Topic: United States/Military history - U.S. military history
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1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash
The 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash was an accident that occurred near Goldsboro, North Carolina, on 23 January 1961. A Boeing B-52 Stratofortress carrying two 3–4-megaton Mark 39 nuclear bombs broke up in mid-air, dropping its nuclear payload in the process. The pilot in command, Walter Scott Tulloch, ordered the crew to eject at 9,000 feet (2,700 m). Five crewmen successfully ejected or bailed out of the aircraft and landed safely, another ejected, but did not survive the landing, and two died in the crash. Information declassified in 2013 showed that one of the bombs came very close to detonating.
- "1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash" | 2016-12-16 | 10 Upvotes 3 Comments
The Calutron Girls
The Calutron Girls were a group of young women, mostly high school graduates who joined the World War II efforts in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in 1945.
Although they were not allowed to know at the time, they were monitoring dials and watching meters for a calutron, a mass spectrometer that separates uranium isotopes. The enriched uranium was used to make the first atomic bomb.
Calutron Girls were trained and employed at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Wartime labor shortages forced the Tennessee Eastman Corporation to hire women to work at the Y-12 plant.
According to Gladys Owens, one of the few Calutron Girls, a manager at the facility once told them: "We can train you how to do what is needed, but cannot tell you what you are doing. I can only tell you that if our enemies beat us to it, God have mercy on us!"
Echelon (signals intelligence)
ECHELON, originally a secret government code name, is a surveillance program (signals intelligence/SIGINT collection and analysis network) operated by the United States with the aid of four other signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, also known as the Five Eyes.
Created in the late 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War, the ECHELON project became formally established in 1971.
By the end of the 20th century, the system referred to as "ECHELON" had evolved beyond its military and diplomatic origins into "a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications" (mass surveillance and industrial espionage).
- "Echelon (signals intelligence)" | 2011-03-15 | 35 Upvotes 20 Comments
Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (née Murray December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first linkers. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, an early high-level programming language still in use today.
Prior to joining the Navy, Hopper earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University and was a professor of mathematics at Vassar College. Hopper attempted to enlist in the Navy during World War II but was rejected because she was 34 years old. She instead joined the Navy Reserves. Hopper began her computing career in 1944 when she worked on the Harvard Mark I team led by Howard H. Aiken. In 1949, she joined the Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation and was part of the team that developed the UNIVAC I computer. At Eckert–Mauchly she began developing the compiler. She believed that a programming language based on English was possible. Her compiler converted English terms into machine code understood by computers. By 1952, Hopper had finished her program linker (originally called a compiler), which was written for the A-0 System. During her wartime service, she co-authored three papers based on her work on the Harvard Mark 1.
In 1954, Eckert–Mauchly chose Hopper to lead their department for automatic programming, and she led the release of some of the first compiled languages like FLOW-MATIC. In 1959, she participated in the CODASYL consortium, which consulted Hopper to guide them in creating a machine-independent programming language. This led to the COBOL language, which was inspired by her idea of a language being based on English words. In 1966, she retired from the Naval Reserve, but in 1967 the Navy recalled her to active duty. She retired from the Navy in 1986 and found work as a consultant for the Digital Equipment Corporation, sharing her computing experiences.
The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper was named for her, as was the Cray XE6 "Hopper" supercomputer at NERSC. During her lifetime, Hopper was awarded 40 honorary degrees from universities across the world. A college at Yale University was renamed in her honor. In 1991, she received the National Medal of Technology. On November 22, 2016, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
- "Grace Hopper" | 2013-08-31 | 190 Upvotes 54 Comments
Project Longshot: 100 Year probe mission to Alpha Centauri
Project Longshot was a conceptual interstellar spacecraft design. It would have been an unmanned probe, intended to fly to and enter orbit around Alpha Centauri B powered by nuclear pulse propulsion.
- "Project Longshot: 100 Year probe mission to Alpha Centauri" | 2008-09-07 | 24 Upvotes 9 Comments
Project West Ford
Project West Ford (also known as Westford Needles and Project Needles) was a test carried out by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory on behalf of the United States Military in 1961 and 1963 to create an artificial ionosphere above the Earth. This was done to solve a major weakness that had been identified in US military communications.
