“Aircraft 53-1876A Has Lost A Device”


After the bomb destroyed what was, really, their dream house, the Greggs gave up country living and moved to Florence, where they now live in a neat brick bungalow. The Air Force prohibited the crew from discussing the incident with the press while they remained on active duty, but members of the aircrew did travel to Florence individually to pay their respects to the Greggs. Mars Bluff seemed to have little, if any, negative effects on the crew members’ careers. Captain Koehler remained in the Air Force for 12 more years and retired as a lieutenant colonel; Captain Woodruff left for civilian life in 1959; Captain Kulka served 13 more years, retiring as a major; and Sergeant Screptock stayed on until 1982, retiring at the highest noncommissioned rank. In 1997 the Greggs sold the four-acre plot upon which their house had been built and where the bomb crater was located (they retain the rest of the adjacent land). The new owners are developing the parcel into a community of modular houses known as Francis Marion Forest. The crater, not greatly diminished, remains and can be seen about a hundred feet off Lucius Circle, at the one o’clock position as you enter the circle from the county road. In the late summer the crater is almost dry, but after the winter rains it fills within a foot or two of the top, a large but benign memento of the Cold War and a day when the press could actually underwhelm a subject.