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CHAPTER 172:
Rocket In Their Pocket

Cumberland, Maryland, Chapter 172 made a media splash in January when a chapter member working as a volunteer in the chapter’s museum thought a Mark I rocket that had been on display there for several years was live, and called the bomb squad. The next day a phalanx of security personnel (from the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office, an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, the FBI, the Cumberland Police and Fire Departments, and the Maryland State Police) descended on the museum to investigate.

The bomb squad “went to the museum, examined the rocket and found it was live,” WJLA-TV News in Washington, D.C. reported. “Technicians removed the rocket and rendered it safe.” A Cumberland Times-News headline exclaimed: “Live Rocket Detonated”

Not quite true. What actually happened was that, after carting off the rocket, a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team dismantled it and found that the rocket was inert. The next day’s Times-News headline sighed, “Rocket is Safe.”

The story “went nationwide that [a live rocket had] been detonated, but there was nothing to detonate,” said Chapter President Roger Krueger. “We have no bombs or live ammunition here in our museum,” he said, noting that the chapter has procedures in place to make sure that every item in the museum is safe. “Everything here is made to touch, hold, and feel,” Krueger said.

After the Army returned the rocket, things returned to normal.

 

 

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