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The Night 2 H-Bombs Fell on North Carolina

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
August 23, 2022 3:00 am

The Night 2 H-Bombs Fell on North Carolina

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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August 23, 2022 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, we learn how on January 23, 1961, a B-52 bomber crashed in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Two H-bombs—each 250 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan, fell to the ground. Earl Smith dismantled those bombs and he's here to tell us the story! Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, tells the story of a man many historians consider to be the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball-Leroy "Satchel" Paige. 

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00:00 - The Night 2 H-Bombs Fell on North Carolina

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This is will you be the Mrs. and our American stories we tell stories about everything here on the show January 23, 1961, just four days after Pres. John F. Kennedy was sworn into office, a B-52 bomber crashed near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina to H bombs each 250 times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan, marking the end of World War II, were thrown out and fell at a velocity of 700 mph and crashed into Goldsboro, North Carolina, information about this event was Classified until 2013. This is the true story of that mission is told by the man who actually dismantled the hydrogen bonds in the aftermath of an accident but could've been the worst man-made disaster in history.

As Earl Smith, the true story of the Goldsboro broken arrow. I graduated high school in 1956 Hatton Alabama like everybody else around there. The day after you graduate half-billion go to Kalamazoo, Michigan. So I go to Kalamazoo to visit my brother had a brother and two sisters live there and not my brother had a neighbor about my agent so we decide to go downtown on Saturday morning to fill around and so there was recruiter station isolate school in my Bank.

I think we going gelling so it was in the morning went down there so by 3 o'clock namely format on trying for the processing station in the Air Force so hook it away when I went back my brother and am about to have a heart attack. You see, you did what I thought, beyond Air Force all you did.

Hey, I got labor sampling. Conflict of we signed a vulnerability plan. After that I never saw my buddy again so he goes to California first go and I go to Texas in the first school I will went to his domination school and now they give a different task to say, what you should qualify for so this first assignment they say made to down the Puerto Rico rhyme Air Force Base go down that down to Puerto Rico there and what I'm doing the job and what simulation minus coliform, which is basically taking care of the moms and ammo in the story during loading on the plane on every well therefore decided to start airborne alert with nuclear weapons. So we had 30 3B 36 bombers down there so they started what they call operation curtain raiser everyday at 1 o'clock. Applying would leave Remy and at the same time, another plane would leave North Africa. That one always and always an error in five on the ground work five days on the ground when loaded with nuclear weapons. Each one ready go and ammunition. So anyway when I leave Puerto Rico. They formed a new squadron, 5030 MMS which ammunition maintenance quarter. We wound up it at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. Back then you know I'm not disfigured out of the this arm of mama Nippon is hungry but real recklessly and on the back, but but I'm the same kid when I was growing up. All of the labor kids only. They taught me in turning over the neighbor's beehive a step back and are still with bucket whale bold.

I will not do stuff like that of a real deck. So I guess it steals back from something like that. I had put in for bomb disposal Google what before you can get in the you have to understand have to have a grade of 90 or above them, a formulation man for them to put the money behind you and is strictly voluntary. So I received an appointment after few months, to go to the oldies getting an evening at Maryland well the school. The school actually what was extremely hard you this literally live from day to day and hope you can make it through another day because the man when and indoctrination.

First of all I take out this feel it's back about a 20 acre field and I have everything to Serevent thrown dropped or projected from all over the world up to the will only be to rocket and got to the big rockets it's time and a man tells you said gentlemen before you graduate disco if you're fortunate to graduate this go you will be able to walk up any pay soreness out here on Tammy what it is, what kind explosive used in a what, fusion system and what country from and how to disarm it (but you never a year.

Sure yeah I made it. But before you leave that school. That's one of these are things you can uniting got into that of the big big mess of somewhat heavy but really the nuclear bomb had mentored hadn't entered my mind. I just never dreaming that I have anything dropped in my lap level dropped in my lab but once I get back to my base after graduate and now it happened to be my night on the standby January exactly January 23, 1961, when the control tower called me. They said that we have a B-52 coming in tell number 0187, with fewer leaks in the Bombay area. Well I knew that was serious because when they go to let the landing gear down he possibly have bars good creative fire and I lived off base, so it had been a snow on the ground is about 10 at night so I got dressed right quick, let them bother the life my boots on. I just wrapped a strange family to Adam, but by the time I got to the base. They determine it hit Christ off base of about 12 miles so Gilmore had already had a helicopter waiting for me because they will be man has a first priority on what to call broken air. The bomb itself was marked 39 bomb, which is actually 3.8 Mt of explosive and a lot of people don't know how much of megaton is if you take up a railroad car coal car and you loaded keeping up with TNT. It would stretch our way across United States and back and for Chicago that's only 1.1 million only one megaton 3.8 procedure Earl Smith, the true story of the Goldsboro broken arrow you're going to want to hear the rest of the stories you on our American stores, folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country and especially the stories of America's rich past. Know that all of our stories about American history toward innovation culture and faith brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College placement. Students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things good in life. If you can't get the Hillsdale bills that will come to you with a free and terrific online courses go to we continue here with our Americans stories we just learned from Earl Smith that she is one of the two hydrogen bonds fell on Goldsboro, North Carolina 1961 contained 3.8 Mt of explosive years girl making that statistic understandable the Lehman the experts claim that it would with the fallout and everything of lively going off would kill everybody away from New York City out on the eastern seaboard to the tip of the Florida Keys for lunch lap and off the alteration seaboard. It was 250 times stronger than what was dropped on Hiroshima that was on the 40 kt so this thing would just just a monster.

So when we get out to the toothpaste he had allied on the helicopter were flying around and I see a parachute. My God, they're not closely connected to the lesson sent down the closer you get to the gas amount will get too close intended no matter what you get me posted.

You can so general.

More tell Mason that you can't touch that mom or anything until we get permission Atomic Energy Commission is now certain is not the way it works and that scared me so I got off and see what's in there and I woke up to the ball. When I opened that access door and sow that ran a way not just another turncoat scariest thing I was 24 years old and an ideal sand hope for my doing here you know that is a semi distance on it for it was it was. I was armed and functioning and not doubt. I really thought of them pull out one last confinement of mama.

I thought I would die and I made is funny what you can tell your your mind. You tell yourself an idea and I was paying I had a the pains in the chest and everything was right around everybody I knew I was going I was going fast, but I had to get kids on what I could and I have little look over the distant is about a 5 mile area. There was literally lit up part of the Pine Burnet, so I am less aware with the big big cross on and I start to feel better. For some reason or another you know so a few hours later. If you are a member general same nightmare for showing up, and Gen. Moore who was general was one star general and Gen. Sweeney who was a the commander right there force of which I was assigned to anyway. He starts asked me what all the what did you do first.

Blah blah blah blah nice welcome. Probably a lot of trouble. He simply made well when Gen. Sweeney found out that I had done been told by Gen. Moore that will had to get permission Atomic Energy Commission. He turned to this aim to get down moral house all Lord I'm in trouble so dear mower comes up in the very words he said the dinner Moore.

He said Gen. Moore. If you don't notice man down job. I suggest you have them up to your office about 2 to 3 times a week for coffee and doughnut so he can explain you what the hell he does all Lord, my heart, and the song would cost. Gen. Moore going back to eighth Air Force here and will be stuck on base for this general llama little wire my first class, enlisted man, you know, and they made him look bad made him look real bad. Nothing ever came of it. But the that was I was more scared of that and I will of the mall.

I want to learn about the bomb I knew I could take it or who went by. Well about hour and half later, three more. The only manner. Sgt. Fletcher, Sgt. Fancher and Sgt. Nevers they came out to pick up. We proceeded to this armed the first well and what happened, though bombs are so powerful they have to be let down.

The parachute counted below the plane.

Now there but they can be sent up to 46 hours. This can be that long a delay go say don't worry about the Russians coming up and disarming because they don't do exactly the steps as air flows me in developing Soho.

We knew that part two. So you got a new will disconnect one for KT wired and white, three minutes or so went on, then in operation. The steps you have to do it exactly so that since that's the reason for the parachute so anyway we get this bomb taken care of and I called out the motor pool form to get to bring a flatbed truck out so they could get down and a lift to get this mom to go back to the base of her death is taken care late and half hours after this happened, this Lieut. Ravel shows up with a crew from second quarter Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and he comes marching out there like the Lord for Roy taken in charge. Well the first thing he did was we would finally found the second bomb and it was what it really took about three days before really got to Parker's.

Everything had to be done. We had to be real careful digging so you had 92.detonators were live in those had to be.

