Countdown at Crossroads – Later Lessons Learned

5. Sailors scrubbing Searaven

Men in harm’s way. Sailors scubbing down the target vessel submarine USS Searaven (SS-196) during Crossroads clean-up, 6 August 1946. (Defense Nuclear Agency)

According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science, by 1996, 22,000 of the 42,000 participants of Operation Crossroads had died. Many of them died from causes that can only be attributed to radiation poisoning, while many of the survivors are suffering today from a variety of radiogenic diseases.

In 1996, the late Dr. Oscar Rosen, one of the nation’s leading authorities on the dangers of radiation inherent in nuclear weapons, and whom I had the privilege of knowing, presented an excellent paper on the dangers of radiation inherent in nuclear weapons research. Dr. Rosen was also a Crossroads participant and witnessed Test Able from the floating drydock ARD-29 about 15 nautical miles from the explosion. Decades later, he would serve as the National Commander of the National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV) and was the editor/publisher of Atomic Veterans Radiation News, a leading source of information in the world on the consequences of nuclear weapon testing.

In Dr. Rosen’s paper, his later lessons learned cover how U.S. military leaders ignored the advice of many experts from the scientific community and – worse yet – how there was evidence of an ongoing cover-up by the Department of Defense that started with the Bikini tests in July 1946. -Bill McGee

Click to read “Operation Crossroads” by Dr. Oscar Rosen, 1996

2 thoughts on “Countdown at Crossroads – Later Lessons Learned

  1. I’m a veteran of the Radiological Safety Group of Operations CrossRoads. No cancer. I steamed under the Able downwind cloud for severall days and patrolled the Baker lagoon with a geiger counter. My brother-in law was the late Clarence Larson, Lawrence’s chemist, President of Union Carbide Nuclear, Director of Oak Ridge, and, finally, Commissioner of the AEC. He showed me AEC documents that advocated Hormesis, the positive affect of low levels of ionizing radiation, He claimed that residents of northern latitudes, with higher cosmic ray bombardment, Navy nuclear ship construction workers, and Japanese survivors of initial blasts live longer. The AEC has officially denied the phenomenon. Ive stopped following the controversy. In any event, radiological damage trom Crossroads must have varied considerably.
    The Navy shed itself quickly of its self made danger, but the army made serious errors in exposing GI’s to the Nevada tests.
    In any event, sweeping fatality claims seem unsubstantiated.
    Dean Warren


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