Bikini Beer Shack, May 1946 – Operation Crossroads 75 Years Ago

1-5. Beer shack

The Coral Reef Tavern on Bikini, May 1946 (Courtesy Charles P. Minton)

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.

Operation Crossroads 75th Anniversary

Bill McGee’s unused chit for two warm beers at the Coral Reef Tavern on Bikini, May 1946 (Author Collection)

Next up: Rehearsal for a Bomb, 24 Jun

Previous: Imperial Domain of the Golden Dragon

See the Series: Operation Crossroads 75th Anniversary Retrospective


Operation Crossroads 75th AnniversaryExcerpted from Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee.




Leave a comment...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.