Maryland’s Nuclear Moment

first_imgIt was approximately 1:40 am on January 13, 1964, as the small town of Grantsville, Maryland hunkered down through a winter blizzard, that a B-52 armed with two thermonuclear bombs slammed into nearby Big Savage Mountain.The plane was one of at least a dozen U.S. bombers in the air at all times that flew directly toward Russian air targets before breaking off their routes as part of a Cold War initiative dubbed Operation Chrome Dome. The rationale for Chrome Dome was a simple, grim calculus. In the event of a first-strike nuclear attack by Russia, U.S. bombers would already be in a position to deliver a retaliatory strike as part of an unfolding Armageddon.The plane that hit Big Savage in the mountainous panhandle of western Maryland was returning from Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts to its home at Georgia’s Turner Air Force Base where it could resume its flying missions.The flight was given code name Buzz One Four, and its combined nuclear payload was 1,000 times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during WW II. Due to a known structural flaw, the vertical rear stabilizer snapped off the 156-foot-long bomber in the heavy turbulence accompanying the winter storm and sent it into an uncontrollable spin into the still largely unpopulated mountain region.Bill Richmond, 79, of nearby Lonaconing, Md., remembers hearing what was likely the ditching airplane approaching the mountain. “I was with our baby, about 1:30 or 1:45 in the morning. We had a newborn who was born that December and I was up with him. I heard the plane. It was unusual; it was a real cold night and snowing heavily, not good flying weather,” said Richmond. “And then by the next day, we knew about the crash.”Of the five-member crew, four ejected into a raging winter storm and were probably out of the bomber by the time Richmond recalls hearing it. Of the four, only two survived the sub-zero wind chill and three-foot drifting snows that awaited them when they parachuted into the jutting hills of the countryside.Major Thomas W. McCormick piloted the plane and was the first to emerge safely after navigating his way some two miles through deep snow to a still-standing farmhouse on State Route 40, just east of Grantsville.Co-pilot Captain Parker “Mack” Peedin, the only other survivor, was rescued several miles to the south of McCormick. Peedin took elements of his parachute and erected a makeshift tent. The tent had as its base an inverted life raft that provided life-saving air insulation between him and the snow.The remainder of the crew perished. Major Robert J. Townley, the radar bombardier, died upon impact at the crash site. His death, while tragic, proved mercifully quicker than those of Major Robert Payne and Sergeant Melvin Wooten, as they landed in the snow-blinded folds of the Appalachians that pass vertically through the state’s panhandle.Gerry Beachy of the Grantsville Community Museum, and a former mayor of the town, was 16 at the time of the crash and recalls the ensuing days vividly.Dozens of citizens that included Beachy were assembled to help locate the downed fliers or their bodies. “We formed a line on the hillside along with the military. The snow was still blanketing the trees,” said Beachy, 64. “We walked along, and if we saw something under the snow—a large rock or something—we’d check it out and make sure it wasn’t a flier.”“No one found anything that day. Wooten was over in Salisbury, and that’s who we were really looking for,” said Beachy. “McCormick came out first; Peedin came out the second day. At the crash site they found Townley,” said Beachy.Wooten was the first to evacuate the plane, based on his northernmost landing point. He set down in Salisbury, Pennsylvania, several miles north of Grantsville up Route 216, a small town along the banks of the Casselman River. Although he escaped the crashing bomber, Wooten was severely injured in the process, shattering his left thigh and gashing his head, chest, and hands. He was found on the embankment of the river, partially frozen by its waters.In December I walked along the Casselman in Salisbury. Fifty years removed from the incident, it remains a decidedly small place, but as I strode along its muddy banks to the spot where Wooten perished, houses that predated 1964 are achingly near at hand.Viewing Wooten’s small memorial, you’re also looking a half-mile east to the main of Salisbury. It’s not difficult to picture the injured sergeant seeing lights from the same, but tragically unable to know that the partially frozen river was between him and the town.Separate search efforts were underway that ultimately led to Payne. His parachute was spotted late on Monday and a small group of (by Beachy’s estimate) seven civilians assembled and dispatched into the thick forest in its direction.Payne had parachuted into the depths of New Germany State Park. “As he landed, part of his chute got stuck in a tree, and he cut himself free,” said Beachy. Payne was tragically unprepared for the elements, having dressed in his summer aviator’s suit prior to the hastily scheduled flight.“He walked about a half-mile to a grove of trees—perhaps looking for dry wood for a fire.”Payne managed to cross the stream several times while remaining dry. Ultimately his body succumbed to the extreme temperatures. He was found by searchers in a crouched position next to Poplar Lick Run, frozen in place. Temperature estimates range from 10 above to 10 below zero at the time of the crash.“If he’d gone 100 yards in another direction, he would have found a road, and he would have found a house. He might have survived,” said Beachy.As I walked through the New Germany State Park to where Payne was recovered, the forest is thick with river birch, black gum, red maple, and rhododendron. Even without standing snow, harrowing winds and nightfall, I’m able to—on a basic level—see the difficulty of traversing this area even in ideal conditions.Several of the search party that recovered Payne’s body fell into Poplar Lick in the effort. “They made a makeshift stretcher out of two saplings and a blanket and put him on it. They tried to keep him on the blanket,” said Beachy. “There were no roads or anything there—they just had to walk down through the woods, and they knew to walk toward Savage River Road.”Payne’s body kept falling off the stretcher, so they would stop frequently to place him back on and to warm themselves. “They almost died—if you consider the temperatures and conditions walking through the woods.”The military attempted to work their way back to the rescue group with road-clearing equipment, but due to the depth of the snow couldn’t get far from an impromptu base at Savage River Road.The citizens worked through it all, despite uncertainties about a nuclear payload that, if detonated, would have removed the entire region from the map in a cataclysmic nightmare. One night during the week following the crash, the Lutheran Church Women of St. John’s served 1,500 dinners of roasted chicken, baked ham, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn to rescue workers and the military. They repeated the effort the next night.The Air Force assured the civilians that there was no threat of detonation from the bombs. In the throes of a Cold War, however, military assurances could sometimes hew more closely to a manageable narrative than the untoward realities of a given situation.The 28th Ordnance Team was scrambled from Maryland’s Fort Meade to secure the bombs, and made its way west as the elements permitted. Ultimately, it was area residents who removed the two bombs directly from the crash site. Ray Giconi, who ran the local quarry, assembled a group of citizens and hoisted the nuclear payload onto two dump trucks that he owned.Showing the sensibilities innate to the residents of a region where nature still holds dominant sway, he stopped by a nearby state boy’s camp and lined the trucks with mattresses for good measure.last_img read more

