Monday, February 15, 2010

The Day Mother Nature Crippled Strategic Air Command

On Monday (Labor Day) Sep. 1, 1952, at 6:42pm, a tornado ripped across Carswell AFB. In a few minutes, Mother Nature did what the Soviet Union never could - brought the Strategic Air Command to its knees.

The 7th and 11th Bomb Wing's fleet of B-36s were decimated, as was Convair's production flightline at their facility on the west side of the runway. 2/3 of SAC's fleet of B-36s was damaged that evening. 71 aircraft suffered damage.

A frantic effort was undertaken by the Air Force and Convair to repair the aircraft. Five weeks after the storm, 51 of the aircraft were back in service. The remaining airframes sustained enough damage that Convair's efforts to repair them took longer. Only one aircraft was damaged beyond repair - a testimony to the value of the B-36 at that time, the aircraft were so important that every effort was made to repair even the most seriously damages airframes.

All photos official USAF

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