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Series Part 2: Schroeder weapon was 12-kiloton nuclear bomb

F-86 from the 388th Fighter-Bomber Wing. Etain-Rouvres AB, France.
F-86 from the 388th Fighter-Bomber Wing. Etain-Rouvres AB, France.
Mission Confidential Pt. 2 (Download MP3)

FARGO (KFGO-AM) - When Darrol Schroeder soloed at the age of 16, he could never dream that one day, he would be among an elite group of U.S. Air Force pilots chosen for a top-secret nuclear mission in Europe. A NATO mission that was so secret, it didn't even have a name.

In the early 1950's, Schroeder was based at Etain-Rouvres Air Base in France and in Germany with the 388th Fighter-Bomber Wing. His top secret job was to fly his F-86 Sabre into Soviet territory and drop a nuclear bomb.

Schroeder says the relatively crude warhead was a tactical weapon designed to hit strategic, infrastructure-related targets. “It was a 12-kiloton nuclear bomb. It had a sphere of plutonium in it” Schroeder said.

Schroeder underwent extensive training and background checks before he obtained a "top secret" clearance for the mission. After decades of silence, he is sharing his story publicly for the first time with KFGO News.