Monthly Archives: February 2020

Home Front / Bomb Testing / conclusion

Later improvements consisted of a 5,000-foot airstrip, an upgraded sewer system, dozens of semi-permanent buildings, including Quonset-and Butler-type steel buildings, over 500 concrete tent pads, and trailers for housing, administration, storage, and other uses. There were chapels, an open-air-theater with wooden bleachers and an elevated stage, a barber shop, and a beer tent. The open-air theater hosted entertainers from Las Vegas who came to Camp Desert Rock to perform for the troops. The camp had its own telephone system nicknamed the “Camp Desert Rock Telephone Company.” By the time Exercise Desert Rock VI had started in 1954, the camp had grown to 133 semi-permanent buildings and more than 500 framed squad tents. Large prefabricated buildings were built to serve as Signal and Quartermaster warehouses. The ordnance yard gained a pair of prefabricated storage buildings.

A helicopter landing area next to the airstrip was added for storing, maintaining, and refueling helicopters prior to exercises. Many of these later improvements to Camp Desert Rock were carried out by the Shore Battalion, 369th Engineer Amphibious Support Regiment, 95th Engineer Construction, 412th Engineer Construction, and 314th Signal Construction Battalions.

In October 1951, as part of Operation Buster-Jangle, the Army and the AEC prepared to test the ability of men and machines to move through ground zero within minutes after the detonation of an atomic bomb. The first shot did not involve live troops. Instead, various types of military equipment including Jeeps, trucks, tanks, personnel carriers, and half-tracks were to be used. Some were buried to various depths at distances ranging from two hundred yards to three miles from ground zero, while others were completely exposed. Heat, blast, and radiation sensors monitored the effects on each vehicle.

Soldiers from the 11th Airborne Division’s 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 127th Engineer Battalion, and the 546th Field Artillery Battalion observe a nuclear detonation called Buster Dog during Operation Buster- Jangle, six miles from ground zero at NTS, October 1951

In addition to observing nuclear detonations, troops received training in radiation and nuclear weapons effects. Personnel assigned to the camp were provided booklets that explained the importance of secrecy. They were prohibited from discussing nuclear tests, military maneuvers, or any effects they felt from the tests. They were also warned about the dangers of poisonous snakes and insects found in the Nevada desert, but the more deadly danger of radiation was rarely discussed. One training film said that radiation was “the least important effect” and that it was fatal only within a mile of a nuclear detonation. The men were taught that they could “live through an atomic attack and live to fight another day” and that a nuclear explosion “is one of the most beautiful sights ever seen by man.”

Exercise Desert Rock operations were staffed and administered by the Sixth Army’s III Corps. Exercise troops were assigned to Camp Desert Rock for periods lasting several weeks to participate in a particular military training program. Operation Buster-Jangle, comprised of seven nuclear detonations in late 1951, was the first nuclear test series during which a large number of troops assigned to Camp Desert Rock received realistic training in the tactical aspects of nuclear warfare. Over 6,500 troops, including those from the Army’s Atomic Maneuver Battalion, took part in the operation. Additional tests that took place over the years measured the blast and radiation effects on buildings, vehicles, various weapon systems, and animals.

188th/11th Airborne Division patch

Original plans called for the Army to dismantle Camp Desert Rock following Buster-Jangle and return all support units to their home stations. Instead, the Army ultimately chose to keep the camp open as a permanent installation to support additional nuclear tests. Immediately after Operation Plumbbob’s Galileo shot on 7 October 1957, the camp reverted to standby status, with a small caretaker staff remaining at the post. After the suspension of above-ground testing in 1957, the camp ceased operation as an Army sub installation effective 18 June 1964. Many of the camp’s structures were moved to other parts of the NTS.

The AEC resurfaced and enlarged the Desert Rock airstrip in 1969, extending the runway to a length of 7,500 feet. Although this airstrip was originally built to serve the NTS, it is currently an emergency landing site for any aircraft. Later additions included a National Weather Service facility and a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Surface Radiation (SURFRAD) station.

