Aboard the USS Fall River, (CA-131), Bikini Atoll, 27 May 1946 – On 27 May at 0626 Bikini Island showed on the radar. Finally, we had arrived.
As soon as we were granted liberty, a dozen Sixth Division gunner’s mates and I went ashore. We wanted to explore this place chosen for such an ominous event as two atomic bomb tests. We also wanted a few cold beers and to play some softball. It was 100 degrees without a trace of a breeze, so we called off the softball and swam in the lagoon. To our further disappointment, the Bikini beer shack – aka the Coral Reef Tavern – had no refrigeration and the beer was warm. At five cents a bottle, no one was complaining about the price, but there was a lot of griping about warm beer and two beer limit.
Excerpted from Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee.