Stolen from Peter Yeschenko

We’ve all heard much about the Chinese Balloon in the last few days. Not the first time balloons have been used against us.



Warren Hyde never served in the military, but his extraordinary effort in a remote part of Box Elder County, Utah, one day provided key intelligence in stopping a widespread Japanese attack on American soil during World War II.

On this day, 4 February 1945, Hyde, the county sheriff, received a call from Floyd Stohl, a rancher in the Blue Creek area.

While heading out to do his morning chores, Stohl spotted a strange-looking contraption that looked like a parachute floating in the air in one of his pastures.

When Stohl described the object to Sheriff Hyde, it immediately rang a bell in the sheriff’s head.

Sheriff Hyde jumped in his vehicle and raced to the ranch.

When he saw the object, he knew what he was dealing with…a weapon known as a Japanese “Fu-Go” bomb.

Between 1944 and 1945, the Japanese military launched an estimated 9,000 bomb-rigged balloons across the Pacific Ocean.

Carried by wind currents, the balloon bombs traveled thousands of miles to western US shores.

Hundreds were discovered up and down the west coast, and even as far inland as Indiana and Texas.

One killed six people in Oregon.

The bombs weren’t just aimed at killing people, but also at starting forest fires, something they never achieved, thanks in part to Sheriff Hyde and his wild ride.

On that February morning, Sheriff Hyde sprang into action.

He drove his car to the pasture as far as he could, then ran across the field, chasing the balloon as the wind carried it along.

When he finally caught up to it, he saw the bomb dangling below the balloon and knew he would have to be careful.

If he touched it, or if it touched the ground, it would detonate.

Sheriff Hyde grabbed one of the shroud lines, and when the wind picked up, it carried the balloon into the air…along with the sheriff, as high as 30 feet in the air.

He was eventually able to anchor it when it came back to the ground, and soon after, FBI agents and military personnel arrived to detonate the bomb and take the balloon away.

It was the first Fu-Go device to be captured fully intact, and the information it provided would lead to the end of the program.

Harrowing balloon ride aside, Sheriff Warren Hyde was a legendary figure in the Box Elder County, Utah community.

In June 1945, four months after his airborne adventure, Sheriff Hyde was summoned to the Utah State Capitol, where he was honored in a packed governor’s boardroom full of military officers, civilian defense leaders, state executives and others who had come to pay tribute to his efforts.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote him a personal letter of thanks.


3 thoughts on “Balloons

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