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Summary

Douglas Webster was a young pilot from Ohio, newly married and with 17 combat missions under his belt. On December 5, 1965 he strapped into an A-4 Skyhawk bomber for a routine weapons loading drill and simulated mission. After mishandling the maneuver, the plane and its pilot sunk to the bottom of the South China Sea, along with a live B43 one-megaton thermonuclear bomb. 

A cover-up mission began. The crew was ordered to stay quiet, rumors circulate of sabotage, a damaged weapon, and a troublesome pilot who needed "disposing of". The incident, a "Broken Arrow" in the parlance of the Pentagon, was kept under wraps until 25 years later. The details that emerged caused a diplomatic incident, revealing that the US had violated agreements not to bring nuclear weapons into Japan. Family members and the public only learned the truth when researchers discovered archived documents that disclosed the true location of the carrier, hundreds of miles closer to land than admitted. 

For the first time, through previously classified documents and the recollections of those who were there, the story of carrier aviation's only "Broken Arrow" is told in full.

©2019 Jim Winchester (P)2020 Tantor

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