Broken Arrow

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Broken Arrow (plural Broken Arrows)

  1. (US, euphemistic, military) An accidental event that involves nuclear weapons or nuclear components but does not create the risk of nuclear war.[1][2]
    • 2004, Roland Everett Langford, Introduction to Weapons of Mass Destruction: Radiological, Chemical, and Biological, page 97:
      In the US, the code name for a serious nuclear weapons incident is "Broken Arrow". It is US policy neither to confirm nor deny the existence of nuclear weapons at any specific location; this also applies to Broken Arrow incidents.
  2. (US, military) A code phrase indicating that a ground unit is facing imminent destruction from enemy attack and all available air forces within range are to provide air support immediately.
    • 2003, Jacques-François de Chaunac, The American Cavalry in Vietnam: "First Cav", →ISBN, page 48:
      The FAC urgently sends over his radio a cry for help: "Broken Arrow! Broken Arrow!' His message unleashes all available close air support in South Vietnam on a priority basis.
    • 2008, Terry Ryan, Bring Out Your Dead, →ISBN, page 137:
      Before Caras could respond, the General threw down the mike, turned to his second and said, "Get them all the air support we have, everything. This is Broken Arrow"
    • 2010, Danny W. Davis, The Phinehas Priesthood, →ISBN:
      Broken Arrow refers to the U.S. military's code word used during the Vietnam War. This call was used only in the direst of tactical situations, when a ground unit was overrun by enemy forces. When "Broken Arrow" was heard on the radio nets, all available aircraft were diverted to provide close air support for the endangered command.
    • 2017, Kevin Ikenberry, Vendetta Protocol, page 155:
      All Pulse elements, this is Home Plate. Broken Arrow. I repeat, Broken Arrow. Forward command of close air-support operations is Rebel Four One.

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