Texas environmental authorities recently signed off that the Air Force has successfully completed efforts to remove uranium and lead contaminants from the site of a Cold War-era B-47 bomber crash near Dyess AFB, Tex. “The site cleanup was a proactive, precautionary measure taken to provide for any potential future use of the land,” said Judy Overbey, restoration manager for Dyess’ 7th Civil Engineering Squadron, in the base’s Dec. 12 release. “The amount of contaminants found in the soil at the site was extremely low in most places,” she added. Atomic Energy Commission and base responders removed the majority of contaminants quickly after the B-47, which was carrying one nuclear bomb, caught fire on takeoff and crashed on Nov. 4, 1958, according to the release. There was no nuclear detonation, but conventional explosives within the device scattered lead and uranium elements, some of which were left until final restoration efforts began in 2010. Texas’ environmental agency issued a closure letter on Nov. 1, certifying the site’s suitability for agriculture and residential use, states the release. (Dyess report by A1C Charles Rivezzo) (See also Of Bent Spears and Broken Arrows from Air Force Magazine’s archives.)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.