“I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning,
but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Howard's farther had been a Radioman and cryptographer, and his grandfather a highly educated and skilled eye surgeon, who shared an early patent for Technicolor - both men were Master Masons of high degree.
Following Radio Training Howard reported for duty - May 24 aboard the...
USS NEW YORK
She visited England in 1937 as the U.S. representative to the British Coronation naval review. Over the next three years, the battleship was actively employed as a training ship. The "XAF", an experimental radar that resulted from several years' technical progress by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), was constructed in 1938, following a late February decision to install a radar set on a major warship. Operating at 200 megacycles (1.5 meter wavelength) at a power of 15 kilowatts, the XAF featured a "bedspring"-like antenna about 17 feet square. This was mounted in a rotating yoke that allowed it to scan around the horizon, and to elevate for what was hoped would be improved aircraft detection. This large antenna and yoke had to be strong enough for sea service, while remaining as light as possible to avoid excessive topside weight. Accordingly, the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation (then also building the Navy's first monoplane shipboard fighter, the F2A "Buffalo"), was given the job of fabricating a suitable duralumin structure. The XAF's transmitter, receiver and other equipment were made by NRL.
When development and construction were complete, the XAF was installed on the battleship New York. This work, with the antenna mounted atop the pilothouse (where it displaced a large rangefinder -- moved to the top of the ship's Number Two 14-inch gun turret) was completed in December 1938. During nearly three months of constant operation, averaging almost twenty hours daily as New York participated in winter maneuvers and battle practice in the Caribbean, the XAF's performance and reliability exceeded expectations. It detected aircraft up to 100 nautical miles (nm) away and ships out to 15 nm. The radar was also employed for navigation and in gunnery practice, spotting the fall of shot and even tracking projectiles in flight.
At the conclusion of these tests, New York's Commanding Officer recommended installation of radar in all aircraft carriers (whose vulnerability to surprise air attack was very well-understood), while the Commander of the Atlantic Squadron commented "The XAF equipment is one of the most important military developments since the advent of radio ...".
Later in 1939, the XAF was reengineered and placed in production by the Radio Corporation of America. Designated CXAM, six of these production models were delivered in 1940 and installed on an aircraft carrier, a battleship and four cruisers.
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USS SAN JACINTO took to San Juan, P. Rico for duty in San Jaun Radio Station
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USS DAVIS - Sep - Lv St. Tomas
Trinidad, arriving on 17 September.
Continuing patrols for submarines and blockade runners took the DAVIS into 1943,
USS J.T. MELVIN (DD-680) - Nov - Commissioned
J. T. Melvin; and commissioned 24 November 1943, Comdr. Warner R. Edsall in command.
Following shakedown off Bermuda, MELVIN sailed for the Pacific 1 February 1944. Arriving Pearl Harbor 4 March, she got underway for Majuro 5 days later and for the next month conducted antisubmarine patrols and participated in the blockade of enemy-held atolls in the Marshalls, returning to Pearl Harbor 2 May. There she underwent intensive fire support training and 31 May departed with TG 52.17 for Saipan. Approaching that island on the night of 13 and 14 June, she sank an enemy submarine, RO-36. A few hours later, while steaming off northern Saipan, she again engaged an enemy vessel, this time a merchantman, which burned brightly for a few hours before sinking For the next 23 days she provided counter battery fire; conducted antisubmarine patrols damaging an enemy submarine on the 17th; served as call fire ship for marines on the beach; escorted ships from Eniwetok; and participated in the bombardment of Tinian.
On 8 July MELVIN sailed for Eniwetok, whence on the 18th she sailed in the screen of the transports carrying troops to Guam, off which she screened transports and oilers from 22 July to 7 August. After preparations at Guadalcanal, from 8 to 21 September she took part in the capture and occupation Of the southern Palaus, then joined TG 33.19 for the unopposed occupation of Ulithi. After escorting LSTs to Hollandia, she arrived Manus to stage for the invasion of Leyte.
Now with TG 79.11, MELVIN sailed 11 October toward the Philippines in the screen of the landing craft to be used in the assault on Dulag. Soon after midnight 20 December she entered Leyte Gulf and took up her assigned screening station between Dinagat and Hibuson Islands, carrying out similar screening patrols for the next 4 days. In the early hours of the 26th, she joined in DesRon 54's torpedo attack which opened the Battle of Surigao Strait. Assigned with REMEY (DD-688) and MCGOWAN (DD- 678) to the Eastern Attack Group, MELVIN began launching torpedoes soon after 0300, scoring on FUSO, which exploded and sank at about 0338. Following their attack, the destroyers retired up the Dinagat coast to Hibuson from where they witnessed the deadly barrage from Admiral Oldendorf's battleline.