A number of troops assigned to Camp Desert Rock received realistic training in the tactical aspects of nuclear warfare. Over 6,500 troops, including those from the Army’s Atomic Maneuver Battalion, took part in the operation. Additional tests that took place over the years measured the blast and radiation effects on buildings, vehicles, various weapon systems, and animals.

In August 2010, the NTS was renamed the Nevada National Security Site. Most of the remaining Camp Desert Rock facilities except the airstrip were dismantled and salvaged for scrap. Today, the camp’s remains are located on Department of Energy property.

National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, NV

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Shout Out >>>>>

I think it is wonderful so many readers responded to our last Shout Out.  Isn’t it great to show one the Greatest Generation how much we think of them?  We now have a veteran who served in the US Navy, Pacific Theater turning 99-years old on 23 March 2020.  How about a birthday card folks?!!!

Arthur Hashagen

211 Persimmon Circle West

Dover, DE   19901

World War II vet’s family asks for cards for 99th birthday

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Murlen Berry – Weatherford, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/187/11th Airborne Division

Ray Catan – brn: ITA; US Navy, WWII, ETO

Frederick Dempsey – Lexington, KY; US Army, WWII & Korea

Claude Horne – Bleckley County, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, fighter pilot / West Point flight instructor

Gordon Jenke – Murray Valley, AUS; RAAF # 48753

John McDonald – Hollister, CA; USMC, WWII, CBI, 2nd Lt., & Korea

Joseph Pallotto – Wallingsford, CT; US Navy, WWII, USS Lake Champlain

Elwood Scheib – Berrysberg, PA; US Army, 188/11th Airborne Division, atomic test witness

Samuel Shields – Meridian, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 874th Airborne Engineers

Royce R. Wood – Gadsden, AL; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter gunner, 1st Cavalry

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Home Front / Bomb Testing / part two

On 18 December 1950, President Harry S. Truman gave his approval to use a portion of the U.S. Air Force’s Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range in southeastern Nevada for atomic tests. Construction of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), originally known as the Nevada Proving Ground (NPG), began in January 1951. Construction of what became known as Camp Desert Rock did not start until September 1951. The camp was named for Exercise Desert Rock, a series of atmospheric nuclear tests first conducted at NTS in 1951. This site included Yucca and Frenchman Flats, Paiute and Rainer Mesas, and the Camp Desert Rock area, which was used by the Sixth Army in the 1950’s to house troops participating in atmospheric tests at the site.

Designed as a military support facility for NTS, Camp Desert Rock began as a temporary camp originally part of NPG. It was located twenty-three miles west of Indian Springs, Nevada, in Nye County on Highway 95 and assigned to Sixth Army effective 12 September 1951. Headquarters, III Corps, Sixth Army, chose an area just outside NTS about two miles southwest of the Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) Camp Mercury. The site, in the center of Mercury Valley, was bordered by the Spring Mountains and the Spotted Range towards the north and east and the Specter Range to the west. The Army acquired 23,058 acres for Camp Desert Rock from the Department of the Interior on 5 September 1951.

The Army established Camp Desert Rock to stage and house troops involved in training exercises associated with nuclear weapons testing by the AEC. Personnel from all four services were deployed to observe the detonations from trenches, tanks, and armored personnel carriers. After the completion of exercises, the camp adhered to radiological safety measures throughout its use. In 1951, the Army, working closely with the AEC, carried out the Desert Rock exercises to “dispel much of the fear and uncertainty surrounding atomic radiation and the effects of gamma and x-rays.”

188th/11th Airborne Division at Desert Rock

The initial construction for Camp Desert Rock was accomplished by the 231st Engineer Combat Battalion, a North Dakota Army National Guard unit mobilized in September 1950 for the Korean War and based out of Fort Lewis, Washington. The battalion’s mission was to establish, build, and maintain the camp, and construct field fortifications at the atomic test sites. The 90th Engineer Water Supply Company handled the camp’s water supply, to include running water from a 190,000 gallon water tank, and several permanent type latrines with showers, flush toilets, and wash bowls. Temporary sumps for garbage disposal were built by the 597th Engineer Light Equipment Company.

Within the first six months of existence, Camp Desert Rock had grown from a few tents to a relatively comfortable, semi-permanent tent camp with many modern amenities. It had two permanent buildings for mess halls, each of which could accommodate 500 soldiers, electricity to all parts of the camp from nearby AEC Camp Mercury, and telephone, telegraph, and teletype facilities. A sewage system ran throughout the permanent part of the camp. In addition, the camp featured a permanent training auditorium with seating for 400, a post exchange housed in a Quonset hut, and framed and floored tents to house soldiers.

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Shout Out >>>>

Major White walks passed some of the 140,000 Valentine cards he received.

Those of you who were kind enough to send Major White, 104-year old veteran and oldest living U.S. Marine, a Valentines card – here is the story and end result!!

https://www.kcra.com/article/feeling-the-love-stockton-vet-gets-140k-valentines-day-cards/30936477#

 

 

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Military Humor – 

“Now is when we need a Plan B”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Cox Jr. – Guston, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Armando Groccia – Providence, RI; US Army, WWII

Last Flight

Ned Johnson – Vincennes, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Brandon T. Kimball – Central Point, OR; US Army, Afghanistan, Spc., 3/10/10/10th mountain Division, KIA

Frank Losonsky – Detroit, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 23rd Fighter Group/14th Air Force “Flying Tigers”, pilot

Matthew Morgan – Paladine, IL; US Army, SSgt., dive instructor

Glenn Neal – Konawa, OK; US Army, WWII, PTO

John “Donnie” Pullo Jr. – Boston, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO,Sgt., 82nd Airborne Division

Winsbury “Jim” Robinson – Kohimarama, NZ; RNZ Air Force / RAF # 413125, WWII, 485th Squadron, Spitfire pilot

Irvin Sullivan – Wichita, KS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt. Commander, PBY Squadron VP 12 “Black Cat Raiders”, pilot-navigator

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Home Front / Bomb Testing / part one

Desert Rock Camp

This is the first of a 3-part series about the nuclear bomb testing done on U.S. soil.  This part is the basic overview, the next 2 posts will cover more in detail.

Operation Buster–Jangle was a series of seven (six atmospheric, one cratering) nuclear weapons tests conducted by the United States in late 1951 at the Nevada Test Site, Desert Rock Camp. Buster-Jangle was the first joint test program between the DOD (Operation Buster) and Los Alamos National Laboratories (Operation Jangle). As part of Operation Buster, 6,500 troops were involved in the Operation Desert Rock I, II, and III exercises in conjunction with the tests.

Desert Rock I, II, III

Observer programs were conducted at shots DogSugar, and Uncle. Tactical maneuvers were conducted after shot Dog. Damage effects tests were conducted at shots DogSugar, and Uncle to determine the effects of a nuclear detonation on military equipment and field fortifications.

Desert Rock IV

Observer programs were conducted at shots CharlieDogFox, and George. Tactical maneuvers were conducted after shots CharlieDog, and George. Psychological tests were conducted at shots CharlieFox, and George to determine the troops’ reactions to witnessing a nuclear detonation.

Desert Rock V

Exercise Desert Rock V included troop orientation and training, a volunteer officer observer program, tactical troop maneuvers, operational helicopter tests, and damage effects evaluation.

A bomb named Buster

Desert Rock VI

Observer programs were conducted at shots WaspMothTeslaTurkBeeEssApple 1, and Apple 2. Tactical maneuvers were conducted after shots Bee and Apple 2. Technical studies were conducted at shots WaspMothTeslaTurkBeeEssApple 1Wasp PrimeMet, and Apple 2.

A test of an armored task force, RAZOR, was conducted at shot Apple 2 to demonstrate the capability of a reinforced tank battalion to seize an objective immediately after a nuclear detonation.

