• In 1935, lava from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano threatened the nearby town of Hilo.
  • Responding to a request by island volcanologists, the U.S. Army Air Service sent planes to bomb the lava flow.
  • Although the scientist who requested the air strike thought it was a success, others weren’t so sure.

One of the U.S. Air Force’s oddest missions was against perhaps its most formidable adversary ever: Mother Nature.

In 1935, lava from the Mauna Loa volcano threatened the nearby seaside town of Hilo, Hawaii. So U.S. bombers, commanded by none other than future Gen. George S. Patton, bombed the lava flow in an attempt to save the town.