Silverstaff: What did they downgrade it to, a Dull Sword?

Dented Mace. Maybe Tarnished Shuriken?


Battered Boffer?
 
2012-10-31 11:14:17 AM  

Ennuipoet: I am fairly sure I can legally tell this tale, but I will leave out certain details to be sure. While I was the in Air Force a maintenance crew was moving a pylon full of nuclear Air Launched Cruise Missiles from the storage area to an aircraft on bomber alert. An unqualified driver was operating the transport vehicle and misjudged the exit from the storage igloo, striking the edge of the doors and tearing a 15 foot gash in one of the weapons, tearing out more than one of the safety devices which kept the warhead from being armed. It exposed a portion of the core, spiked radiation alarms and caused a major evacuation of the weapons storage area, full of nuclear weapons. Well, all except the cops, we stayed. The incident was reported as a Bent Spear, but was down graded to avoid "causing panic" but really to allow certain high ranking officers not to lose their careers. 

There are all sorts of "little" incidents with these things you don't hear about.


THIS!
I could tell you tales that would curl your hair.
I couldn't sleep for 10 years after I got out.
I drank a lot.
Then I got over it.
But they really do NOT have their SHIAT together in the USAF when it comes to priority A safety.

the civillian contractors, though, much better.
 
2012-10-31 11:14:59 AM  
I feel safer.

And oddly comforted - I know I have to die, but if I go with most of my neighbours and friends I will at least have company on the journey.
 
2012-10-31 11:18:01 AM  
static.rcgroups.net
 
2012-10-31 11:18:08 AM  
What was that episode where a nuclear weapon accidentally detonated at an air force base and some guy made it to his fall-out shelter, mistakenly thinking it was WW III, while they domed off the entire zone with him still alive inside? Was it an Amazing Stories one or something else?
 
2012-10-31 11:19:58 AM  

Bondith: That explains so, so much about South Carolina.


No, South Carolina can be explained by them being sub-human, anti-God, anti-American, terrorist genetic traitors*. The horror is not that a nuke might have been dropped on Myrtle Beach, but that some Confederate-symp mole had infiltrated the US military and stopped them from carpet-bombing the whole region as the Constitution calls for.

* By their own One Drop Rule, the children of God-hating anti-Unionists are just as unpatriotic
 
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