- "Project West Ford" | 2018-09-29 | 148 Upvotes 7 Comments
- "Project West Ford" | 2016-03-26 | 51 Upvotes 7 Comments
Unit 731 (Japanese: 731部隊, Hepburn: Nana-san-ichi Butai), also referred to as Detachment 731, the 731 Regiment, Manshu Detachment 731, The Kamo Detachment, Ishii Unit, Ishii Detachment or the Ishii Company, was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) of World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Imperial Japan. Unit 731 was based at the Pingfang district of Harbin, the largest city in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (now Northeast China), and had active branch offices throughout China and Southeast Asia.
Its parent program was officially known as the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army (関東軍防疫給水部本部, Kantōgun Bōeki Kyūsuibu Honbu). Originally set up under the Kempeitai military police of the Empire of Japan, Unit 731 was taken over and commanded until the end of the war by General Shirō Ishii, a combat medic officer in the Kwantung Army. The facility itself was built in 1935 as a replacement for the Zhongma Fortress, and to expand the capabilities for Ishii and his team. The program received generous support from the Japanese government up to the end of the war in 1945.
Unit 731 and the other Units of the "Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department" were biological weapon production, testing, deployment and storage facilities. They routinely tested on human beings (who were referred to internally as "logs"). Additionally, the biological weapons were tested in the field on cities and towns in China. Estimates of those killed by Unit 731 and its related programs range up to half a million people.
The researchers involved in Unit 731 were secretly given immunity by the U.S. in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation. Other researchers that the Soviet forces managed to arrest first were tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949. The Americans did not try the researchers so that the information and experience gained in bio-weapons could be co-opted into the U.S. biological warfare program, much as they had done with German researchers in Operation Paperclip. On 6 May 1947, Douglas MacArthur, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, wrote to Washington that "additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii, can probably be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as 'War Crimes' evidence". Victim accounts were then largely ignored or dismissed in the West as communist propaganda.
- "Unit 731" | 2019-10-05 | 131 Upvotes 30 Comments
United States military and prostitution in South Korea
During and following the Korean War, the United States military used regulated prostitution services in South Korean military camptowns. Despite prostitution being illegal since 1948, women in South Korea were the fundamental source of sex services for the U.S. military as well as a component of American and Korean relations. The women in South Korea who served as prostitutes are known as kijichon (기지촌) women, also called as "Korean Military Comfort Women", and were visited by the U.S. military, Korean soldiers and Korean civilians. Kijich'on women were from Korea, Philippines, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, specifically Russia and Kazakhstan.
- "United States military and prostitution in South Korea" | 2021-01-19 | 76 Upvotes 28 Comments
112 Gripes About the French
112 Gripes About the French was a 1945 handbook issued by the United States military authorities to enlisted personnel arriving in France after the Liberation. It was meant to defuse the growing tension between the American military and the locals.
The euphoria of victory over Germany was short-lived, and within months of Liberation, tensions began to rise between the French and the U.S. military personnel stationed in the country, with the former seeing the latter as arrogant and wanting to flaunt their wealth, and the latter seeing the former as proud and resentful. Fights were breaking out more often, and fears were raised, even among high officials, that the situation might eventually lead to a breakdown of civil order.
Set out in a question-and-answer format, 112 Gripes about the French posed a series of well-rehearsed complaints about the French, and then provided a common-sense rejoinder to each of them — the aim of the authors being to bring the average American soldier to a fuller understanding of his hosts.
It has recently been republished in the United States (ISBN 1-4191-6512-7), and in France under the title "Nos amis les Français" ("Our friends the French"), ISBN 2-7491-0128-X.
- "112 Gripes About the French" | 2021-07-16 | 408 Upvotes 339 Comments
Starfish Prime, outer space nuclear test
Starfish Prime was a July 9, 1962, high-altitude nuclear test conducted by the United States, a joint effort of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Defense Atomic Support Agency. It was launched from Johnston Atoll and was the largest nuclear test conducted in outer space and one of five conducted by the US in space.
A Thor rocket carrying a W49 thermonuclear warhead (designed by Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory) and a Mk. 2 reentry vehicle was launched from Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, about 900 miles (1,450 km) west-southwest of Hawaii. The explosion took place at an altitude of 250 miles (400 km), above a point 19 miles (31 km) southwest of Johnston Atoll. It produced a yield equivalent to 1.4 megatonnes of TNT. The explosion was about 10° above the horizon as seen from Hawaii, at 11 PM Hawaii time.
- "Starfish Prime" | 2022-02-05 | 69 Upvotes 9 Comments
- "Starfish Prime, outer space nuclear test" | 2010-07-01 | 41 Upvotes 24 Comments