News for June 4, 1954. Tragedy aboard USS Bennington, 102 killed in blast. Sec. of Commerce admits "we're in a Recession". 16 cities added to list of Distressed Communities, already at 123. Gen. James van Fleet does not think U.S. needs to send troops to South East Asia. Sec. of State Dulles joins list of officials saying U.S. involvement in Indo-China is imminent. Gas prices purposely kept up. Solar Panels are introduced. Army-McCarthy Hearings continue with more noise than progress.
June 4, 2012

Casualties aboard the USS Bennington - a spark ignited the tragedy.

Buried in the news on this June 4th in 1954 were several stories that would come back to haunt.

Starting with the tragic news of the explosion and fire aboard the USS Bennington, due to a hydraulic spark igniting explosive fuel, with the result of 102 crewmen dead.

The Secretary of Commerce admitted "we're in a Recession" with the disclosure of 16 more cities added to the list of 123 major cities with substantial unemployment. The figures come in at well above 5 million unemployed, although the government claimed its figures to be around 4 million. The numbers didn't take into account the unemployed whose benefits had run out in recent weeks.

Another harbinger of things to come - General James van Fleet was reported to have said he didn't think U.S. ground forces were needed in South East Asia. That sending military aid would be enough. This came hot on the heels of Secretary of State Dulles, joining a growing list of officials predicting U.S. involvement in a shooting war in Indo-China (i.e. Vietnam) was imminent.

There was a report on a preview of the upcoming 1955 cars, with a lot more V-8 engines available as standard equipment. The irony was an accompanying report that the major Oil companies were purposely keeping gas prices up by making claims that extra additives for improving performance of these V-8 engines was a way of jacking up gas prices, while marketing claims that these new fuel formulas were better for car performance. A claim not substantiated.

It was also reported that some Army engineers had developed a Solar Panel that, when installed on the roof of a family home, would provide enough heat and electricity to fuel the average house completely from the sun. In 1954, no less.

From Capitol Hill - much anticipated wrangling over President Eisenhower's Farm Bill. An FCC Commissioner, favored by Sen. McCarthy was re-appointed by President Eisenhower and the Army-McCarthy Hearings were droning on, with more noise than progress.

And that's what happened on this June 4, 1954 as reported by Frank Edwards And The News.

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