Governments don’t like to lose things…especially nuclear weapons. In fact, several movies have made that have depicted just how it might be done, and what the consequences might be if the thieves were successful. Of course, nothing could be more strange than to have it actually happen. In reality, it did happen…on March 10, 1956. It was on of the strangest mysteries in the United States. The B47 Stratojet took off from MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, on a non-stop flight bound for Ben Guerir Air Base, Morocco. The plane had completed the first aerial refueling without incident.
As the plane was beginning it’s second refueling attempt, it was descending into a cloud. In one of the strangest mysteries in United States government history, contact was lost with the plane in the cloud. No debris, crew, or missiles were ever located. After descending through solid cloud to begin the second refueling, at 14,000 feet, B-47E serial number 52-534, failed to make contact with its tanker. The unarmed aircraft was carrying two capsules of nuclear weapons material in carrying cases. Losing a bomber carrying nuclear weapons, could be catastrophic, but the nukes were never a threat to start a nuclear war. There are plenty of safety precautions to avoid such issues when a plane is going down. Also notable is the fact that in 1956, there were no hackers who could take over a weapon from the inside. The United States government has lost a total of 11 nukes, and two of them still remain the biggest mystery are from this flight.
Despite an extensive search, no debris were ever found, and the crash site has never been located. The crew, who has been declared dead are Captain Robert H. Hodgin, 31, the aircraft commander; Captain Gordon M. Insley, 32, observer; 2nd It. Ronald L. Kurtz, 22, pilot. The plane’s last known position was over or near the Mediterranean Sea, southeast of Port Say, an Algerian coastal village near the Moroccan frontier. A French news agency reported that the plane may have exploded in flight near Sebatna in eastern French Morocco, but that seems unlikely, since no debris was ever found. It certainly makes you wonder what happened.