Nuking North Carolina

The Goldsboro “Broken Arrow” Incident

In January 1961, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber carrying two thermonuclear warheads came apart over a tobacco field in North Carolina. In one of the bombs, the detonation sequence initiated…


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“You would’ve created a bay of North Carolina, completely changing the configuration of the East Coast of the United States.”…
When a B-25 Bomber suffered catastrophic structural failure and came apart over the North Carolinian countryside, its two thermonuclear warheads plummeted to the earth. During the mid-air breakup, one of the bomb’s safety pins was pulled loose, initiating its detonation sequence. Munitions expert Jack Revelle recalled the moment they discovered how perilous the situation was: “Until my death I will never forget hearing my sergeant say, ‘Lieutenant, we found the arm/safe switch.’ And I said, ‘Great.’ He said, ‘Not great. It’s on arm.’” Nuking North Carolina tells the story of a near-apocalyptic accident on American soil that remained classified for over 50 years.
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