Operation May Day

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Operation May Day was a series of entomological warfare (EW) tests conducted by the U.S. military in Savannah, Georgia in 1956.

Entomological warfare (EW) is a type of biological warfare that uses insects to interrupt supply lines by damaging crops, or direct harm to enemy combatants and civilian populations. There have been several programs which have attempted to institute this methodology, however, there has been limited application of entomological warfare against military or civilian targets, Japan being the only state known to have verifiably implemented the method against another state, namely the Chinese during World War 2. However, EW has been used more widely in antiquity, in order to repel sieges or cause economic harm to states. Research into EW was conducted during both the Cold war and World War 2 by numerous states such as the Soviet union, United States, Germany, and Canada. There have also been suggestions that it could be implemented by non-state actors in a form of bioterrorism. It is to be noted that under the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention of 1972, use of insects to administer agents or toxins for hostile purposes, is deemed to be against international law.

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Operation

Operation May Day involved a series of EW tests from April to November 1956. The tests were designed to reveal information about the dispersal of yellow fever mosquitoes in an urban area. The mosquitoes were released from ground level in Savannah, Georgia and then recovered using traps baited with dry ice. The operation was detailed in a partially declassified U.S. Army report in 1981. [1]

Savannah, Georgia City in the United States

Savannah is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia and is the county seat of Chatham County. Established in 1733 on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah became the British colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. It is Georgia's fifth-largest city, with a 2018 estimated population of 145,862. The Savannah metropolitan area, Georgia's third-largest, had an estimated population of 389,494 in 2018.

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. It is used primarily as a cooling agent. Its advantages include lower temperature than that of water ice and not leaving any residue. It is useful for preserving frozen foods where mechanical cooling is unavailable.

See also

Operation Big Buzz was a U.S. military entomological warfare field test conducted in the U.S. state of Georgia in 1955. The tests involved dispersing over 300,000 mosquitoes from aircraft and through ground dispersal methods.

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Between April and November 1956, the U.S. Army Chemical Corps conducted Operation Drop Kick to test the practicality of employing mosquitoes to carry an entomological warfare agent in different ways. The Corps released uninfected female mosquitoes into a cooperative residential area of Savannah, Georgia, and then estimated how many mosquitoes entered houses and bit people. Within a day the mosquitoes had bitten many people. In 1958, the Corps released 600,000 mosquitoes in Avon Park, Florida.

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References

  1. Rose, William H. "An Evaluation of Entomological Warfare as a Potential Danger to the United States and European NATO Nations", U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, Dugway Proving Ground, March 1981, via thesmokinggun.com , accessed December 25, 2008.