Santa Ana – StoryCorps
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The Man Who Disabled Two Hydrogen Bombs Dropped in North Carolina

On January 24, 1961, a U.S. B-52 bomber was flying over rural North Carolina when fuel started to leak, the plane snapped apart, and the two hydrogen bombs it was carrying fell into a tobacco field. If detonated, these 3.8-megaton weapons would have had an impact 250 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

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Lieutenant Jack ReVelle, a munitions expert who was 25 at the time, was the man called to the scene. His job was to make sure the bombs didn’t explode.

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He came to StoryCorps with his daughter, Karen, to remember those harrowing eight days.

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Top photo: Four of the “terrible ten” – from ReVelle’s team – observe the retrieval of the second bomb’s parachute pack from inside a hole they dug over the course of eight days. Photo courtesy of the United States Air Force.
Middle photo: The first hydrogen bomb in January 1961. Photo courtesy of the United States Air Force.
Middle photo: 24-year-old First Lieutenant Jack ReVelle in 1960, the year before the incident in North Carolina. ReVelle worked in Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). Photo courtesy of the United States Air Force.
Bottom photo: Jack ReVelle and Karen ReVelle at their StoryCorps interview in Santa Ana, CA. Photo by Kevin Oliver for StoryCorps.

Originally aired January 25, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

David Wynn and Carolyn Lyon

The scene could be a bleak one — a hospital room, a patient near death, and no family or loved ones present during their final moments. But David Wynn and Carolyn Lyon are determined to prevent the lonely from dying alone.

David and Carolyn are volunteers at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, where they sit at the bedside of dying patients. David has been doing these vigils since 2008; Carolyn began in 2011.

When they get a call from the hospital staff that someone is alone and nearing death, David and Carolyn rush to the hospital — even in the middle of the night — to sit by the side of a stranger.

Originally aired November 24, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.