The United States army has been trying to dispose of some of its stock of nerve gas.
AERIAL Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, with jet flying over and releasing nerve gas rockets
CU Dying sheep
SV Men wearing protective clothing unloading nerve gas rockets and placing them into dugout (3 shots)
CU Col. Frank Jones, Project Manager speaking
GV Rockets exploding
GV Armoured personnel carrier using long pick up arm collecting rockets and putting them onto truck
SV INT Television monitoring control room showing mechanical arm getting rid of rockets
CU Mechanical arm placing unexploded rocket into truck (3 shots)
CU Col. Jones speaking (his voice over shots of men getting into protective clothing)
TRANSCRIPT: BOURGHOLTZER: "Seven years ago, the army, which have been conducting nerve gas experiments here at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, admitted officially that some of its experiments had been responsible for the death of some several thousand sheep grazing in a nearby valley. One of the little publicised consequences of that admission in the uproar over the dead sheep was the stopping of another nerve gas programme for the demilitarisation of some 36,000 defective nerve gas rockets, called M-55's."
SEQ. 4: JONES: "Remember, these were live rockets and then they were burned this debris went up. It went out on the lip of the pit at both ends and on all sides."
BOURGHOLTZER: "What Colonel Jones means is that many of the rockets exploded. And when that happened, nerve gas was released into the atmosphere. Other rockets just split open so that the explosives and the nerve gas burned up and others remained more or less intact. Colonel Jones estimates 569 war heads, possibly containing nerve agent, remained in the debris. Now two highly sophisticated armoured personnel carriers, specially designed and built for this job, are combing through the debris to find those still deadly gas rockets."
BOURGHOLTZER: Television cameras on the machines are monitored in the control room and also permit the operator to examine bits of debris either on his monitor or directly through his armoured glass window. When he finds a rocket still containing nerve gas, he places that rocket in a special basket which will later be immersed in caustic soda to dissolve the warhead and neutralise the nerve gas. When five rockets are in that basket, the danger in this operation is maximum."
COLONEL JONES: "And that is ???ive partially disposed or demilititarised rockets could possibly detonate at one time. In that unlikely event, the maximum effects that we would get based on our computations to unprotected personnel in the area would be eh, the death would be within a quarter of a mile and symptomatic er, symptoms would occur after possibly one point four miles. Again I hasten, to add this is the maximum event. It is not likely event."
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Background: The United States army has been trying to dispose of some of its stock of nerve gas. Their first attempt was not completely successful and left a number of nerve gas containers active. NBC reporter, Frank Bourgholtzer, takes up the story.