From Bikini and Operation Crossroads – Bill McGee recalls his letter home on 29 June 1946

On 29 June 1946,  I was one of 42,000 military, scientists, and civilian personnel stationed in or around the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

We were anxiously awaiting Test Able on 1 July 1946,  the first postwar atomic bomb test. Men doing duty on the support ships were issued special stationery with the not-so-subtle suggestion to write a letter home – maybe our last. I wrote to my mother and oldest sister, Doris.

The artwork on my envelope (pictured below) shows my ship in black, the USS Fall River (CA-131), and a bomb blast in red. On 1 July, a special cancellation was applied to 200,000 pieces of mail, with the killer bars reading “ATOMIC BOMB TEST/BIKINI ATOLL”. (The word “TEST” was cut off of my envelope.)

____________________________

Award-winning World War II military historian Bill McGee provides a complete account of his participation at Operation Crossroads in Operation Crossroads – Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee. (BMC Publications, 2016)

Related posts: Countdown at Crossroads – A Timeline

 

3 thoughts on “From Bikini and Operation Crossroads – Bill McGee recalls his letter home on 29 June 1946

  1. I wrote an historical fiction about this moment in history.

    I’d love to read yours.

    I also learned not to publish in the middle of a breakup…I got trashed.

    It’s a tough place to be writing today.

    Do you know Jonathan Weisgall? I dedicated my book to him.

    Stephen P. Robertson

    On Fri, Jun 28, 2019, 16:01 William L. McGee & Sandra V. McGee, Authors wrote:

    > William L. McGee and Sandra V. McGee posted: “On 29 June 1946, I was one > of 42,000 military, scientists, and civilian personnel stationed in or > around the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. We were anxiously > awaiting Test Able on 1 July 1946, the first postwar atomic bomb test. Men > doing duty o” >

    Liked by 1 person

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