Bikini Atoll, 10 July 1946 – The days between Tests Able (1 July) and Baker (25 July) seemed to drag on for my Fall River shipmates and me. There wasn’t much to do. If we had a liberty, the only place to go was ashore on Bikini for some softball, a swim in the (contaminated?) Lagoon, and two warm bottles of 5-cent beer at the beer shack. (There was a two-beer limit on liberty.)
One of my buddies, Dave Morris, was Yeoman for our Sixth Division Gunnery Officer. In Navy jargon, a Yeoman was a “feather merchant,” aka a secretary.
Dave was a prankster. One afternoon, a bunch of us got fed up with a certain coxswain who was always mooching beer from us when we went ashore. Dave decided we play a trick on him. “The beer was always warm, so a bunch of us took a few empty beer bottles and—let me put it this way—we skipped going to the head. We lined up the bottles and waited for this coxswain to show up. He comes along, grabs a ‘free’ bottle of beer, and starts to take a swig. We caught him just in time, at least I think we did. (Dave laughs). Boy, was he mad, but we cured him of mooching beers from us.”
(Excerpted from Operation Crossroads – Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account by William L. McGee.)