Friday, August 24, 2007

August 24, 1970

On this day in Wisconsin's history... 1970:

On this date a car bomb exploded outside Sterling Hall, killing research scientist Richard Fassnacht. Sterling Hall was targeted for housing the Army Mathematics Research Center and was bombed in protest of the war in Vietnam. The homemade bomb (2,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate soaked in aviation fuel) was detonated by the New Year's Gang, aka Vanguard of the Revolution, who demanded that a Milwaukee Black Panther official be released from police custody, ROTC be expelled from the UW campus, and "women's hours" be abolished on campus. The entire New Year's Gang fled to Canada the evening of the explosion. Four men were charged with this crime: Karleton Armstrong, David Fine, Dwight Armstrong, and Leo Burt. All but Burt were captured and served time for their participation. Leo Burt remains at large.[Source: On Wisconsin (online PDF) Summer 2005]
Perhaps Burt is now working for al-Qaeda or the Taliban.
Now 53, the elder Armstrong runs Loose Juice, a fruit juice stand just blocks from Sterling Hall. He rarely works at the stand; he prefers playing golf. He spends three nights a week with his mother. They play Scrabble.

Dwight Armstrong works for Union Cab in Madison. He keeps a low profile and has not spoken publicly about the bombing.

David Fine earned a law degree from the University of Oregon in 1984; he was last known to be living in the Pacific Northwest.

Joe Dillinger, Fassnacht's faculty supervisor, a scientist in his mid-50s at the time of the explosion, was perhaps the most deeply wounded. With his research in superconductivity destroyed and his chief researcher dead, Dillinger went into severe emotional decline.

"He died a few years after," Reeder said. "He was a broken man."1
Bob Fassnacht could not be reached for comment.

No comments: