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