Saturday, September 21, 2013

Broken Arrows

I was traveling recently and near Chicago I saw a couple with matching "B-25 Recovery Team" t-shirts. Instinctively I thought they were from Pittsburgh and was about to say hellow, but on closer inspection I saw it was for another B-25 that crashed in Alaska some time ago.  What B-25 was I thinking of?  The one that must be in the Mon of course. There has long been speculation on what the cargo was of the B-25 that crashed in the Monogahela River in 1956. Folks continue to look for the plane today and rumors seems to expand over time. Remarkably the story continues to make local news here.

Comes to mind because of news today from over the pond of a bit of Cold War history. The UK's Guardian reports on a North Carolina B-52 crash in 1961 that could have been catastrophic.

Less mysterious, but with curiously little written on over the years, was the 1964 crash of a B-52 that crashed on Big Savage Mountain just a couple hours from Pittsburgh. Little mystery and no denying the bomber was armed with two thermonuclear bombs. Little doubt the bombs were real given that the plane was returning from a Cold War Chrome Dome patrol. People forget already just how serious the Cold War was.

They also forget what people worried about back in Ozzie and Harriet days. I just don't understand how anyone looks back nostalgically on the 1950s given what everyone was worried about. Again just one headline from the 1951 series of articles by John Troan, later editor of the Pittsburgh Press, on how Pittsburgh would survive an atomic war:


So serious was the threat of Pittsburgh being bombed that barely a year after Troan's series, defensive military forces were deployed into the Pittsburgh region for the first time since the Civil War in April 1952. That month a column of soldiers and heavy equipment and artillery, the first elements of what would be named the Pittsburgh Air Defense Command, rumbled through the streets of McKeesport to set up a ring of 90mm antiaircraft guns on 12 sites in the region. The Mon Valley was to be defended at all costs from Soviet bombers. 

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