Within 48 hours, MELVIN was en route to Hollandia, and duty escorting resupply convoys to the Philippines into December, when she returned to the Solomons to rehearse for the assault on Luzon. She stood out of Purvis Bay, Florida Island, 25 December, escorting transports to Manus and then on to Lingayen Gulf. She arrived with her charges 11 January 1945, and provided illumination and fire support as wen as screening services. Continuing to cover the landings until the 15th, she met Japanese suicide attackers, as swimmers, in boats, and in planes, with equal determination.
From Luzon, MELVIN sailed south to Leyte, then to the Carolines and a new assignment, screening the fast carriers of TF 38/58. Steaming north with that force 10 February, MELVIN guarded the flattops as their planes raided Honshu and then provided direct air cover for the Iwo Jima campaign. On the 21st, she aided damaged SARATOGA (CV-3) in her fight against fires and enemy planes, splashing three, and then escorted her to Eniwetok for repairs.
By mid-March she had rejoined the fast carriers at Ulithi, sailing northwest with them on the 14th to prepare the way for the Okinawa campaign. For the next 61 days MELVIN remained at sea, guarding the carriers, providing fire support for the troops embattled after 1 April, and patrolling on picket station.
NOTE > The Marshall Islands Campaign. Jan - Feb 1944. About 4,000 kilometers southwest of the Hawaii Islands, Marshall Islands were part of the Japanese Pacific empire. The former German colony was given to Japan after WW1, and had been a part of the Japanese Navy. Battle was fought on Kwajalein Atoll.
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USS PRESIDENT HASE
Lv Enewetok > to S.Francisco > to Chicago for Radio School
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USS DARBY DE 128 - April
Jun Made Chief Radionam
Aug (29) - Son Richard Alan Moore - born
1945 U.S.S.Darby DE 218 (Destroyer Escort) Buckley-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy.
Darby sortied from Manus 2 January 1945 screening transports to Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, to reinforce the troops there. Arriving 11 January, she remained in the Philippines on escort and patrol duties until 28 February when she cleared for Ulithi to join a convoy carrying garrison troops for Iwo Jima. She arrived off the island 18 March, remaining there on patrol until 27 March when she sailed to escort transports to Eniwetok. She continued on to Pearl Harbor, arriving 12 April for repairs. Darby was training in the Hawaiian area when the war ended and on 29 August 1945 got underway for San Francisco, carrying servicemen eligible for discharge.
Made Chief June 1, 1945 and the on Nov 21st assigned to:
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USS RANDOLF - Ar by her to Newport, R.I.
USS LYETE CV 32 - Nov - lv from Newport News
USS Leyte, a 27,100-ton Ticonderoga class aircraft carrier built at Newport News, Virginia, was commissioned in April 1946. With Capt . Henry F. MacComsey in command. Leyte joined Wisconsin (BB-64) on a good will cruise down the western seaboard of South America in the fall of 1946 before returning to the Caribbean 18 November to resume shakedown operations.
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USS CRESCENT CITY - Crescent City arrived at Norfolk 14 February. She operated between New York and Norfolk on training duty in the Caribbean until October 10, 1947, when she sailed again for the west coast. Arriving at San Francisco on November 01, CRESCENT CITY was placed out of commission in the
Reserve Fleet on April 30, 1948. Formerly the civilian passenger liner DEL ORLEANS, following her conversion to a naval attack transport.
It appears Howard was in Grondal, Greenland on this ship. (verify) and most likely helped decommission her in San Francisco - Hunters Point (contaminated ships) or Mare Island (both) Prep for Mothball Fleet.
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January The Chief reports for duty at Kingsport Naval Training Facility to support the developments at
Oak Ridge - Manhattan Project Area for Naval - Assigned to JTF 132
Operation Sandstone was a series of nuclear weapon tests in 1948. It was the third series of American tests, following Trinity in 1945 and Crossroads in 1946, and preceding Ranger. Like the Crossroads tests, the Sandstone tests were carried out at the Pacific Proving Grounds, although at Enewetak Atoll rather than Bikini Atoll. They differed from Crossroads in that they were conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission, with the armed forces having only a supporting role. The purpose of the Sandstone tests was also different: they were primarily tests of new bomb designs rather than of the effects of nuclear weapons. Three tests were carried out in April and May 1948 by Joint Task Force 7, with a work force of 10,366 personnel, of whom 9,890 were military.
