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Rotary Hears First Hand Account Of 1966 Lost H-Bomb Recovery

February 13, 2018       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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Chuck Cusick
Rotarian Chuck Cusick spoke to the club about his experiences as an Air Force officer in Spain in 1966 when a B-52 carrying four H-bombs collided with a KC-135 tanker causing both planes to crash. Of the bombs, three fell near the town of Palomares and one fell into the ocean.

The result of this loss was a "Broken Arrow" alert that raised worldwide news coverage. The US military mobilized 1600 soldiers to participate in the search and cleanup operation. Chuck was a search officer in charge of a group of airmen.

The fascinating talk outlined what the search was really like for men on the ground and at sea. The bombs were not armed so they could not cause a nuclear explosion, but one of those on land did blow up in a conventional explosion.

The teams of recovery men scoured the land for any trace of wreckage or bomb material. Nobody really knew how to handle this type of material at that time. Chuck said that the men were most likely exposed to radiation. In his own case, on one occasion, his clothes became so contaminated that they were taken away and he was given a Spanish jumpsuit. He has only recently learned that some of the survivors are now suing the US over their exposure and possible health concerns.

The Spanish government insisted that the land be completely cleaned up. Chuck showed a number of old slides of the area. He showed how the soil was packed into thousands of 55-gallon drums, sealed, and shipped back to the states for burial.

The recovery at sea took a while longer. Three submersibles, including the brand new Alvin, were brought in to search the sea floor. A photo showed the bomb on the floor of the ocean covered by the parachute that slowed it's decent. Another drawing showed how the bomb was partly raised when the cables snapped and the bomb sunk even deeper. A second effort succeeded in raising the device.

Although the story is over 50 years old, and well documented, hearing an account by a person who was actually there proved to be a riveting experience.


ROTARY ROCKS! The annual Rotary Concert, held last week, proved to be another roaring success. The estimate is that the club raised about $3,000 toward the Polio eradication cause.

The Spring Community Grant Cycle is now open. Please pass the word to your friends and associates that might benefit from this program. Full details and applications are available on the club website.

The Club Board met today. Among the actions was a renewal of the policy for the club to pay half of the District Conference fees for any member attending the conference, May 4-5 in Frankenmuth. The club does ask that anyone receiving this reimbursement should please attend all of the events of the day.

Next summer's International Convention will be in Toronto, an easy trip for many of us. Be sure you sign up with her to attend this life-changing Rotary experience.


Dig out your favorite Rotary memory photos and
let Brenda Scramlin use them for the weekly
Club slide show. It'll be fun for everyone!


Current and past DISTRICT DISPATCH newsletters are available on the District site shown in the LINKS section below.
Get connected with ROTARY on Facebook.
Over 450 people like us so far. Let's go for 500 people liking our page!


May 4-5, 2018 - District Conference Frankenmuth
    New format and breakout sessions.
    1 and a half days rather than two full days.

Upcoming Programs

(See the official schedule at )

February 20, 2018: Jill Armentrout will speak on Nonprofit Health Centers.

February 27, 2018: NO MEETING - SOCIAL after hours
Members are encouraged to attend the Chamber of Commerce's State of the Community Luncheon at the Doubletree from 11:00 am until 1:30 pm. Members will receive a makeup for attending.
The club will hold a social meeting at Tri-City Brewery that evening from 6:30 until... (pay as you go)

Rotary is an intimate affiliation of carefully selected business and professional people,
having as its objective the promotion of high ethical standards in private, commercial
and civic life, and dedicated to the ideal that the basis of all worthy endeavor is unselfish service.

Current and past DISTRICT DISPATCH newsletters are available on the District site shown in the LINKS section below.

Get connected with ROTARY on Facebook.
Over 450 people like us. Let's go for 500 people liking our page!

Rotary Bay City on Facebook
Rotary Bay City on Facebook!
Click on the Blue Facebook to visit us there.

Remember! Check attendance sheets at the front desk.

District 6310 Web Site District Dispatch Archive
Rotary International Make-up On-Line at
The Rotary Global History Fellowship
Rotary Global History.

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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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