10/22/11 323 W, 1 I - + 7 - 5 500-Pound, Cold War-Era Bomb Found in Gaston County

Here's an interesting story out of Gaston County, about a Vietnam War-era bomb found in a creek bed in Ranlo. Some guys were searching for scrap metal and came across the six-foot long, 500-pound device. They called the police, who called the requisite bomb squads, and which included demolition experts from Fort Bragg. The device has been removed. This WSCO-TV story has photos and aerial footage, while this Gaston Gazette story has some interesting history behind the find.

WSCO-TV image

Some of the town's long-time residents recall that a Nike missile plant was located near the wooded area in the 1950s. The plant, they recall, produced outer cases for the missiles. Two such casings were found in the same area in 1986 by another resident. He reported his find, but "they acted like it was no big deal." (The creek bomb looks more like fixed-wing ordnance, than something inside a missile, what do you think?) Anyway, the Gazette story tells more of that interesting history.

Project Nike, as many of you may know, was a Cold War initiative that established missile launchers in protective rings around a number of locations including several major cities. Here's one of the sites that encircled Baltimore, and that has been visited by Yours Truly. (Need to dig out those film prints some time, though one of which is included in the prior link.)

Next question, what are some of the former military sites around the Triangle? Be they operations, manufacturing, command-control, whatever? And not including National Guard sites. Here are a few that come to mind: Camp Butner, of course, in Granville County, Army air base Raleigh-Durham airport during WWII, Army air base at Raleigh Municipal Airport during WWII, aircraft plant and training field in Burlington during WWII, and some sort of top-secret communications facility in Chatham County. What are some others that others know about?

Also during World War II, we saw a small number of military aircraft crashes in and around Raleigh, the biggest being on May 9, 1944, when a B-17 bomber crashed into a wooded area in Garner. Two crew members were killed. Raleigh sent two trucks and 12 men to scene. Fire Chief W. R. Butts was one of the first officials to arrive on scene. Burning wreckage was scattered over area 600 yards long and 100 yards wide. Bombs and bullets exploded long after crash. Spectators were drawn to the scene were told to keep back for fear of further explosions.
Legeros - 10/22/11 - 09:34

There was a WW II era crash near Pine Level. It occurred on my mother’s family farm. A small, singe seater made a belly landing in one of their fields. Pilot walked away. Don’t knwo the exact date other than “during WW II” as my mother said.
DJ - 10/22/11 - 09:41

The more I think about it, DJ, the better the chances that there was probably an extensive military presence in central Carolina during WWII. Wonder how many sites persisted past the war, or were operated/created during, say, the Cold War?

Plane crashes and other accidents were probably not uncommon as well, such as the famous munitions truck explosion in Johnston County that killed 7 and injured over 100 in 1942, http://legeros.com/ralwake/photos/weblog..
Legeros - 10/22/11 - 09:59

Remember when Goldsboro was bombed with nukes.
The 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash refers to an accident that occurred near Goldsboro, North Carolina, on 24 January 1961 when a B-52 Stratofortress carrying two Mark 39 nuclear bombs broke up in mid-air, dropping its nuclear payload in the process. There is a bit of land the the feds bought up that supposedly is the remnants of one of the bombs they couldn’t dig up because of ground water. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1961_Goldsb..
Rick - 10/27/11 - 23:57

Thanks Rick. Here’s a blog posting about a retrospective that the Goldsboro Argus did, http://www.legeros.com/ralwake/photos/we..
Legeros - 10/28/11 - 07:52

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