What’s the Worry in Murray?

What’s the Worry in Murray?

     Updated 15 May 1998. URL is http://our.tentativetimes.net/opine/murray.html

Bluffton, Indiana

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Murray, Indiana: Land of the Shelled, Home of the Shocked

Murray Indiana. That’s M-U-R (Are you ready to fire?) R-A-Y (Why yes, I overrode the three safety devices,) D-U-C-C-K.credit

By The Rockets Red Glare

URRAY, Indiana,, is a jog up the road from Bluffton. The fine folks in Murray have had a flurry of excitement. Seems that living within the bombing-strafing practice pattern for the Air National Guard is not all beer and skittles. We hasten to reassure you that the child’s bed splintered by a three-inch shell was unoccupied at the time. None of the other shell surprises landed on a propane tank, a vehicle or a cow. Part of the surprise is that this whole incident was not reported in the news for two weeks.

t first the authorities said yes, it was an F-16 that somehow overrode three safety switches and fired on Murray on February 29, 1996. But, hey, they were practice shells, not combat shells. No explosive charge, not to worry, Murray.

ext the story was that "no one can prove these three-inch, [some clearly labeled] shells are military. The plane would have fired 100 shells in one second, and there haven’t been 100 shells found, so it wasn’t us." Next news flash, as the days went by, alluded to making an effort to trace the shells, more of which keep turning up in Murray yards. The shells should have penetrated at least six inches, not so easy to spot with our snow.

he "air authorities" cheerfully told Sheriff Brooks Mounsey that there was noting criminal in the strafing of Murray. Wells County Detective Lt. Barry Story reported that the shells had to have been fired from north of Murray, from the air, from the angle of the damage.

ext: "the shells simply fell out of a wheelwell as a plane lowered its wheels to land." Uh huh… and went through a roof, a ceiling and hit a bed with enough force to splinter it? That just doesn’t quack like a duck.

Sometimes, Henny Penny, the sky really is falling.

ext news: an anonymous pilot has been suspended from flying for a while. Even later we read that Connie Grissell and Mrs. Arlen Johnson were hanging wallpaper that day in the Johnson home when it received damage.

n March 25, another casing was discovered in a yard farther north than where any had been found before that. We are all breathless and staying tuned.

t’s May now; the pilot has been named. Far be it from me to add to his misery. He was trying to serve his country, a thankless enough task. It may be your turn or mine to really screw up, next time.

his has been the strangest incident around here since we learned that cadmium was dumped from airplanes a bit north of us in cold war experiments. Hmmm, maybe that deserves a page some day.

ULY 4, 1996. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, in a thorough article by Ron Shawgo, brings us the results contained in a 300 page report of the Murray Incident. You can’t hurry Murray!

hat did you guess the final word would be? As I expected, it is "pilot error," although I had hoped it would be "equipment failure." Since it is considered just a mistake, there won’t be a court martial. There will be a Flying Evaluation Board.

he board might be the result of the pilot doing almost the same thing on March 1, although then he targeted one of his fellow pilots. He thought the cannon wasn’t loaded. (He had shot all the ammo earlier, but the gun was still technically considered *hot.*) He didn’t shoot, as far as I can tell from the newspaper.

he paper reports that the Guard feels the pilot "misunderstood…critical instructions." The pilot has 17 years experience. The newspaper said he is not answering phone calls.

eptember 1996: News reports say the pilot has asked to be transferred to ground duty, voluntarily. This transfer will probably negate the need for a military review for him.

Question Authority.

emember the cadmium experiments performed on Fort Wayne, just up the road from Bluffton. It seems that government airplanes used to spray cadmium on the unsuspecting populace there, "to see what would happen." Uh-huh. Right. Wonder if they still do stuff like that? Surprises from the skieses.

Sometimes, Henny Penny, the sky really is falling.

You could so easily bookmark this amazing story.

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This page written by Sandra Weinhardt. Send all additions and corrections to me at editor@tentativetimes.net

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