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I spend a lot of my time in bars. Not as much as I used to, but I still enjoy having a cold one downtown. Something about it is just nice. It’s got to be the atmosphere, right? I mean, let’s face it, you can see some shit at a bar that you can’t really see anywhere else. Of all the things I’ve seen at a bar, I don’t think any come close to being as crazy as what the customers at one watering hole in Maryland saw on Thursday, August 29.
I imagine that everyone at Darlene’s Tavern in the small, eastern shore town of Sudlersville was expecting that night to be a fairly quiet one. After all, rural Queen Anne’s County isn’t exactly a hub of exciting nightlife. However, around 9:00pm, something happened that you could definitely say shook up the place.
A patron at Darlene’s Tavern reported as being “in the middle of a soybean field,” ran inside and informed the owner that he thought a car in the parking lot was on fire. Upon going outside, those at the scene saw a car “covered in dust and stones” with a 3-foot deep hole nearby. As you’d expect, the cops were called shortly thereafter.
After the authorities arrived, they saw fins sticking out the hole. What the hell has fins and the capability to knock a 3-foot deep hole in a parking lot? Well, the officers put two and two together and, under the assumption they had an explosive device on their hands, called the bomb squad.
The experts were able to positively ID the object as an aerial training bomb, more specifically, a BDU-33. The BDU-33 is used to simulate the use of a 500 lb. bomb. While the training model only weighs around 25 pounds, it’s still a decent size chunk of metal that fell from the sky. So the question is, what exactly happened?
Apparently, the training round was accidentally dropped by an A-10 Thunderbolt II of the Maryland Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Squadron. The A-10, for those of you who don’t know, is an incredibly awesome machine of death and destruction. Better known as the Warthog, it’s the undisputed king of close air support. As such, it, along with its pilots, are frequently required to conduct practice bombing and strafing runs. That’s what was going on that night.
The 104th had been conducting training at the Warren Grove Gunnery Range, located in the heart of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. An experienced “Hog driver,” as they’re colloquially referred to, noted that his instruments indicated that the BDU-33 failed to release over its target on the range. That’s never a good sign. After completing all the steps in the standard operating procedures for a release failure, the pilot was vectored back to his home base, Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Maryland, outside Baltimore.
Upon landing, the ground crew saw that the dummy bomb that had supposedly failed to release was no longer there. That, of course, meant that somewhere between returning to base and landing, the aircraft dropped the bomb. That, by the way, is definitely one of the bigger “oh shit” moments that can occur in the military aviation community.
Thankfully, nobody was hurt and the damage doesn’t seem too serious. It could’ve been much worse, especially had the bomb hit the bar. Obviously, the authorities had to keep the bomb for investigation purposes, but I really hope Darlene’s Tavern eventually gets to keep it. That’d be great to have framed above the bar. Definitely a conversation piece.
Patrons at the bar that night are currently planning on making shirts that say something to the tune of “I Got Bombed at Darlene’s.” At least they have a good attitude about it. Then again, they were at a bar in the middle of nowhere on a Thursday night.
Now, I originally found this story on the Huffington Post’s Weird News Section, and I have to say, as TFM News’ self-appointed Senior Military Correspondent, I’m pretty embarrassed for them. You see, the A-10 is one of the most recognizable aircraft out there. I’m sure some of you with no aviation or military background could identify one. After all, they’re pretty awesome. However, the good folks over at HuffPo used a picture of an F-4 for the cover photo of their write-up. Poor form, guys. Improper vehicle identification gets people killed.
Of course, they weren’t claiming it was an A-10 in the picture. The caption just said “An Aerial Bomb,” but come on. There are a veritable shit ton of pictures out there of the Hog releasing its deadly ordnance. If you’re going to have an article about a plane, it probably makes sense to use an actual picture of it, but hell, what do I know? You guys are supposed to be the professional journalists, right?
Honestly, it’s downright insulting to even compare the two aircraft. The F-4 was originally designed without a cannon. The A-10 was designed and built around the world’s most incredible machine gun ever created. Show some respect. Thank God they didn’t use a picture of an Apache. Then we’d have problems.
Image via PlanetSide-Universe