NBC radio reports live from Test Baker, 25 July 1946. Run time 14:30. (Courtesy of Hoover Archives)
Aboard the USS Fall River (CA-131), Bikini Lagoon, 25 Jul 1946, Test Baker – At 0835 on 25 July by the Bikini calendar (24 July in New York), the 23 kiloton Baker atomic bomb was detonated underwater in the Bikini Lagoon. Though both the Able and Baker bombs were 23 kilotons, the Baker blast was far more dramatic and turned out to be much more hazardous than the Able blast.
The enormous cloud of water from the Baker blast dispersed a spray which covered all the target ships in the Lagoon as well as the support ships positioned ten or more miles away, including the USS Fall River. Hanson W. Baldwin, military affairs editor for The New York Times, observed Test Baker aboard the press ship USS Appalachian. In his 26 July column he wrote, “The spectacularly beautiful dome of water, steam, spray and gas reached up and outward with awful suddenness….”
The Late Don Mozley
L to R: Don Mozley, Sandra McGee, Bill McGee. Command Productions, Sausalito, CA, December 2009 (Author Collection)
One of the on-air voices on NBC Radio’s live broadcast from Bikini on 25 July 1946 was Don Mozley (1:05-1:26).
Fast forward to 2009. Don Mozley and Bill McGee’s paths crossed at a Broadcast Legends luncheon in the San Francisco Bay Area. Don was by then a renowned broadcast journalist having spent 62 years with CBS Radio and KCBS/74 in San Francisco. Bill had worked for NBC Radio in 1960 in the Spot Sales Division in New York City. The two had a lot to talk about.
Bill and I had just published Learning To Cope With Sight Loss: Six Weeks at a V.A. Blind Rehabilitation Center. The book was available in paperback and eBook formats. However, given the subject matter, it made sense to produce an audio format. Don Mozley agreed to be the narrator. The late television producer Ed Dudkowski was Bill’s voice. ABC’s Emmy-winning news anchor Cheryl Jennings recorded the women’s voices. The paperback and audio CDs are now out-of-print, having sold out to various blinded veterans’ organizations.
Excerpted from Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee.
Available in Paperback & eBook