The successful testing of the new cores in the Operation Sandstone tests rendered every component of the old weapons obsolete. Even before the third test had been carried out, production of the old cores was halted, and all effort concentrated on the new Mark 4 nuclear bomb, which would become the first mass-produced nuclear weapon. More efficient use of fissionable material as a result of Operation Sandstone would increase the U.S. nuclear stockpile from 56 bombs in June 1948 to 169 in June 1949.
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Howard T. Moore (RM Chief) Reports for Duty on U.S.S. ESTES in January
Estes recommissioned 31 January 1951, and after training off San Diego, sailed 20 June for Yokosuka and Inchon, where from 25 July to 6 August, she served as flagship for Vice Admiral I. N. Kiland, Commander, Amphibious Force, Pacific. She carried successive Commanders, Amphibious Group One, through the remainder of this tour of duty in the Far East, during which she operated off Korea and in exercises off Japan.
Returning to San Diego 19 April 1952, Estes carried high-ranking observers to the Marshall Islands for nuclear weapons tests in the fall of 1952, and in the summer of 1953, served as flagship for an expedition to supply Government activities in the Arctic. Between January and May 1954, she again sailed for atomic weapons tests at Eniwetok, and on 6 July cleared for the Far East. As control ship for Operation "Passage to Freedom," the evacuation of refugees from Communist North Vietnam, Estes operated from Haiphong 18 August to 29 October. Between 6 and 11 February 1955 she joined in another outstanding illustration of the Navy's ability to aid freedom-loving people when she operated in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands.
Estes returned to San Diego 22 May 1955. She operated out of there for the next year. Between March and July 1956, she was again in the Marshalls for weapons tests, and on 31 January 1957 sailed for Yokosuka, where she provided quarters and communications facilities until April, sailing then to visit Hong Kong. She returned to stateside duty 15 May, voyaging to Pearl Harbor in July and August.
The next year found Estes sailing north in July to ports in British Columbia, and again in August to call at Seattle. During her 1959 tour of duty in the Far East she directed important amphibious operations off Japan, Okinawa, and Korea, and exercises off Borneo with ships of the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy. She returned to Long Beach in August, and through 1962 operated along the west coast, twice visiting the Pacific Northwest.
Estes received two battle stars for Korean war service.
USS ESTES PORT OF CALL with The Chief aboard - Active Duty
Jan (6) San Diego, CA Ð Naval Training Center
Feb Reported Aboard U.S.S. ESTES AGC-12
For Duty San Francisco, CA
Apr-May OPERATION GREENHOUSE
May Ar San Diego, CA for Underway Training
Jun (20) Lv San Diego (22) Ar San Francosco, CA
(29) Ar Honolulu, T.H.
Jul (4) Lv. Honolulu T.H.
Inchou (sp), Korea
Aug Inchou (sp), Korea
Sep Yokasuka Japan
Visited: Osaka & Kyoto
Oct Sasido, Japan
Nov Pusan, Korea
Mukawa, Hatkido (Sp?)
April and May of 1951: - The Greenhouse Test Series
conducted at Enewetok Atoll It consisted of four relatively high yield tests (by the standards of the time) - Dog, Easy , George, and Item. Dog and Easy were proof tests of two new strategic bombs the Mk 6 and Mk 5 respectively. George and Item were the first true tests of thermonuclear fusion - the release of fusion energy from thermally excited nuclei. George was a research experiment that studied deuterium-fusion burning when heated by thermal radiation. Item was the first test of the principle of fusion boosting of fission devices.
Dog 7 April 1951 (GMT) - Is. Runit, Enewetak Atoll
Easy 20 April 1951 (GMT) - Is. Enjebi, Enewetak Atoll
George 8 May June 1951 (GMT) - Is. Eberiru, Enewetak Atoll
Item 24 May 1951 (GMT) - Is. Enjebi, Enewetak Atoll
The amount of fallout received by the six JTF 3 ships varied with their locations at shot time and their decontamination procedures. Radiation intensities were lower for shipboard personnel than for island-based personnel because many of the ships' external surfaces could be decontaminated quickly by the water washdown systems.? Some notes show washdown system was recycled contaminated water.
Abstract : The radiological environments are reconstructed for seven ships and the residence islands of Enewetak Atoll that received fallout during operation GREENHOUSE (April-May 1951) as a result of Shots DOG, EASY, and ITEM. From the reconstructed operations and radiological environments, equivalent personnel film badge doses are calculated and compared with actual film badge data available for six of the ships. Considering the increased time spent topside by badged personnel as opposed to an average crewmember, correlation between calculations and dosimetry is good. Average shipboard doses range from a low of 0.13 rem for the crew of the USNS LT. ROBERT CRAIG to a high of 1.14 rem for the crew of the USNS SGT. CHARLES E. MOWER. Average doses on the residence islands of Enewetak Atoll range.
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Howard T. Moore (RM Chief) Continues Duty Assignment on U.S.S. ESTES
Jan Yokasuka Japan
(18) Ar Nagasaki, Japan
Pohang Dong, Korea
Feb Pusan, Korea
Mar Inchon, Korea
Apr (1) Lv. Yokosuka, Japan
LAST ENTRY IN HIS HAND WRITTEN LOG
April Fools Day 1952
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On November 1, 1952, the United States detonated a 10.4-megaton hydrogen device in the Pacific on the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The test, code-named "Mike," was the first successful implementation of Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam's concept for a "Super."
Mike 31 October 1952 (GMT)
The device detonated in the Mike ("m" for "megaton") test, called the Sausage, was the first "true" H-Bomb ever tested. The enormous explosion was the 4th largest device ever tested by the U.S. & high levels of radiation blanketed much of the atoll following the test.
The MIKE Test
Since scientists had limited information on how well lithium deuteride would work, they chose instead to use liquid deuterium, which needed to be kept below -417¡ F (-250¡ C). A six-story cab was built to house "Mike" with its complex cooling system. Weighing 65 tons, the apparatus was an experimental device, not a weapon. A two-mile-long tunnel that extended from the device to another island was filled with helium that would provide data on the fusion reaction.
Even those who had witnessed atomic tests were stunned by the blast. The cloud, when it had reached its furthest extent, was about 100 miles wide and 25 miles high. The explosion vaporized Elugelab, leaving behind a crater more than a mile wide, and destroyed life on the surrounding islands.
King 15 November 1952 (GMT)
The device detonated in the King ("k" for "kiloton") test was dropped by a B-36H bomber flying out of Kwajalein Island. The detonation occured 20 feet lower than planned, with a circular bombing error of 570 feet +/- 35 feet. While perhaps not the largest deliverable fission bomb possible at the time, it was certainly pushing close to the practical limit.
"I was cleared for what they called a Queen Clearence, it's above top secret. It was established by the Atomic Energy Commission. They then lowered all the clearences to top secret. And for Operation Redwing I was cleared for top secret but for Castle and Wigwam I had a Queen Clearence."
1952 in History
September - A second U.S. nuclear weapons laboratory is established in Livermore, California.
October 3 - First British atomic bomb, "Hurricane," was tested at Monte Bello Islands, Australia, with a yield of 25 kilotons.
October 31 - U.S. explodes first thermonuclear or fusion device, "Mike," at Eniwetok Atoll. It had a yield of 10.4 megatons.
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Howard T. Moore (RM Chief) Continues Duty Assignment on U.S.S. ESTES
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Howard T. Moore (RM Chief) Continues Duty Assignment on U.S.S. ESTES
The Bravo test created the worst radiological disaster in US history. Dad's Commendation letter places him here.
Operation Castle was a series of high yield thermonuclear weapon design tests. Following the initial experimental demonstration of the Ulam-Teller design in Operation Ivy (the Sausage device detonated in the Ivy Mike test) both weapon labs rushed to develop a number of deliverable weaponized designs.
CASTLE BRAVO Surface Burst - Feb 28, 1954 - Bravo, February 28, Bikini, 15 megatons
The Bravo test created the worst radiological disaster in US history. Dad's Commendation letter places him here.
Discussion/Interview where Veteran knew about the fallout.
"I don't remember about that one, they kept quiet amongst the crew. They installed washdown systems on the ships that were out there. After the shots we would energize the washdown systems. They were like one huge dishwashing system and would wash all the particles off the ship. However we did find one coil of mooring line and it had 50 r of contamination and we were walking around that thing, not knowing it, until the monitors got up to it with Geiger counters and discovered it. They just picked up the line and threw it over the side.
One shot, I forgot which one, we took Life magazine photographers over to the area, and we had these big semi trailers that Life magazine had their equipment in and they took pictures and all that. Then they would have critiques in the wardroom of what went on and the scientists would stand up there in front of all those people and give them a big line of malarky. They snowed them people like you wouldn't believe. The guys in the crew didn't know all the details but we figured real quick the things they were telling the reporters wasn't all true."
Fourteen months later, on March 1, 1954, a deliverable hydrogen bomb using solid lithium deuteride was tested by the United States on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. By missing an important fusion reaction, the scientists had grossly underestimated the size of the explosion. The predicted yield was 5 megatons, but, in fact, "BRAVO" yielded 14.8 megatons, making it the largest U.S. nuclear test ever exploded. The blast gouged a crater more than 1/2 mile wide and several hundred feet deep and ejected several million tons of radioactive debris into the air. Within seconds the fireball was nearly 3 miles in diameter.
No one was living on the Bikini atoll at the time of the BRAVO blast. However, a total of 236 people were living on the atolls of Rongelap and Utirik, 100 and 300 miles east of Bikini, respectively. The residents of Rongelap were exposed to as much as 200 rems of radiation. They were evacuated 24 hours after the detonation. The residents of Utirik, which were exposed to lower levels of radiation, were not evacuated until at least two days later. After their evacuation, many experienced typical symptoms of radiation poisoning: burning of the mouth and eyes, nausea, diarrhea, loss of hair, and skin burns.
Ten years after the blast, the first thyroid tumors began to appear. Of those under twelve on Rongelap at the time of BRAVO, 90% have developed thyroid tumors. In 1964, the U. S. Government admitted responsibility for exposing the islanders to radiation and appropriated funds to compensate them.
CASTLE ROMEO Surface Burst - Mar 26, 1954 Ð Bikini - Romeo, March 26, Bikini, 11 megaton
Like Bravo, Romeo's explosive power far exceeded original projections - in fact it did so by an even larger factor, almost tripling the best guess yield. At 11 megatons Romeo was the third largest test ever detonated by the United States.
CASTLE KOON 6 April 1954 (GMT) - Koon, April 6, Bikini, 110 kilotons (sanitized out of the film as a fizzle of 1 megaton predicted yield. Koon was the first thermonuclear device to be designed by UCRL (now Lawrence Livermore), and was the last weapon design on which Edward Teller directly worked.
CASTLE UNION 25 April 1954 (GMT) - Union, April 25, Bikini, 6.9 megatons
CASTLE YANKEE May 1954 (GMT) - Yankee, May 4, Bikini, 13.5 megatons
CASLE NECTAR 13 May 1954 (GMT) - Nectar, May 13, Enewetak, 1.69 megatons
OPERATION WIGWAM - May 14th 1955 off San Diego Coast - (ESTES onsite & Dad Stationed There)
May 14th, 1955 At Operation Wigwam, the bomb was thirty kilotons--more than twice the size of the Hiroshima atomic weapon--the government succeeded in depicting it as rather small. The San Diego Evening Tribune informed its readers that the Wigwam bomb was "thought to have had an energy equivalent of 1 to 5 kilotons, certainly smaller than 20 kt."
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Operation Wigwam remebered...
"At the Operation Wigwam, we were close enough, I think it was Wigwam, I had my hat blown off by the concussion. We were out of formation, now that might have been Hardtack, too. I bet they're kind of hard to keep separate.
I feel we were used as guinea pigs cause they said we were out of formation. We weren't out of formation because of an accident. I believe it was because the skipper had orders to be in that position. That was at Operation Wigwam. I had to tear down to the generator flaps, to keep the generators on line. With out any steam, we were going round and round. I think that was the most spooky because, we were in a convoy with a bunch of other ships and if we lost steering we would have no control. We had a tough time with that one.
We knew something had to be up, when we were all told to walk around to the other side of the ship. I was a radioman, my general quarters post was communications between the bridge and CIC and the radar room. So I was above decks for every blast, and in one way it was a blessing, because I was able to see them all. And the other way it was not a blessing because I got the maximum out of exposure.
Did it get the ship wet?
Oh yeah, the stupid part of the whole deal is that they would tell you to go take a shower. It was recycled water, that they ran through the filtering system, the desal system. There was no way to take out radioactive contamination in the water. The systems were antiquated and weren't capable of that. They would run a gieger counter over you and you'd walk in to take a shower and come back out and you'd have just showered with radioactive water. And the same thing with the rest room facilities. On the Mansfield it was just sort of a long trough and eight or ten guy's would be sitting there and you'd have radioactive water running underneath you.Ó
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The following is excerpted from public testimony given to the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments at their 10th meeting on January 20, 1995 in Washington, D.C.
