Mars Bluff - the only place in the USA bombed with a nuclear weapon - video

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Mars Bluff - the only place in the USA bombed with a nuclear weapon - video

Mars Bluff in Florence County, South Carolina is the only place in the USA to have been bombed with a nuclear weapon by the United States Air Force.

On March 11, 1958 a U.S. Air Force B-47 Stratojet from the Hunter Air Force Base's 308th Bombardment Wing in Savannah, Georgia took off around 4:34 p.m. It was scheduled to fly to the United Kingdom for Operation Snow Flurry. The plane was required to carry nuclear weapons in the event of war breaking out with the Soviet Union.

Air Force Captain Bruce Kulka was the navigator and was summoned to the bomb bay area after the captain of the plane had encountered a fault light in the cockpit indicating that the bomb harness locking pin for the transatlantic flight did not engage. As Kulka was reaching around the bomb to pull himself up, he mistakenly grabbed the emergency release pin. The Mark 6 bomb dropped to the floor of the B-47 and the weight forced the bomb bay doors open sending the bomb 15,000 feet (4,572 m) down to the ground below.

Although the bomb did not contain the removable core of fissionable uranium and plutonium (the core was securely stored in a containment area onboard the plane and thus not technically a traditional "atomic" bomb per se.), it did contain 7,600 pounds (3,447 kg) of conventional explosives.

Accounts of this widely reported accident describe the bomb falling in garden of the home of Mr. Walter Gregg in Mars Bluff, S.C. The high explosive detonation virtually destroyed his house creating a crater 50-70 feet in diameter and 25-30 feet deep.

It caused minor injuries to Mr. Gregg and five members of his family, and additionally damaged five other houses and a church. The clean-up effort required several days. Air Force personnel recovered hundreds of pieces of bomb fragments that were carried off as souvenirs by local residents.

The inhabitants of Mars Bluff were examined for several months to see if they had been exposed to any radiation. Five months later the Gregg family was awarded $54,000 from the Air Force. After this accident Air Force crews were ordered to "lock in" nuclear bombs. This reduced the possibility of accidental drops but increased the hazards if the plane crashed.

The crater is still preserved, but obscured by a swamp.





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mark-6-nuclear-bomb-mars-bluff.jpg - 43.92kb
By netchicken: posted on 2-9-2011








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