March 31, 2024 at 3:28 pm

The United States Has Lost Nuclear Weapons Six Times. Here’s What Happened.

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

“What the American public doesn’t know is what makes them the American public,” says Zalinsky as he shirks his onscreen persona inĀ Tommy Boy.

A strangely poignant quote for a slapstick comedy (a classic slapstick comedy).

Scientists, though, agree that there are a lot of scientific facts that people don’t know – such as the fact that we’ve lost nuclear weapons more than a handful of times.

In fact, the US has lostĀ six atomic bombs or weapons-grade nuclear material since the Cold War…that they’ve admitted to.

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The US is also responsible for at least thirty-two documented instances of a nuclear weapons accident, or a “Broken Arrow,” in military speak.

These include accidental launching or detonation, theft, or loss of a nuclear weapon.

The first one of these incidents occurred on February 13th, 1950, when a US B-36 bomber traveling from Alaska to Texas had to jettison their Mark 4 nuclear bomb over the Pacific. The plane was experiencing mechanical difficulties and was unable to land.

The military claimed the bomb was only a mock-up and contained no plutonium; none of the uranium has ever been recovered.

Six years later, on March 10th, 1956m a Boeing B-47 left MacDill Air Force Base Florida with “two nuclear capsules” on board. It disappeared on its way to Morocco and was never seen again.

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Two years after that, on February 5, 1958, a B-47 bomber with a 7,500-pound Mark 15 nuclear bomb on board collided with an F-86 aircraft during a combat mission.

After trying and failing to land, they jettisoned the bomb into the mouth of the Savannah River. It did not detonate but was never retrieved.

On January 24, 1961, the wing of B-52 bomber split apart over North Carolina. They had two nuclear bombs on board, one of which drifted to earth under its parachute. The other crash-landed in a field and did not explode.

December 5, 1965 saw an A-4E Skyhawk aircraft loaded with a nuclear weapon roll off the back of an aircraft carrier stationed near Japan.

No sign of the weapon, the plane, or the pilot was ever found, though in 1989, the government finally admitted that the bomb was still in the seabed – which kind of made Japan angry.

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There was one incident in 1968, but the Pentagon has been mum on the details. Some speculate that it has to do with the disappearance of the nuclear-powered Scorpion submarine and it’s 99-person crew. It went missing in the Atlantic Ocean while on a mission.

Basically, we’re pretty lucky that there hasn’t been some sort of Chernobyl on American soil.

Comforting, right?

If you think that’s impressive, check out this story about a “goldmine” of lithium that was found in the U.S. that could completely change the EV battery game.