"Mrs. McCarthy: Tom participated in Operation Wigwam in 1955. He died an untimely death from radiogenic cancers at age 44. He was ill with undiagnosable symptoms from the age of 36. He had many of the cancers that are on Public Law 100-321, however, the primary on his death certificate is lung cancer.
During the week before he died, Tom told me about his participation in Operation Wigwam, and he expressed concern as to what happened to the other men. The answer to Tom's question and concern about his fellow military men came after his death from the death bed of Commander Purdy of the ship Marion County, also in Operation Wigwam, also dying from lung cancer. On his death bed, Commander Purdy called in a young neighbor, Ron Josephson, and spoke haltingly into a tape recorder detailing and setting down the record on Wigwam, saying, "It's too late for me, son, but I feel that we're all left holding the bag, all those crews, not just on my ship, but all those crews."
Operation Wigwam detonated a 30 kiloton bomb, more than twice the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, about 450 miles off the coast of California. I believe that Operation Wigwam was a human experiment, a human radiation experiment.
From an article titled, "Operation Wigwam: The Story of California's Secret Nuclear War, the Enemy, 6,500 Americans," prepared at the Center for Investigative Reporting in Oakland, allow me to cite from this eye witness account of the scientists and the military men involved.
The task force of Scripps scientists knew that what they were readying was an experiment and an experiment involving human life. The chief objective of Operation Wigwam was to determine with accuracy at what ranges, under various conditions, a submarine or surface vessel will be destroyed by a deep underwater atomic explosion, and second, to determine the hazards to the ship and supporting forces.
Quoting from the article, "In other words, the naval personnel being assembled for the blast were unwittingly participating in a nuclear war games experiment." A copy of this article has been given to your staff.
The area in the Pacific Ocean where the bomb was detonated was determined by the Scripps scientists to be a biological desert. My husband said that after the detonation for as far as the eye could see the ocean was covered with dead marine life. No one could predict to any satisfactory degree the extent and type of surface and subsurface phenomena. No one knew, for instance, whether the ocean would be able to contain the shock or whether the radioactive blast would explode out into the air and contaminate the surface. What kind of shock wave and what it would do to the ships was also unknown.
AEC reports reveal that the detonation did break the surface of the water, sending a tidal wave of water over 600 feet high towards the ships. Air monitors stationed at San Diego measured a higher level of radioactivity over that city within four days of the blast. The radioactivity skyrocketed from ten to 20 times normal background levels over the next nine days over the state of California.
As a navigator stationed on the bridge of the Mount McKinley, my husband, I feel, was gravely exposed to the hazard of this experiment. He was at that site for four days after the detonation.
The official report on Wigwam described the spray from the detonation as an insidious hazard which turned into an invisible radioactive aerosol. And, the Defense Nuclear Agency's fact sheet on Wigwam carefully reports that radioactivity in water from the 30 kiloton underwater device was found some 80 miles distant.
There is no history of any cancer in my husband's extended family. Not one relative has passed on from this disease to this day. His physician told me that it took 25 years for his cancer to develop, and he died 25 years to the year of this test.
When the details of Operation Wigwam became publicly known in 1980, Governor Brown issued an immediate call for the federal government to publicly release the names of all servicemen involved in Wigwam, so that they could receive suitable medical treatment.
I am conceived right after this test, when ship returns to San Diego Naval Base, Balboa.
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In the five years since recomissioning, ESTES had added yeoman service in the troubled areas of Korea, Vietnam, and the Tachen Islands to her impressive WW II record. The peaceful Christmas of 1955 was only the third active duty Yuletide season ESTES had spent in the U.S. Even then, feverish preparations were in progress for "Operation REDWING," ESTES' third tour to participate in nuclear weapons testing at the Marshall Islands Proving Ground. Between March and July 1956, she was again in the Marshalls.
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I was born in March of this year in Balboa Naval Military Hospital on a floor for at risk births, for no other reason than cautionary. In later years, a dear friends mother who I have a strong esoteric bond over 25 years with, and in her late 70's, is a globe trotting Reiki Master, stated she worked that floor as a military nurse there the year I was born.
May 4 > June 15, 1956
Estes was present at Operation Redwing.
The Estes is (was) the center of the operation, with commander task group (CTG) aboard.
A 17- detonation atmospheric nuclear weapon test series held at the Atomic Energy Cornmission's (AEC) Pacific Proving Ground (PPG) in the Spring and Summer of 1956. The PPG consisted of Enewetak and Bikini atolls in the northwestern Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific Ocean. From November 1955 through July 1957. In the Spring and Summer of 1956, we were the Flagship for "Operation Redwing" in the Marshall Islands. I think I remember that there were 17 "shots" during the Operation both at Eniwetok and Bikini.
