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Command Post

A military blog by Howard Altman

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MacDill No Stranger To Vanishing Aircraft


Published:   |   Updated: March 15, 2014 at 10:39 PM

Pretty much everyone I know, including folks who make a living using the most high-tech tools to find things, is gripped by the story of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared a week ago.

It’s a mystery. An enigma. A swirling vortex of bad info and raging conspiracy theories.

But MacDill Air Force Base is no stranger to a vanishing aircraft.

On March 10, 1956, a B-47 Stratojet, carrying two nuclear capsules in carrying cases, went missing on a flight to the Mediterranean, never to be seen again.

That B-47 and three others took off from MacDill and everything was normal through their first midair refueling. But at the second gas-up, somewhere over the Mediterranean, trouble set in, according to a Department of Defense report on nuclear mishaps. The jet flew into a cloud bank, according to the report, and visibility was poor. The base of the cloud bank was 14,500 and the jet was supposed to link up with the tanker at 14,000 feet.

It never made it.

“An extensive search failed to locate any traces of the missing aircraft or crew,” the report states. “No weapons were aboard the aircraft, only two capsules of nuclear weapons material in carrying cases. A nuclear detonation was not possible.”

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