Countdown at Crossroads – 28 June 1946


Aboard the USS Fall River (CA-131), Bikini Atoll, 28 June 1946, Test Able -3. Three days to Test Able and tensions were rising. The “brass” tried to play down the circulating stories about the potential dangers of the Test Able atomic bomb that would be dropped on 1 July. Decades later, however, men in the radio room on the USS Fall River, Rear Admiral F. G. Fahrion’s Flagship for the Target Fleet, recalled being told not to talk about the dispatches they received from scientists about the probabilities of a tidal wave that might obliterate the entire task force. Meanwhile, my shipmates and I were signing each other’s “Short Snorters.” The tradition was if you signed someone’s Short Snorter, and at a later meeting that person could not produce it, they owed you a drink – or a “short snort.” Were we being optimistic that we’d live to see each other again? Pictured above and below: The author’s Short Snorter signed by his blackjack partner Gerald Oyer, “Sully” Sullivan, and other Fall River shipmates.  (Excerpted from Operation Crossroads – Lest We Forget! by William L. McGee.)


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