Selig Goldin Award nominations sought

first_img Selig Goldin Award nominations sought The Bar’s Criminal Law Section is now accepting nominations for its Selig I. Goldin Memorial Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to Florida’s criminal justice system.The section will make its selection at the Bar’s Midyear Meeting in January, and present the award at the section’s luncheon during the Bar’s Annual Meeting in June.Nominations must be submitted by December 30, and include the name of the candidate, a description of his or her contribution to the criminal justice system, a biographical sketch or resume, and the candidate’s contact information.Nominations should be sent to H. Scott Fingerhut, H. Scott Fingerhut, P.A., 2400 South Dixie Highway, Second Fl., Miami 33133-3100 or e-mail to [email protected] December 1, 2005 Regular News Selig Goldin Award nominations soughtlast_img read more

Cameroon begin defence of Africa Cup of Nations crown with victory

first_imgCAMEROON began the defence of their Africa Cup of Nations crown with victory over Guinea-Bissau in Group F.Yaya Banana opened the scoring for the Indomitable Lions, heading low into the net from Karl Toko Ekambi’s cross.Stephane Bahoken capitalised on a defensive mix-up three minutes later to seal the points for Clarence Seedorf’s side.Cameroon’s tournament preparations were disrupted by a row over bonuses, with the Indomitable Lions squad staging a sit-in protest before departing for Egypt.The five-time winners started slowly in Ismailia but grew into the game, as the first half progressed, spurning several good opportunities to break the deadlock before the interval.Christian Bassogog twice failed to hit the target from good positions, while Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa side-footed wide from Bassogog’s pass.Full-back Joyskim Dawa Tchakonte and captain Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting both forced fine saves out of Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes, before quick-fire goals from Banana and Bahoken secured the win.Piqueti went closest for Guinea-Bissau, heading against the post from Nadjack’s delivery.Cameroon are next in action against fellow tournament favourites Ghana on Saturday (18:00hrs BST), while Guinea-Bissau take on Benin later that day (21:00hrs BST). (BBC Sport)last_img read more

Bolt Beaten by Gatlin in Final 100m Race

first_imgGatlin, double Olympic champion in Athens in 2004, had been booed every time he went to his blocks at these championships, his doping past making him the cartoon villain of a troubled sport.He was to have his revenge in spectacular style, standing tall and putting a furious finger to his lips as his win stunned the capacity crowd. That crowd took a little revenge of its own, chanting, “Usain Bolt! Usain Bolt!” as the result began to sink in.But this was a deserved victory in its execution if not its formation, a last hurrah for a man that many in the sport wished no longer had the chance to compete.After the race Gatlin said: “I tuned out the booing through the rounds and stayed the course. I did what I had to do. The people who love me are here cheering for me and cheering at home.“It is Bolt’s last race. It is an amazing occasion. We are rivals on the track but in the warm-down area, we joke and have a good time. The first thing he did was congratulate me and say that I didn’t deserve the boos. He is an inspiration.”On his part, Bolt remarked: “I tightened up at the end and that is something you should never do. I didn’t execute when it mattered. I am not fully comfortable in those blocks but you have to work with what you have. I can’t complain about that.“He (Gatlin) is a great competitor. You have to be at your best against him. I really appreciate competing against him and he is a good person.”Gatlin last won a major individual title in 2005 and had only beaten Bolt once before.The BBC’s Mike Costello opined: “This will be really difficult for the sport. Russia has been expelled indefinitely from the sport, but Gatlin has been banned twice and here he is winning gold in the most precious event in the sport. The crowd perhaps ought to be booing the IAAF rather than the athletes.”Four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson also had his say: “I thought Bolt would be challenged by Coleman not by Gatlin. Bolt was under pressure. He has never really had a great start. He wasn’t able to close the gap.“He is grimacing and that is something we have not seen before. You will not find that look in all the archives of Usain Bolt.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Justin Gatlin tore up Usain Bolt’s farewell script as he stole world 100m gold with the run of his long and controversial career. Bolt was left with only a bronze in his final individual 100m race as 21-year-old Christian Coleman made it a USA one-two.The 35-year-old Gatlin, twice banned for doping, came through almost unnoticed in lane seven in 9.92 seconds, with Coleman’s 9.94 holding off the greatest sprinter of all time.Despite struggling for fitness and form in his valedictory season, Bolt had still been favourite to secure his 20th global gold.It was supposed to be Gatlin’s year in 2015, when the American went to the World Championships in Beijing on the back of a 28-race unbeaten run. Bolt produced his great miracle to beat him that night in the Bird’s Nest, but in the stadium where he won 100m Olympic gold in 2012, he could not provide the perfect ending to a perfect career.last_img read more

Tall South faces speedy north five

first_imgWill you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Philippine Army to acquire MANPADS, self-propelled howitzers Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra LATEST STORIES MOST READ Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California collegecenter_img In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next This year’s PBA All-Star Game will be size versus speed as the quick and athletic North team clashes with the towering South squad on March 31 in Calasiao, Pangasinan.Joining forces anew are Cebuano giants June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter, who will be teaming up with James Yap, Scottie Thompson and Mark Barroca for the South.ADVERTISEMENT Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Antidope seminar for sea members Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title The North All-Stars, meanwhile, will bank on star guards LA Tenorio and Paul Lee and ferocious forward Calvin Abueva.Completing the starters for the North are sweet-shooting Marcio Lassiter and high-leaping big man Japeth Aguilar.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsThe PBA announced the starting lineups on Tuesday after a month of fan voting.The league decided to return to the old format where the festivities will be held in one venue, rather than one game each in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. View commentslast_img read more

Tourism Sector Resilience Being Strengthened Against Natural Disasters

first_img “It (the Programme) incorporates more of a proactive approach that aims to improve sector-wide management of disasters, such as tropical storms, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, fires as well as health threats. So, the programme is to improve the overall capacity of the sector to coordinate and communicate during emergencies,” Mr. Chin informs. The Ministry of Tourism stands committed to safeguarding the natural resources, infrastructure and the sector stakeholders that continue to drive economic growth and prosperity. Story Highlights The Programme, which is implemented through the Tourism Emergency Management Committee (TEMC), is focused on developing comprehensive disaster-risk-reduction strategies for the sector. The Ministry of Tourism stands committed to safeguarding the natural resources, infrastructure and the sector stakeholders that continue to drive economic growth and prosperity.This is being done through the Climate Change and Multi-Hazard Contingency Programme, aimed primarily at strengthening the resilience of the tourism sector against the various natural disasters and emergencies that may disrupt industry operations.The Programme, which is implemented through the Tourism Emergency Management Committee (TEMC), is focused on developing comprehensive disaster-risk-reduction strategies for the sector.Director for Tourism Facilitation in the Policy and Monitoring Division of the Ministry, Osbourne Chin, tells JIS News that the Programme integrates disaster-risk management and climate-change considerations into tourism planning, policies and initiatives.“It (the Programme) incorporates more of a proactive approach that aims to improve sector-wide management of disasters, such as tropical storms, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, fires as well as health threats. So, the programme is to improve the overall capacity of the sector to coordinate and communicate during emergencies,” Mr. Chin informs.He further explains that the TEMC is tasked with “building a resilient tourism industry with the ability to ‘bounce back’ quickly and coordinate effectively in the event of an emergency, so as to substantially reduce loss of life and damage to economic, social, physical and environmental assets caused by natural and human-induced hazards and disasters”.The Committee is a collaborative, public-private partnership involving the Ministry of Tourism and its agencies, the wider tourism industry, disaster management agencies, and other key stakeholders.Tourism entities include accommodation and attractions, such as the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), the Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments and the Association of Jamaican Attractions.Other key partners are local parish councils; parish disaster committees; the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM); first responders, such as the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Jamaica Constabulary Force (land and marine), the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Jamaica Red Cross; transportation partners, the airports and seaports, Port Authority of Jamaica, the craft markets and other groups involved in tourism.“We try to facilitate partnerships among tourism entities to respond more quickly and effectively on the ground. We also try to encourage the development of disaster plans among our stakeholders; so the whole idea is to help the sector to effectively prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. We have to provide an organised approach to reduce damage and losses, to save lives and prevent injuries, and protect property and the environment,” Mr. Chin points out.Highlighting the work of the Committee, the Director notes that through the collaboration of the various stakeholders, comprehensive development plans and work programmes are crafted to guide the tourism sector and key players in mainstreaming disaster-risk management and climate change.“So, what we try to do is keep abreast of the different hazards via the relevant agencies and media, and we advise and prioritise the various threats and hazards. We also make recommendations for different strategies and actions, such as assessments relating to hazards, risks and vulnerability,” he says.“We also monitor the decisions that are made at the national level by the Prime Minister or through the National Disaster Committee, as well as ODPEM, and establish and maintain a communication network with different partners in the communication sector,” Mr. Chin adds.He tells JIS News that the Committee promotes the development of emergency plans and cluster emergency groups, and encourages the different disaster entities to work with the various hoteliers and tourism interests to prepare their disaster and emergency plans.“We also implement various training and capacity-building programmes before the start of the hurricane season and throughout the year,” he outlines.A key role of the Committee is to facilitate the Tourism Emergency Operations Centre (TEOC), which serves as the primary emergency point in charge of coordinating the tourism sector’s response during emergencies and disasters.The TEOC is the tourism sector’s coordination centre for emergency services during any major emergency affecting the sector and, by extension, the entire island. This is activated once there is major emergency or disaster affecting the sector and when the National Emergency Operations Centre is activated.The Committee currently has two centres, one at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston and the other at Altamont West Hotel in Montego Bay.The TEOC is organised to serve as an effective communication centre and information clearinghouse, a place to resolve confusion and conflicts, and an authoritative source of information and decisions. It provides adequate communication facilities, working areas, resource data files and other necessary operation requirements.During the response phase of an event, the TEOC operates a communications/ press centre which maintains constant communication with Jamaica Tourist Board offices and personnel in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe as well as the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).last_img read more