On February 24, 1945, Sheriff Warren Hyde of Box Elder County in Utah chased down a Japanese balloon bomb that then took him on a wild ride.
He grabbed hold and rode the balloon for almost an hour as it dragged him through barbed wire and reached heights of 30 ft before he was able to tie it down. He was honored for his efforts during a secret ceremony at which he was sworn to keep silent about the incident because the government was censoring information about Japanese attacks on U.S. soil. Hyde was finally able to talk about his ride on the “Balloon of Death” after the war when details of the Japanese program were released.
24 February 2023 at 15:16
Morale of story: don’t rocket it.
24 February 2023 at 17:21
I was 10 years old when this happened and lived in Box Elder county, Utah. I vaguely remember hearing about this event.
24 February 2023 at 18:13
We share the last name but not sure we are related, very interesting. I just photographed the Chinese Balloon that passed directly over my house and was shot down off NC or SC later the same day. Interesting that 2 balloons from 2 different countries years apart but in different parts of the country.
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24 February 2023 at 18:57
Very interesting story, Mario! While working for the USDA Forest Service in Missoula, Montana, I became interested in the birth of the Smokejumpers organization. As I recall, the Smokejumpers were formed in 1940. They were specifically intended to parachute into forest fires in the Pacific Northwest. I wondered then (between February 2003 and June 2011) if Japanese plans for using balloons—in the event of war with the United States—had anything to do with the birth of the Smokejumpers. The only “research” I did on the birth of the Smokejumpers was done while employed by the USDA Forest Service. Forest Service records, as I recall, indicate that a district ranger somewhere in the Pacific Northwest came up with the idea for aerial firefighters. Someday I’d love to do more digging into these Japanese balloons. I thought of this within the past couple of weeks when Chinese balloons were seen flying over the United States.
As an aside, earlier this week, while looking through documents I scanned at Archives II in College Park, MD in June 2015, I found a 2-page CNO dispatch to CinCPac. This is dated 8 December 1941. It is CNO 090139. Dispatch relates to modification of WPL-46 (Navy Basic War Plan, Rainbow No. 5). One sentence in the first paragraph reads: “Add subparagraph D Naval Defense Forces Wake which may be reassigned to Naval Coastal Frontier if desired.” (This is the last sentence from the first paragraph of this 2-page dispatch.) I read this to imply that once Japan had initiated war on the United States, the Navy Department no longer considered it necessary to base Marines (and probably civilian construction workers) on Wake Island. Less than two days after Pearl Harbor, it would have been O.K. to have evacuated Wake Island.
Still working towards getting Deb’s and my first Pearl Harbor book written. I plan to have the first MS finished by the end of this year, as I turn seventy-five next month.
Thank you, Mario, for all the work you and your family put into Station HYPO!
P.O. Box 166
Maunaloa, Hawaii 96770
24 February 2023 at 19:15
I think that’s amazing. So now we have a stupid President that didn’t shoot down a Chinese balloon right away. I ask God all the time, are our politicians even going to wake up. BTW I’m an old lady.