Countdown at Crossroads – “Bomb Drops!” 1 July 1946, Post 8/20

1-BombDrops! - Copy

Aboard the USS Fall River, Bikini Lagoon, 1 July 1946 –  Finally, the big day had arrived—1 July 1946 by the Bikini calendar (30 June in New York). At 0540 Vice Admiral W. H. P. Blandy ordered the Superfortress B-29,  nicknamed “Dave’s Dream”, to take off from the Kwajalein Atoll some 250 miles away. The USS Fall River was positioned 12 to 15 miles from the target site. As the hour of detonation approached, my shipmates and I sat on the main deck facing away from the explosion. We closed our eyes and covered them with our hands, as per Commander Dennett’s Ship’s Order for atomic bomb safety precautions.

At 0859, the Test Able atomic bomb (nicknamed “Gilda” for the 1946 Rita Hayworth film of the same name) was released from “Dave’s Dream” and detonated at 520 feet above the target fleet with a yield of 23 kilotons.

On this momentous occasion, the Fall River Ship’s Log simply noted: 0900 Atomic Bomb number 4 exploded.

-Bill McGee

5. Test Able (also COVER)

The mushroom cloud of the Test Able atomic bomb explosion, 1 July 1946 (Naval Historical Center)

5. Fall River crew looking at Able

Observing the aftermath of the Test Able blast from the deck of the USS Fall River (CA-131).  (Naval Historical Center)

(Excerpted from Operation Crossroads – Lest We Forget! by William L. McGee)

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