Each one had been accounted for and put in a little container and get back to the base well when we got down there deep enough for the big after body part when the parachute was still in my Lieut. Ravel. His group removed that I would ground you have just that after body. Well, I was lowest ranking man on there so I got the good duty of getting down in the hold, and in the muddy water, ice, water, and everything reaching down in the hole and pulling up parts of the mom and identified what each one was an Rh down. I get that the nuclear Cold War rotted it between my legs and I handed it to some I don't remember what about those. My problem never had more kids and I did. After that, so once we got all of that stuff out in a trading bottle. Then I want to really anything else for them to explode if the were the big the big diggers can come in in and the local people wouldn't drink the water year scared to death that will drink the water so will get permission to bring three old-timers around locking member you want to name for, but a lot took a the cup poured some water in it and I drink it and I said would you know you think I would drink it if you know tote that kinda gain peace of mind to will never heard more thing about that but they told us it will then want the public to know what we were looking for. There's one apart head which write about 3000 pounds which was uranium 235 and 238 and he had hardpan and kept going. We were looking for. This is what all of the dig and was going to be about, but they told us to tell everybody funny him were reporting about asked we were doing their part to an ejection seat with my that's what we actually had say but one one poor man was a sharecropper. He looks up and sees his humongous parachute was something he thought the Russians were invading so he grabbed the pole of cornbread and some milk into blanket. They found him seven hours later under some bushes where they were looking for major at Shelton. He was something he killed him about three body for him were killed and two bodies were in the wreckage of meeting close to where the bomb was that five men survived one man, Capt. Maddox. He didn't have an ejection seat so anybody else eject and he said he saw he saw whole and he does know for never dream and he get out, so he made it through and then the pace he found he's a ride somewhere back to the base. He still had a parachute and the gate guard was talking about going arresting thought he stole parachute but nobody my knowledge is every skate jumping out of a jet plane and survive. And you're listening to Earl Smith in my goodness what he was up to that day in North Carolina, but we never knew about it until fairly recently, there has been a book written about it, big bestseller, the option is a movie Goldsboro broken arrow is the thriller by Joel Dobson the book and actually recounts a story from the perspective of Jack Ravel and that's why we're bringing you Earl Smith's account.

He was the guy who did the work.

I think I want the credit. We know the difference between those two, when it comes to political theater and show boaters when we come back to continue this remarkable story.

The story of how one of the world's greatest man-made disasters was averted here on our American school and we continue here with our American stories. We love tell you the stories from history because there are important in my goodness.

These are things ordinary Americans to both are just extraordinary but returned Earl Smith picking up three over man who helped him dismantle the hydrogen bomb back in 1961 in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

There is a really roasted like I said there there there holiday it now and what it happened before death before I found out about all this. Somehow this Lieut. Ravel had found out that the three guys were dead so he thought I was dead to so he proceeded to tell the story like all in how he took care that mom was was a bunch of crap and is out now blatant lie in someone like a he had let them do that mom was ready to die me a shotgun will take was taken care of ready to go back to the base and I imagine he was quite shocked when he found out that I was still alive after I come come up there and they were a lot of lot of the publicity about it after I got back home. This movie producer call me from Paris, France, and he said he would like in a movie, Cold War. He lived to tell my story and it and he said I'll fly you back up there will pale you splinted everything I said okay so we and I went back up there in an April that year. Well, the man who Kurt Taylor who is principal person. He is a he wants everything to be historically correct and he's a pretty historical Society for Goldsboro well this Lieut. when he was 10 his store.

May our need of three guys were ever mentioned about anything never mentioned never mentions that set me on fire about getting everything straight so that's when I went back they had the absolute are Kurt Keller invited me up to tell the story a matter fact, when we made this movie. The land is flat over from parish, the guy who's the director and president of historical society. He said this.

Lieut. Ravel was invited to be a part of it to. He said I'll take Betsy will show up. I guess what he did. I was sure hoping Dale he will. After all, and he told Alyssa Stefan and after three dead man, Sgt. Fancher, Sgt. Fletcher and Sgt. Evers Rolle done every naked they can defend yourself. What he did and I lost any respect I ever might've had about and then when they write this book I write this book. I think they end up in two books I mostly want broken arrow over Goldsboro. Manny wrote that I finally had talked to him last that I don't hold you. I said them first about last where did you get this information. He said will for Lieut. travail. So he polled you much a crown and then I proceeded to tell them about what really happened and he said well I figured it was Ofc. and a gentleman that said will you kind of figured wrong on this one because he he he will be one turned out to be other than that, but he never showed up. Will it fail this movie but that's where it happened.

I remember everything just didn't like it was yesterday.

I don't golf when something like that is is is so vivid I mean someone so important.

You just don't forget.

But I like this and never without. We were told to never ever mentioned. They say you don't ever speak of this, you'll ever you ever, never, never, ever, ever speak that scared to so more so I can put down mom is what first about what I said something that modernly for many years because they were telling everybody that all parts were found, and I knew that piece of uranium 238. The service was still in the ground, not in the worded anything about a move for it might've finally started dance on the water supply and it bothered me for many years about the people living down there and but we were told in you you you don't talk about this. You don't but they were telling Air Force Lieut. we were looking for an ejection seat to see what keel later Sheldon and I spent a little over million dollars dig in and allow me now million dollars in 1961 was a lot of money on so they they let us know right quickie.

You don't talk about it and pray that candidate element in office four days and I was his first first speech as I get make about our press report I get.

But I guess that there were a lot of generals, but in general there is a lot of media when it started showing up delay filing that Willie threatened with $25,000 fine.

That's what now they can keep them out, but this is what today but they are small and it's hello know you don't say a word about his notes at work, though I don't think there is not out for long time. I worried about it but when you think about it, the radiation would come from from the Cold War. We got the core out but this this is buried so deep and uranium network come from the ground anyway so though is still on the grounds they're doing. They do regular testing on but my later years that I got and I mostly seminar raise up a dandy RV up and Oxford and these man came in and they were really man to so I mentioned to one of my said that we take shielding Manas.

I worked a little job up in North Carolina and he lived only 50 you worked on that job. Yeah I sincerely know if I was on standby had Bama's efforts are, he said you know it's all over the Internet message was no I'm so Mo I finally got and got only rectory no list of my low blood started bawling all that crap he was telling you in a net not only just for myself or though the man risked their lives even when you go out on some like a you what's going and but for him to come in and try to take credit for something somebody else did is just not right know what, no way in the world and I don't I don't hold any animosity toward him. He's at the time I broke his neck. When I first heard about but but you not supposed to hate and I mean this whole thing was just the way this dislikes out some of the liver is never happening and listening to Earl Smith telling the story of disarming a hydrogen bomb. Note to hydrogen bombs fell on North Carolina back in January 23, 1961. This event was kept classified into 2013 and by the way, assuming that everyone had died.

Lieut. Jack Ravel decided to will do what we all know people like this did what he thought he could do take advantage of an opportunity and take credit for work done by other men. No surprise that he wasn't showing up wherever Earl Smith showed up because my goodness Earl would've had detailed memory of disarming the bomb that lets face it Lieut. Chuck Ravel simply couldn't or didn't have a great story. By the way, we always welcome your stories, send them to our American This is just a book you don't hear a guy talk about himself in heroic ways. He did what he was trying to do it with a bunch of guys and a whole bunch of guys died, probably trying to get this plane to land safely and not create a game.

What would've been perhaps the worst man-made disaster in human history. Earl Smith story, the story of a man who disarmed a couple each bombs in North Carolina back in 1961. You are my birth dear on our American stories and we returned to our American stories up next story from Bob Kinzer is the president of the Negro leagues baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri today. Bob shares with us the story of a player. Many experts believe at least experts in the world baseball was the greatest of all time were talking Satchel Paige Pickett with Bob.

I think the work that went over the last 30+ years will now come to the building baseball Museum expecting to meet some pretty good baseball player at every course you want to leave not being disappointing. You're going to meet some of the greatest athletes to put on a baseball uniform but by the time our just walk away from this experience truly walk away with a much deeper and richer appreciation for just how great this country because the story of the police could've only happened yes it is anchored against the ugliness of American segregation horrible chapters in this country's history of segregation roles this wonderful story of triumph and conquest is all based on one small simple principle you will let me play with you eventually okay and never believe bad they were inferior because they were playing a sport that the white athlete was superior because they were played amazingly pencil knew how good and they knew how good it was to know what the major league is how good because they had competed with and against each other in countless exhibitions again when we went to those speaking countries of separation.

They were all playing which is one of the reasons why I think we upon his own induction into the National baseball Hall of Fame in 1966 stood there and boldly used his platform to advocate for the introduction of stars to the national baseball go on to say that he hoped someday, the likes of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson would be inducted into the national baseball Hall of Fame as symbols of those great black stars who have never been given an opportunity that was 1966.

Five years later Satchel Paige becomes the first from the to be inducted into the national baseball Hall of Fame washer say the first for his Negro leagues career enjoys between 1948 as a supposedly 42-year-old.

Only God knows how will Cleveland with where the world served by Cleveland fans get to hear me say this, but it was the last time that Cleveland won the World Series was 1948 were Satchel Paige and Larry Doby thought Satchel should have been named rookie of six and one with a 2.4 ERA.

His rookie season at age 42, which means he was likely close to 52. He never told his real late and quite frankly I'm not convinced that's that's old is really fast because there were a lot of folks particularly delightful for the deep South know how old were no baseball services. Such was born July 7, 1906, which I absolutely do not mandate here in 1982 men likely see 7 foot long topical satchel I believe was born sometime in the early to mid 1890s in Mobile, Alabama, like virtually everyone of that era did not want to the hospital to board at home to admit what and that birth record was typically In the back page of the family Bible now according to Satchel the goat that paid out the Bible would whimsically pose the question how old would you be if you didn't know how old you are, that age is simply mind over matter. If you don't mind it don't matter and that is how he led his life now in his prime to clock his fastball hundred 5 mph for what really may satchel special 105 pretty double special base our social special was 105 with pinpoint control.

He could put it exactly where he wanted to put it and I am not talking about just like strikes just to set the target.this is more marketable. Like most pitches to torture the catcher across home plate know what satchel would you a stick of foil discussed the catcher would sit chewing the rap on top of home plate and where ever the catcher moved the chewing gum wrapper satchel right over the top of that chewing, he was absolutely 10 children. I guess all the time.

There will never be another Leroy Satchel Paige is not someone who combines the longevity by his estimation. He fisted over 2600 recorded some 55 no-hitters and only God knows how many strikeouts and a charisma seven. Also back it up.

And so Satchel had made for his pitches, so he didn't have fastball, curveball, change of new who not satchel Satchel had what he called his midnight cripple yet to humble yet the bad dodger hesitation. Yet the long-term short-term jump ball trouble ball. The radial ball, the one the ball gets to do also had a pitch that he call his people why he called it the people because fructose is what I wanted to be when I wanted to talk to all my drum major league pitchers really come into the museum. They better develop themselves a ball and so he was so amazing. One of my favorite stories relative to Satchel. They were playing in the Denver Post tournament. Satchel Paige All-Stars versus an all-white semi pro team from the crew was born, and Buck O'Neil was playing first base for satchel minutes.

All-Stars and he says the first kid from the Coors team gets into the batter's box be examined.

Satchel throws a fastball kid swung as hard as he could copy it dribbled it down at third base line.

It stays fair. He beats it out and gets it and feel it says about that time one of the kids from the Coors dugout steps out on top of the dugout steps and he yells out the speed of hearing nothing but an overrated and dark. It will Satchel's mate may have a big name everybody.

His nickname famously from uncle Bill was Nancy.

That's a whole another story really got Todd Storch anyway. Santa looks over first basis is both yes and he said Nancy so bonkers at first base. He turns and motions for the outfield to take a couple steps such as this is not Nancy Bruegel all the way honest to God's truth.

There were seven guys kneeling around about Satchel Paige and the catcher and Satchel strikes out the side of ninth Street pitches. He looks into the Coors dugout and says overrated dark you hate the kid that said this, he was embarrassed all the guys came out to apologize to satchel at his teammate but buckled meals for today he died. If you had one game to win and any choice of any picture from any error. It would be the legendary Leroy Satchel Paige said you might be there when he was the best around. When he was locked and loaded. Get about.

But as Satchel would say there were a lot of Satchel Paige is that plea invisibly known as the Negro leagues and it is so very fitting that we now have a place with their contributions not only transport of being remembered but their contributions to our society. And again it is at a time when there's only a handful of these legendary athletes deal with my World War II, many of them were World War II.

So with Stuart at risk was that the story was going to die when that last Negro league and left the face of this, we can about I tell my guess all the time. Legally museum doesn't need to survive, it has to supply and great job as always by Monty Montgomery on the production. Special thanks also to Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro leagues baseball Museum in Kansas City Missouri out of segregation. Bob said Rose triumph, and indeed the African-American rebuttal to the major-league baseball's refusal to let African-Americans play with start or only nobody more perfectly represented that league talents than Leroy Satchel Paige 2600 wins hundred and 5 mile an hour fastball story of Leroy Satchel Paige on our American story

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