A pair of sealed shipping containers recently donated to the Texas-based Commemorative Air Force were cracked open in a ceremony in Dallas this week and found to contain some high-tech WWII bomb sights.
Salvaged from an Oklahoma scrap yard in 1962, Dale Berrand used the two sealed drums to hold up a shelf in his barn work shop. Thinking the “mystery canisters” similar to those used to ship sensitive avionics parts in the World War II era, and recalling that a third can that had been opened back during the Kennedy Administration held an old bombsight, Dale reached out to the CAF and handed them over to see if they could use them.
In a ceremony at Dallas Executive Airport on Monday with former B-17 Flying Fortress pilot John “Lucky” Luckadoo on hand, the containers were indeed found to contain a pristine set of late model M9B Norden bombsights, an early electro-mechanical computer that was top-secret during the war and considered so important that thermite grenades were attached to them so as to burn the unit to a clump of metal if the plane was lost behind enemy lines.
“We know that this is the type of container that contained aircraft parts so we knew that we were going to pull something interesting out of these containers,” said CAF Curator Keegan Chetwynd.
The group plans to display the sights in their upcoming shows and events.
The full 30-minute event as captured by CAF (it was windy) is below