Aboard the USS Fall River (CA-131), Bikini Atoll, 28 June 1946 – Three days to go to the big day, Test Able, and tensions were mounting. The “brass” tried to play down the circulating stories about the potential dangers of the atomic bomb that would be dropped from the air on 1 July. Men in the radio room were told not to talk about any dispatches they received from scientists concerned about the probabilities of a tidal wave that might obliterate the entire task force at Bikini.
Meanwhile, my shipmates and I, being optimists, were signing each other’s “Short Snorters.” The tradition was if you signed someone’s Short Snorter, and you met up with them somewhere at a later time and they couldn’t produce their Short Snorter, they owed you a drink. The tradition was supposedly started by Alaskan bush pilots, who would have a “short snort” before taking off.
(Excerpted from Operation Crossroads – Lest We Forget! by William L. McGee.)