In the summer of 1946, 42,000 military, scientific, and civilian personnel were assembled at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands to test the effects of the atomic bomb on an array of 95 target vessels and various animals. “Countdown at Crossroads” will be a series of posts covering the period 23 June – 1 August 1946, and the atomic bomb Tests Able and Baker. The posts and accompanying photos are excerpted from Operation Crossroads – Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 , by William L. McGee, published in June 2016 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Crossroads.
Bikini Atoll, 24 June 1946, Queen Day. The dress rehearsal for Test Able. Per Commander Dennett’s Ship’s Order #2-46, Atomic Bomb Test Safety Precautions: “All hands face away from Bikini, sit on deck, close eyes tightly, cover eyes with bended arm against the face. . . . When the word ‘Carry on’ is passed, all hands may safely observe the display of colors in the incandescent column of cloud and the gigantic clouds, which follow the explosion.” (Photo: Officers and men assembled on the flight deck of the carrier Saidor to rehearse the safety procedures. U.S. Navy)