Desert Rock VII, VIII

Tactical maneuvers were conducted after shots HoodSmoky, and Galileo. At shot Hood, the Marine Corps conducted a maneuver involving the use of a helicopter airlift and tactical air support. At shot Smoky, Army troops conducted an airlift assault, and at shot Galileo, Army troops were tested to determine their psychological reactions to witnessing a nuclear detonation.

The last two tests, Operation Jangle, evaluated the cratering effects of low-yield nuclear devices. This series preceded Operation Tumbler-Snapper and followed by Operation Greenhouse.

11th A/B shoulder patch

Four U.S. Army units took part in the Operation Buster–Jangle “Dog” test for combat maneuvers after the detonation of a nuclear weapon took place. These 11th Airborne units consisted of:

  1. 1st Battalion 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment/11th Airborne Division
  2. 3rd Medical Platoon /188th Airborne Medical Company
  3. Platoon Company A/12th Engineering Battalion
  4. Battery C /546th Field Artillery Battalion

Personnel were instructed to create foxholes, construct gun emplacements and bunkers in a defensive position 11 km south of the detonation area. After the nuclear bomb was detonated, the troops were ordered to move forward towards the affected area. While traveling closer to ground zero, troops witnessed the nuclear weapon’s effects on the fortifications that were placed in the location in preparation for the tests. The ground troops got as close as 900 meters from ground zero before they were instructed to move out of the area. The Human Resources Research Office was tasked with gathering data on the psychological experiences of the troops after witnessing such a detonation and moving closer towards the affected area.

For the Operation Buster–Jangle series of tests, the Atomic Energy Commission created a set of criteria that must be followed if exposing armed forces, or civilians to the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.

to be continued……

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

George “Chip” Chiappetta – Morgan Hill, CA; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret. 36 y.)

Harold Drews – USA; US Army, Korea, MSgt., K Co./3/31/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Hungnam)

Javier Guttierrez – San Antonio, TX; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt., 3/7th Special Forces Group, KIA

Mike “Mad Mike” Hoare (100) – brn: Calcutta, IND; Royal Army, WWII, CBI, 2nd Recon Regiment, Major

Warren Kirsch – New Orleans, LA; US Army, WWII / USMC, Korea

Edward Nalazek – IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc., KIA (Tarawa)

Antonio Rodriguez – Las Cruces, NM; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt., 3/7th Special Forces Group, KIA

Frank Stevens – Cordova, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 radar specialist

Clarence Wells – Denver, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 803rd Aviation Engineer Battalion

Martin D. Young – Louisville, KY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, fireman 2nd Class, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

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The Marshall Islands & the Bomb

Marshall Islands

Between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear bombs on, in and above the Marshall Islands — vaporizing whole islands, carving craters into its shallow lagoons and exiling hundreds of people from their homes.

Operation Crossroads                

The first testing series in the Marshall Islands occurred under Operation Crossroads. The purpose of Operation Crossroads was to investigate the effect of nuclear weapons on naval warships. Testing in the islands began at Bikini Atoll with the Shot Able test, on July 1, 1946. After Shot Able, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists confirmed the power of these weapons. They determined that soldiers on ships up to a mile away from this explosion would be instantly be killed.

The U.S. then conducted the Shot Baker test on July 25.

From the Youtube video on Operation Crossroads

These tests were the first time that the U.S. tested nuclear weapons since the Trinity Test in 1945. These were also the first U.S. nuclear detonations since the “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” bombs dropped over Japan. Operation Crossroads ended on August 10, 1946, due to concerns over radiation, especially to the soldiers involved. In 1969, the U.S. began a long term project to decontaminate Bikini Atoll.

IVY

Operations Greenhouse and Ivy

In January of 1950, President Truman made the decision to increase U.S. research into thermonuclear weapons, which would lead to further U.S. nuclear testing. Operation Greenhouse, was a series of nuclear tests conducted at Eniwetok Atoll in 1951. These were done to test design principles that would later become pivotal in the development of the hydrogen bomb. The tests aimed to reduce the overall size of nuclear weapons, including the necessary amount of fissile material, while increasing their destructive power.

