Aboard the USS Fall River (CA-131), Pearl Harbor, Mar/Apr 1946 – On 12 March 1946, the USS Fall River pulled into Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. (Hawaii would become the 50th state in 1959.) The Fall River had departed Hampton Roads, Virginia on 31 January and Pearl Harbor was the third stop on the heavy cruiser’s voyage to Bikini — the first and second stops being the Panama Canal Zone and the Port of Los Angeles respectively.
Honolulu was another good liberty town. I had been to Honolulu during the war, so my fellow Sixth Division Gunner’s Mates talked me into playing tour guide. We had to have our picture taken, this time wearing beards.
We had drinks and danced with the hostesses at the Honolulu Beer Garden (think the 1953 movie From Here To Eternity and Mrs. Kipfer’s dance hall).
On 23 March, President Truman postponed the date of the first A-bomb test from 15 May to 1 July. Under other circumstances, six more weeks in Honolulu would have been good news. However, we were growing restless. No one knew what to expect from the atomic bomb tests and we were anxious to get on with it.
Excerpted from Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee.