Countdown at Crossroads – 25 July 1946, NBC Radio broadcasts live from Test Baker atomic bomb blast at Bikini

BIKINI LAGOON, BAKER DAY, 25 July 1946 — Millions of people around the world waited anxiously by their radios for the results of the second postwar atomic bomb test code-named Test Baker.

At 0835 on 25 July by the Bikini calendar (24 July in New York), the Baker bomb was detonated underwater in the Bikini Lagoon and NBC Radio in the Pacific captured the event live.

Author Bill McGee observed Test Baker from the deck of the USS Fall River (CA-131), Flagship for the Target Fleet, positioned 10 to 12 miles from the blasts. Read Bill’s full account of his participation in Operation Crossroads – Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, 1946. Available on Amazon.

As it would turn out, the Baker blast was far more dramatic than the Able blast and did far more damage. Visible to observers were the damage and destruction to the target vessels… but invisible were the effects of the bomb’s poisonous radiation.

5. Baker - Condensation cloud

“… The spectacularly beautiful dome of water, steam, spray and gas reached up and outward with awful suddenness.” – Hanson W. Baldwin, aboard the press ship USS Appalachian. By Wireless to The New York Times, July 26, 1946


The voice on the NBC Radio broadcast: Don Mozley (left) with Sandra and Bill McGee in the recording studio at Command Productions, Sausalito, California, December 2009. 

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