The U.S. conducted its first series of thermonuclear tests, Operation Ivy, at Eniwetok Atoll, in November of 1952. Shot Mike was the first successful hydrogen bomb test. Then, on November 16, the U.S. conducted the King Shot.

Marshall Is. test sites

Castle Bravo

The U.S. conducted its largest nuclear detonation ever, Castle Bravo, at Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954. This was part of Operation Castle, a series of thermonuclear tests. Bravo was over 1,000 more times powerful than “Little Boy.” Bravo used a device called “Shrimp” which used lithium deuteride as its fuel. Bravo was the first test of a deliverable hydrogen bomb.

Bravo fallout pattern

Despite potential risks, Major General Percy Clarkson and scientific director Dr. Alvin C. Graves ordered the test to continue as planned. Due to Castle Bravo radioactive debris was released into the atmosphere, and to surrounding atolls. The test was more powerful than scientists predicted. Ocean currents, weather conditions, and wind patterns contributed to this spread of fallout and debris. The fallout was composed of pulverized coral, water, and radioactive particles, and it fell into the atmosphere appearing as ashy snowflakes. This affected nearby atolls and U.S. servicemen. Traces of radioactive material were later found in parts of Japan, India, Australia, Europe, and the United States. This was the worst radiological disaster in U.S. history and caused worldwide backlash against atmospheric nuclear testing.

Bikini Is. relocation

Relocation of the Marshallese

In 1946, Navy Commodore Ben Wyatt met with the 167 people living on Bikini Atoll. Wyatt asked the Marshallese to relocate, and for use of their atoll “for the good of mankind.” He explained that they were a chosen people and that perfecting atomic weapons could prevent future wars. The residents were promised they could return one day, but realistically they had no choice in this matter. Immediately following this speech, the U.S military began preparations to relocate the residents to Rongerik Atoll, an uninhabited island with limited resources 125 miles away. Residents of Bikini Atoll resettled in 1969, but then evacuated in 1978, after radiation levels were determined to be excessive.

A month later, the Marshallese filed a complaint with the UN, but this did not prevent U.S. nuclear testing. In 1948, the U.S. government forced residents of Eniwetok Atoll to evacuate due to expanded nuclear testing with Operation Sandstone.

Now and Then

Timeline:

7/1/1946: Testing begins at the Marshall Islands, with Shot Able.

7/25/1946: Shot Baker is conducted, under Operation Crossroads.

4/30/1948: Shot Yoke, under Operation Sandstone, is conducted. This was the first fission weapon to use a levitated core design.

4/20/1951:  Shot Easy nuclear test is conducted at Eniwetok Atoll, under Operation Greenhouse. The Easy test was meant to test a new, lighter implosion bomb.

5/1951: Operation Greenhouse testing occurred at Eniwetok Atoll.

11/1/1952: The Mike Shot is conducted at Eniwetok, under Operation Ivy. This was the first U.S. thermonuclear test.

6/28/1958: The Oak test is conducted, at Eniwetok Atoll, under the Operation Hardtack I series. This was the 6th largest U.S. nuclear test. Hardtack I included 35 total tests. Hardtack I was the last testing series conducted on the Marshall Islands.

Clean up is still going on today.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Joseph Bullock – Sarasota, FL; US Air Force / FHP Trooper

Kirk Douglas (Issur Danielovitch) 103 – Amsterdam, NY; US Navy, WWII / actor

Gus Elias – Cannonsburg, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, APO, antiaircraft

Paul Farnes – Hampshire, ENG; RAF, WWII, ETO, 501st Squadron & 229th Wing Commander (Ret. 20 y.)

