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Bly in Klamath County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

Balloon Bomb

Oregon History

 
 
Balloon Bomb Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, June 26, 2012
1. Balloon Bomb Marker
Inscription. Very near here, on a warm spring day in 1945, six people-a woman and five children-were killed by a Japanese "balloon bomb," or Fugo. The party had arrived for a picnic when they discovered the deflated balloon. While they gathered around the strange device, it exploded. These were the only known civilian causalities of the World War II within the continental US.

The bombs were launched 6,000 miles away in Japan and deployed in retaliation of US bombing raids on Japanese soil. The Japanese military hoped that squadrons of these Fugo would ignite fires, creating terror and panic. Despite the success of the devices in reaching North America (nearly 10,0000 were launched, and at least 300 made it across the Pacific), the mission was ultimately deemed a failure.

Few bombs did any real damage, and most detonated over remote areas. The US government ordered media to keep silent about the balloon bombs, and with no news of the weapons' arrival, Japan abandoned the attack.

Fugo balloons were made of glue-laminated mulberry paper filled with hydrogen. At 33 feet in diameter, they carried up to 1,000 pounds of machinery, ballast and explosives. The balloon machinery was cleverly engineered. The device stayed aloft using an altimeter to trigger the release of ballast when the balloon sank below a critical elevation.
Balloon Bomb Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, June 26, 2012
2. Balloon Bomb Marker
Once all the ballast had been deployed, each fugo released its bombs, then self-destructed.

The Mitchell Recreation Area is named in honor of Elsie Mitchell, the local pastorís wife. The five children who died with her in the balloon bomb explosion were Richard Patzke, Joan Patzke, Edward Engen, Jay Gifford and Sherman Shoemaker.

The Mitchell Monument (which marks the site where the bomb exploded is located east of Bly. From Bly travel Highway 140 east to Campbell Road. Take a left on Campbell Road to Forest Service Road 34. The Mitchell Monument is located approximately ten miles east on Road 34.
 
Erected by Oregon Travel Experience.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Oregon Beaver Boards marker series.
 
Location. 42° 24.417′ N, 121° 2.928′ W. Marker is in Bly, Oregon, in Klamath County. Marker is on Klamath Falls-Lakeview Hwy (Oregon Route 140). Touch for map. Directions to Mitchell Monument: The Mitchell Monument (which marks the site where the bomb exploded) is located east of Bly. From Bly travel Highway 140 east to Campbell Road. Take a left on Campbell Road to Forest Service Road 34. The Mitchell Monument is located approximately ten miles east on Road 34. Marker is in this post office area: Klamath Falls OR 97601, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Balloon Bomb Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, June 26, 2012
3. Balloon Bomb Marker
At least 2 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mitchell Monument (approx. 9.8 miles away); Mitchell Monument Shrapnel Tree (approx. 9.8 miles away).
 
More about this marker. Marker is located in a small rest stop/wayside just before entering Bly.
 
Regarding Balloon Bomb. There was also a great movie called On Paper Wings documenting the history of the Balloon Bombs and the Japanese women behind the making of these bombs and the guilt that many of these women faced years later, after discovering that the bombs they helped to make indirectly caused the tragic loss of life on American soil.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .  Oregon Travel Experience - Balloon Bomb. (Submitted on January 12, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon.)
 
Categories. DisastersWar, World II
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 15, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 11, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 65 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 11, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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