From Verteran Interview
"For Redwing we carried some of the bombs, I don't remember how many. There were several shots. I don't remember how many shots there were in Redwing. It was fascinating and eerie, knowing all the destruction and power.
ThatÕs true, all the shots I was on, I wore the glasses, I was cautious of my eyes. When they gave us glasses we maintained the glasses through the whole series. Even with those glasses which were stronger and darker than the glasses that the welders use. It seemed like daylight, everything was so plain and visible."
OPERATION REDWING May 4 > June 15, 1956
Operation REDWING, a 17-test nuclear weapons series, was conducted at the Pacific Proving Ground between May 4 and July 21, 1956. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) tested high-yield thermonuclear devices that could not be tested at the Nevada Test Site. Over 10,000 military personnel and civilian employees of the AEC and the Department of Defense participated in these nuclear tests. The LACROSSE and CHEROKEE tests were observed from aboard the USS Mount McKinley by 15 American press, radio and television reporters. These were the first uncleared U.S. civilians in ten years to observe an American nuclear test in the Pacific The AEC's progress in miniaturization of warheads had accelerated to where the equivalent of the nearly 90-ton weight of the MIKE device in Operation IVY could now be dropped from a bomber. Operation REDWING also further advanced the AEC's designs of nuclear weapons that would produce reduced fallout and provided new information for the design of nuclear warheads for missiles. Complete weapons systems were exposed to blast effects in Operation REDWING, and a fallout computer was successfully used for the first time. The series included the CHEROKEE test, the first airdrop by U.S. of a thermonuclear weapon.
Tests comprising the 1956 Operation REDWING were as follows:
LACROSSE, May 4, Enewetak (Runit Island), surface, weapons related, 40 kilotons (kt)
CHEROKEE, May 20, Bikini (near Nam Island), airdrop, weapons related, 3.8 megatons (Mt)
(allowed scientists to make some unique measurements)
ZUNI, May 27, Bikini (Eneman Island), surface, weapons related, 3.5 Mt
YUMA, May 27, Enewetak (Aomon Island), tower, weapons related, 190 tons
ERIE, May 30, Enewetak (Runit Island), tower, weapons related, 14.9 kt
SEMINOLE, June 6, Enewetak (Boken Island), surface, weapons related, 13.7 kt
FLATHEAD, June 11, Bikini (off Iroij Island), barge, weapons related, 365 kt
BLACKFOOT, June 11, Enewetak (Runit Island), tower, weapons related, 8 kt
KICKAPOO, June 13, Enewetak (Aomon Island), tower, weapons related, 1.49 kt
OSAGE, June 16, Enewetak (near Runit Island), airdrop, weapons related, 1.7 kt
INCA, June 21, Enewetak ( Lujor Island), tower, weapons related, 15.2 kt
DAKOTA, June 25, Bikini (off Iroij Island), barge, weapons related, 1.1 Mt
MOHAWK, July 2, Enewetak (Eleleron Island), tower, weapons related, 360 kt
APACHE, July 8, Enewetak (off Dridrilbwij Island), barge, weapons related, 1.85 Mt
NAVAJO, July 10, Bikini (off Iroij Island), barge, weapons related, 4.5 Mt
TEWA, July 20, Bikini (off Nam Island), barge, weapons related, 5 Mt
HURON, July 21, Enewetak (off Dridrilbwij Island), barge, weapons related, 250 kt
Note from Veteran
"Thats true, all the shots I was on, I wore the glasses, I was cautious of my eyes. When they gave us glasses we maintained the glasses through the whole series. Even with those glasses which were stronger and darker than the glasses that the welders use. It seemed like daylight, everything was so plain and visible.
I agree with the comment from Cecil (Cecil Herald, Crossroads section) about not being able to relate to friends and neighbors. They simply do not understand because the nuclear detonations we experienced there are not describable to people not there, since there are virtually no words to describe the experience.
I haven't made any effort to obtain any exposure records. I'm not sure they exist. We wore dosimeters and film badges. The dosimeters were a visual indicator of the level of radioactive fallout being measured on a paper like material in a plastic holder. As the level of radioactivity increased, the dosimeter color would change from a pale blue color to a pink. The more pink, the higher the level of radiation.
A few hours (about 5 or 6) after the Cherokee shot, we were playing softball and drinking beer on the island of Bikini, which was about 20 or 25 miles from ground zero. The mushroom cloud had spread out for hundreds of miles. Someone noticed a change in color of the film badge of a shipmate. We all checked ours and saw the same thing. About this time, the ship's whistle and fog horn began to sound. This is an alert to return to the ship immediately. The ship was closed completely. All doors, hatches and ventilation systems were closed. Being in warm tropical water, the temperature inside the ship immediately began to increase to the point of sailors unable to work. Sailors were laying everywhere after a few hours. The ship was steaming out from underneath the fallout from the mushroom cloud. We didn't have fresh air until early the next morning.
In the radio room, where I was a supervisor, the communications equipment generated a lot of heat. There were many receivers (vacuum tubes) which consumed several hundred watts each. All but the most critical communication circuits were shut down. Fans were turned on the workers. All unnecessary personnel were relieved of duty and sent to their berthing compartments.
I remember Cherokee well!
For each detonation, all personnel were topside. No one was left below decks. The ship was parallel to ground zero. The distance varied with the anticipated yield of the device. Most detonations were scheduled for 6:06 AM. At this hour, it was dark at sea level, but daylight at 30 or 40 thousand feet. This provided for illumination of the stem of the mushroom cloud as it rose through this elevation.
We were seated on the deck of the ship, on the ground zero side, facing away from ground zero, with our eyes buried in our elbows. The fleet communication system counted down the time. At zero hour, the flash of light was so bright, you could see the extreme brilliance through your arm, but the light was too dazzling to see any bone content as you might think.
After a couple minutes, we were allowed to turn and view the detonation. Most of us took an early peek. It only dazzled us. We could only see spots in front of our eyes for a while. Akin to having a bright flash bulb flashed a few inches in front of your eyes.
Based on the distance from ground zero, the arrival of the shock wave was broadcast over the fleet intercom, "The shock wave will hit the ships in the number two ring in ten seconds, nine, eight, etc..."
You could see the shock wave racing across the surface of the ocean. The shock wave was a strong gust of wind, accompanied by a roaring sound (akin to a water fall) and a warm rush of air (not hot). The strength of the shock wave was adequate to slam hatches left open on the ship, or would knock a person off their feet if not anticipating it.
Fallout (no pun) from these tests include sensitivity to cancer and cancer related problems. For that reason, although I am now and always have been healthy, I like to keep track of my peers from those tests."
_ _ _ _
Note: Plan of the day
Carry out the regular IN PORT routine except as modified below:
0500 - Reville - Coffee.
0530 - Set condition able in Gas Tight enevelope, except for access doors and force ventilation system.
0545 - Quarters for muster "Count Down Parade". Division Officers insure that each person is wearing film badge and dosimeter - conduct Radsafe lecture.
0604 - All personnel will sit down on deck & those not wearing goggles will then face away from detonation site with eyes closed and face covered with arms.
0606 - "H" Hour - 0626 is alternate "H" Hour.
At H plus 10 seconds, all hands may turn to view the phenomina.
Keep firm footing, the shock wave will pass in about 2 minutes.
0700 - Catholic Mass and Rosary in the Library.
0800 - Turn to, commence ship's work. All hands not actually required top-side, remain below decks.
1030 - (About) Return to Bikini and moor to buoy.
_ _ _ _ Howard is now on Shore Duty in Bainsbridge, MD - Jeanne is in San Diego _ _ _ _
The Chief is with USS Estes through March and is assigned Shore Duty sometime after I am born in March, 1956. Family moves to Bainbridge, MD where Howard is assigned as an Instructor. We arrived in Maryland in time for his son to start school at beginning of session, so he would not have participated in any Operations to my knowledge.
July 2 - President Eisenhower signs amendments to the 1954 U.S. Atomic Energy Act which opened the way to a bilateral agreement between Britain and America on nuclear weapon design information.
November 1958 to September 1961 - U.S., U.K., and U.S.S.R. observe an informal moratorium on nuclear tests.
Howard is Tansferred to San Francisco Naval Base
- - - DD-214 shows Separation Date of February 16, 1959 - - -
Transferred to Class F-6 Naval Fleet Reserve
Specialist Number & Title: RMC_P1 (2314)
Commandant TWELVTH Naval District - Treasure Island Naval Base
Recommended for Reinlistment
6 Good Conduct Medals - No listing as to When/Where received.
The Ret. Chief Moore is hired by Beckman Industries as a project manager to oversee development, building and testing a military supercomputer E.A.S.E. Another project he could not discuss.
Message in a Bottle
USS Estes @ Tachen Islands