To answer the question if our government is responsible enough to handle nuclear weapons, the answer is no. The answer is no because of a multitude of
factors. Given, most nuclear incidents (Broken Arrows/Bent Spears) happen when the bomb or bombs in question are involved in an accident while in
transit. One good case of this is of the missing nuclear bomb from Barksdale Air Force Base. I mean, how can something like that just disappear? Some
cases that come to my mind are of the bombs that were either destroyed in an accident or were never found.
I also noticed a few good cases that are not on this list that should be.
I found the following two cases while browsing through Global Security's Website
February 5, 1958/B-47/Savannah River, Georgia:
The B-47 was on a simulated combat mission that originated at Homestead AFB, Florida. While near Savannah, Georgia, the B-47 had a mid-air collision
with a F-86 aircraft at 3:30 a.m. Following the collision, the B-47 made three attempts to land at Hunter AFB, Georgia, with a weapon aboard. Because
of the condition of the aircraft, its airspeed could not be reduced enough to insure a safe landing. Therefore, the decision was made to jettison the
weapon rather than expose Hunter AFB to the possibility of a high explosive detonation. A nuclear detonation was not possible since the nuclear
capsule was not aboard the aircraft. The weapon was jettisoned into the water several miles from the mouth of the Savannah River (Georgia) in Wassaw
Sound off Tybee Beach. The precise weapon impact point is unknown. The weapon was dropped from an altitude of approximately 7,200 feet at an aircraft
speed of 180-190 knots. No detonation occurred. After jettison the B-47 landed safely. A three square mile area was searched using a ship with divers
and underwater demolition team technicians using Galvanic drag and handheld sonar devices. The weapon was not found. The search was terminated April
16, 1958. The weapon was considered to be irretrievably lost.
October 15, 1959 /B-S2/KC-135/ Hardinsberg, Kentucky:
The B-52 departed Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi at 2:30 p.m. CST, October 15, 1959. This aircraft assumed the #2 position in a flight of two.
The KC-135 departed Columbus Air Force Base at 5:33 p.m. CST as the #2 tanker aircraft in a flight of two scheduled to refuel the B-52s. Rendezvous
for refueling was accomplished in the vicinity of Hardinsberg, Kentucky, at 32,000 feet. It was night, weather was clear, and there was no turbulence.
Shortly after the B-52 began refueling from the KC-135, the two aircraft collided. The instructor pilot and pilot of the B-52 ejected, followed by the
electronic warfare officer and the radar navigator. The co-pilot, navigator, instructor navigator, and tail gunner failed to leave the B-52. All four
crewmembers in the KC-135 were fatally injured. The B-52's two unarmed nuclear weapons were recovered intact. One had been partially burned but this
did not result in the dispersion of any nuclear material or other contamination.
Going back to the case in Savannah, Georgia. Since 1958, people who lived in Savannah at the time of this accident have lived in fear that one day the
bomb might detonate. The reason why the United States government called off the search was because "The weapon was considered to be irretrievably
January 21, 1968, Thule, Greenland
Four nuclear bombs were destroyed in a fire after the B-52 bomber carrying them crashed approximately seven miles southwest of the runway at Thule Air
Force Base in Greenland. The B-52, from Plattsburgh Air Force Base in New York, crashed after a fire broke out in the navigator's compartment. The
pilot was en route to Thule AFB to attempt an emergency landing. Upon impact with the ground, the plane burst into flames, igniting the high explosive
outer coverings of at least one of the bombs. The explosive then detonated, scattering plutonium and other radioactive materials over an area about
300 yards on either side of the plane's path, much of it in "cigarette box-sized" pieces.
The bomber had been flying the Arctic Circle route as part of the Strategic Air Command's continuous airborne alert operation, code-name "Chrome
Dome." One crew member was killed in the crash.
The government of Denmark, which owns Greenland and prohibits nuclear weapons on or over its territory, issued a strong protest following large
demonstrations in that country. A few days after the crash, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered the removal of nuclear weapons from
airborne alert. The alerts themselves were later curtailed and then suspended altogether.