Aboard the USS Fall River (CA-131), Bikini Atoll, 30 Jun 1946, Test Able Minus 1 – One day to go to the big day, Test Able on 1 July, an atomic bomb detonated in the air. There was a lot of activity in the lagoon. The USS Fall River (CA-131), under the command of Rear Admiral F. G. Fahrion, USN, was responsible for positioning the 95 target vessels in a section of the lagoon. The crew of the USS Burleson (APA-67) was responsible for placing test animals on some of the target vessels.
By darkness, every single support ship and man was evacuated from the lagoon and accounted for. The feeling was eerie. I don’t remember if I slept that night. There was little talk among the crew. We were all thinking about the next day. No one knew what to expect.
Excerpted from Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee.