Nuclear Missile Remnants Found in a Garage - The World News

Nuclear Missile Remnants Found in a Garage

Garages are often cluttered with dusty boxes of heirlooms, untouched gym equipment or a multitude of tools.

But how about a piece of a Cold War-era nuclear missile?

Members of the bomb squad in Bellevue, Wash., on Thursday were called to inspect parts of a military-grade missile in the garage of a resident.

Elements of the larger, intact missile, such as the warhead, were missing and the authorities deemed the piece to be inert and safe, the police said in a news release on Friday.

An Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, contacted the police in Bellevue on Jan. 31 to report that a resident had offered to donate the missile, which belonged to his late neighbor.

The resident had been put in charge of his neighbor’s estate, according to the Bellevue police, and said that his neighbor had originally purchased the missile from an estate sale.

The police were unable to contact any of the neighbor’s family, and did not identify the Bellevue man out of respect for his privacy, said Officer Seth Tyler, a Bellevue Police Department spokesman.

The next day, the man was “surprised” to hear from the police because he had not called them but invited the bomb squad to inspect the missile remnant, Officer Tyler said.

Squad members identified the rocket as a Douglas AIR-2 Genie missile, designed to carry a 1.5-kiloton nuclear warhead.

First put into operation in 1957, the Genie was the world’s first nuclear-armed rocket designed to destroy aircraft targets, and was the most powerful interceptor missile deployed by the U.S. Air Force, according to Boeing.

In 1954, Douglas Aircraft began work on “a small unguided nuclear-armed air-to-air missile,” according to Boeing. Douglas Aircraft built more than 1,000 Genie rockets before discontinuing production in 1962.

It was clear that the missile remnant did not pose a threat given that it was missing its warhead and did not contain rocket fuel, Officer Tyler said.

“It was essentially just a rusted piece of metal at that point,” he said. “An artifact, in other words.”

Because the military did not request it back, the police left it with the man to donate.

It was not immediately clear whether the missile remnant would be destined for the museum in Ohio, and efforts to reach the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Given Bellevue’s proximity to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a large military base, Officer Tyler said it was not unusual for the police to respond to calls about hand grenades or other unexploded ordnance.

But a missile from the Cold War would be a first, said Officer Tyler, who has worked for the department for 18 years. The department also seemed to believe it would be the last, referring to Elton John’s classic song “Rocket Man” in a social media post.

“And we think it’s gonna be a long, long time before we get another call like this again,” the Bellevue police said.

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