LT-RT-TEXAS INST EMP, A1C KOLBE, CAPT DAVID FRASER,
1Lt NEIL McCUTCHAN & TEXAS INST EMP
We flew one of our helicopters to Hattisburg from MacDill. We would hover over a spot for quite a while. If I remember right the package was designed by Texas Instruments. Their techs would fly with us to take measurements.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF NEIL McCUTCHAN/CLICK TO ENLARGE
Lt-Rt UNK, Lawrence Hubertus, Robert Singel, Dick Kuenzli
Above Photos Courtesy of Dick Kuenzli
The CLUI Land Use Database
Site Name: Salmon and Sterling Nuclear Test Sites
CLUI LUDB#: MS3126
Category: Nuclear / Radioactive
Description: Two nuclear detonations performed in a subterranean salt dome formation in Mississippi, as part of a 1960's Atomic Energy Commission Test. The test program, called Project Dribble, called for creating an underground cavity, using a nuclear bomb to do so, then later detonating a second nuclear device, as well as two gas explosives, inside the cavity. The purpose of the test was to measure the patterns of the shock waves generated by the explosions, to be better able to detect and calculate yields of similar underground tests that might be performed by the USSR. The first detonation, to form the cavity, code-named Salmon, took place in 1964 using a 5.3 kiloton bomb, placed at the bottom of a sealed 2,710 foot shaft. The second nuclear blast, a relatively small 0.38 kilotons yield shot code-named Sterling, was exploded within Salmon's 110 foot diameter cavity more than two years later. The two conventional explosives shots were performed in 1969 and 1970.
Location: 28 miles SW of Hattiesburg, four miles NE of Baxterville
Web Links: http://www.lm.doe.gov/land/sites/ms/salmon/salmon2.htm & http://clui.org/ludb/site/salmon-and-sterling-nuclear-test-sites
Taking a H-19 helicopter from Wright-Patterson AFB, SSgt Bob Singel and I along with two pilots and I can’t remember their names were sent TDY to Mississippi. It was highly classified and they didn’t let us know until we got there what we would be doing. As it turned out we were involved in the testing of an A-bomb blast down in the earth where there was a large concentration of salt. The theory was they could use one tenth of an A-bomb down there and the heat and explosion would create a chamber made of salt that could be used to store fuel.
What they actually stored down there is anybody’s guess, remember this was 1964 time period and they didn’t tell much back then. Well it was supposed to last three days and those three days turned out to be forty days if I remember correctly. If it wasn’t something wrong with the technical side of it, it was weather related. Our mission was to keep people out of the area around ground zero.
There were H-19s, H-21s and H-43s involved in this mission, each assigned an area to keep cleared. The day they actually fired the damn thing I was on the ground. Singel and I took turns on missions, he was up and I was down.
They had a place where we kept the birds about 15 miles away from ground zero. That’s where I was when it came over the loud speaker that it was going to be a go. They said we should bend our knees because this was going to be a large shock. I thought yeah right, well let me tell you it was like jumping out of a H-19 about 20 feet in the air and landing on a concrete runway and then bouncing for about 20 seconds. Man did that hurt and my knees are still paying for not listening to what they said.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (Dick Kuenzli)