As a footnote to my post yesterday about the Japanese balloons attacking the US mainland in World War II, I found a bit more on the subject–thanks to Sam Smith at prorev.com— which illustrates the reach and force of the Pacific Jet Stream. Hopefully, little of the radiation from the Japanese nuclear plants will end up in this powerful wind.
In a secret mission called Operation Firefly,the famed all black unit called the 555th US Airborne Parachute Company was deployed to put out the forest fires set off in the balloon attacks. Here is a brief entry from Wikipedia:
During the winter of 1944-45, the Japanese sent 9000 fire balloons toward the western coast of North America. It was believed 1000 succeeded in reaching the United States, and 300 were witnessed. After three days, each balloon dropped an incendiary bomb. In order to conceal the efficacy of these attacks, the missions of the 555th was kept clandestine in nature. In addition to fires started by the enemy incendiary devices, the 555th fought numerous other forest fires. Stationed at Pendleton Field (site of initial training for the Doolittle’s raid on Japan) Oregon, with a detachment in Chico, California, unit members courageously participated in dangerous fire-fighting missions throughout the Pacific Northwest during the summer and fall of 1945. The group engaged in over 1200 missions, earning the nickname “Smoke Jumpers” in addition to “Triple Nickles.” The only fatality in the unit died while jumping on August 6, 1945