Media Release: Operation Crossroads, June 2016

Operation Crossroads - FrontCover

Front cover, 1800 x 2700 pixels, 300 dpi



CONTACT: Sandra McGee

70 Years Since Operation Crossroads

An Eyewitness Account of 1946 Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests

 A new book by WWII military historian William L. McGee was released in June to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Operation Crossroads – the first postwar atomic bomb tests in the Marshall Islands.

San Francisco Bay Area, CA, June 20, 2016 – Seventy years ago in July 1946, millions of people around the world waited anxiously by their radios for the results of the first postwar atomic bomb tests code-named Operation CROSSROADS.

William L. McGee, USN, witnessed Crossroads from the deck of the heavy cruiser USS Fall River (CA-131), the Flagship for the Target Fleet of Vice Admiral W. H. P. Blandy’s Joint Task Force One.

McGee was one of the 42,000 military, scientists, and civilian personnel assembled at the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands for the postwar testing of the atomic bomb on an array of ships and animals. In the words of Vice Admiral Blandy, “In the face of this new knowledge [reference to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 6 and 9, 1945], these recently discovered truths concerning the atom, so suddenly thrust upon an already chaotic world, not only warfare but civilization itself literally stands by the Crossroads. Hence the name of this Operation.”

To commemorate the 70th anniversary, McGee has recounted his story in Operation Crossroads – Lest We Forget! An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946 (BMC Publications, June 2016, 132 pp, 59 photographs and illustrations. Paperback $19.95. Kindle edition $9.99. Available from Amazon).

A prolific World War II military historian known for his spare and straightforward writing style, McGee gives an eyewitness account of his participation in what scientists considered the most significant event of the twentieth century – from the plan that was comparable to a major wartime battle plan, to the build-up, the rehearsals, the tests, and the all-important later lessons learned about the devastating effects of radiation on man, animal, and ships – that no one saw coming.

“I wrote this book to help preserve a part of history few know about today,” says McGee. “If your time is limited, I recommend reading the Foreword by Dr. F. Lincoln Grahlfs, a Crossroads participant and Vice Commander of the National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV). Also Chapter 11, ‘Later Lessons Learned.’ In this chapter, Dr. Oscar Rosen, also a Crossroads participant and a longtime advocate for atomic veterans, suggests a possible cover-up by certain members of the military who may – or may not – have known about the dangers of radiation inherent in nuclear weapons – facts which remained classified for more than 50 years.”

“The subject is timely,” says McGee. “As I was writing the Preface in April 2016, the Nuclear Security Summit was wrapping up in Washington, D.C. proving that the threat of nuclear warfare is very much in the news today and threatens Western civilization. We have to learn from history – lest we forget.”

William L. McGee has garnered critical praise for his World War II military histories including his memoir within a history, Bluejacket Odyssey, 1942–1946: Guadalcanal to Bikini, and the acclaimed Pacific war trilogy, Amphibious Operations in the South Pacific in WWII. Volume III in the trilogy, Pacific Express: The Critical Role of Military Logistics in World War II, was selected to be on the Marine Corps Commandant’s Professional Reading List as required reading on logistics for all officer and enlisted Marines.

Bill and his co-author/wife Sandra live in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. They may be reached at or on their website at

Book Details
Operation Crossroads – Lest We Forget!
An Eyewitness Account, Bikini Atomic Bomb Tests 1946
William L. McGee with Sandra V. McGee
Foreword by F. Lincoln Grahlfs, Ph.D., National Association of Atomic Veterans and author of Voices from Ground Zero
BMC Publications, June 2016
132 pp, 59 black/white photographs and illustrations
Paperback $19.95, Kindle Edition $9.99
Available from Amazon

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