Aboard the USS Fall River (CA-131), International Date Line, 24 May 1946 – On 21 May, the USS Fall River (CA-131) weighed anchor in Pearl Harbor and set sail for its final destination some 2,100 miles southwest of Hawaii: Operation Crossroads at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
When the Fall River crossed the International Date Line on 24 May, clocks were set ahead 24 hours to minus 12 zone time. The skipper and Executive Officer awarded all hands membership in the Imperial Domain of the Golden Dragon — an unofficial but highly coveted award of the United States Navy and the United States Coast Guard given to crew members of ships that cross the International Date Line. On Bill McGee’s membership card above (actual size), note the references to “Operation Crossroads” on the left side of the card and above the “Golden Dragon” in the main body of card.
Excerpted from Operation Crossroads, Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 by William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee.