If people have a bucket list for cars, especially Miatas, then it’s probably track days, autocross, meets, or certain mountain roads. For me, it’s infamous nuclear history being visited by a car built in Hiroshima. Today’s journey took me to Goldsboro, NC, home to what is possibly the closest call in Broken Arrow history.
Somewhere out there under that 400 foot-diameter circle of trees and vegetation is the thermonuclear stage of a Mark 39 nuclear bomb. I’m sure our resident aviation historian can enlighten us further but in 1961 a B-52 broke-up mid-air and released two of these 3.8 megaton-yielding beasts. One bomb landed in a tree safely thanks to its parachute but the other bomb didn’t deploy its chute and crashed into this field. Due to uncontrollable ground water-flooding (due to being 180 ± 10 feet below grade, well into the water table), the excavation of the second bomb was abandoned. However, the core or “pit” of the bomb was removed, leaving only the uranium and plutonium of the thermonuclear stage in the ground. The site was capped with soil and nature has done its best to cover up a grave mistake.
All that’s left is this out of place group of trees and vegetation in the middle of a soy bean field. Hopefully this once-powerful giant continues to peacefully sleep until the end of days.
Next location: Tybee Island, GA
Previously: Mars Bluff, SC