Oscar E. Koskela – Detroit, MI; USMC, PTO, Cpl., HQ Co./29/2 Marine Division, KIA (Saipan)

John McGlohon – Asheboro, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, ATO & PTO, Sgt., aerial photographer (only one to take pictures of the Hiroshima blast)

Harold Rafferty – Louisville, KY; US Army, WWII, PTO

Dan E. Reagan – USA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, fireman 1st Class, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Frank Wasniewski (100) – Jersey City, NJ; US Army, WWII, PTO, 98th Coast Artillery

Sophie Yazzie (105) – Canyon de Chilly, AZ; US Army Air Corps WAC, (a member of the Navajo Nation)

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The 4th Spy at Los Alamos – conclusion

Los Alamos and the Seborers

The new documents show that Mr. Seborer worked at the heart of the implosion effort. The unit that employed him, known as X-5, devised the firing circuits for the bomb’s 32 detonators, which ringed the device. To lessen the odds of electrical failures, each detonator was fitted with not just one but two firing cables, bringing the total to 64. Each conveyed a stiff jolt of electricity.

A major challenge for the wartime designers was that the 32 firings had to be nearly simultaneous. If not, the crushing wave of spherical compression would be uneven and the bomb a dud. According to an official Los Alamos history, the designers learned belatedly of the need for a high “degree of simultaneity.”

David Greenglass, Los Alamos spy

Possible clues of Mr. Seborer’s espionage lurk in declassified Russian archives, Mr. Wellerstein of the Stevens Institute said in an interview. The documents show that Soviet scientists “spent a lot of time looking into the detonator-circuitry issue,” he said, and include a firing-circuit diagram that appears to have derived from spying.

Greenglass implosion diagram

The diagram shows an implosion bomb. Several labels of the schematic diagram appear first in English, then Russian. In a 2012 analysis, Mr. Wellerstein described the order as “betraying their obvious roots in espionage.” The English labels include “Power Supply” and “Fusing Unit.” In a follow-up analysis, Mr. Wellerstein concluded that Igor Kurchatov, the head of the Soviet bomb project, drew the schematic for Lavrenty Beria, the head of Stalin’s secret police.

The Soviet diagram was dated June 1946, four months after Mr. Seborer left Los Alamos. It shows pairs of wires running from an electrical controller to detonators on the bomb’s exterior — a clear echo of the American reliance on redundant firing circuits.

The main appeal of implosion was that it drastically reduced the amount of bomb fuel needed. The dense metals were hard to obtain and far more valuable than gold. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were roughly equal in destructiveness — but fuel for the Nagasaki bomb weighed just 14 pounds — one-tenth the weight of the fuel for the Hiroshima bomb. The secret of implosion thus represented the future of atomic weaponry.

Slowly, nuclear experts say, bomb designers cut the plutonium fuel requirement from 14 pounds to about two pounds — a metal ball roughly the size of an orange. These tiny atomic bombs became enormously important in the Cold War, because their fiery blasts served as atomic matches to ignite the thermonuclear fuel of hydrogen bombs.

The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed some 80,000 people. But hydrogen bombs can pack 1,000 times the destructive energy — a terrifying fact of atomic life that generated widespread fear of mutual annihilation. A single SS-18 missile, the Cold War’s deadliest Soviet weapon — Western intelligence agencies called it Satan — could easily fire 10 or more hydrogen warheads halfway around the globe.

If the 1956 documents shed light on Mr. Seborer’s crime, they do little to explain why the United States kept the nature of his job and likely espionage secret for 64 years.

One possibility was domestic politics. Several atomic spy scandals shook the nation in the early 1950s, staring with the arrest of the first Los Alamos spy. His testimony led to the capture of the second, and to the execution of the Rosenbergs. The anti-Communist hysteria of the McCarthy era reached a fever pitch between 1950 and 1954. President Dwight Eisenhower, who had put himself above the fray, began to fight back with information leaks and administrative fiats.

Morris and Jack Childs, 1954

The story of Oscar Seborer’s atomic espionage is found in a few dozen easily overlooked pages scattered among tens of thousands of pages of FBI files released in 2011. The rest comes from partially released FBI files on Oscar and Stuart that document Operation SOLO, the codename for the FBI’s recruitment and direction of two communist brothers, Morris and Jack Childs, as informants inside the senior leadership of the Communist Party, USA, (CPUSA) from 1952 until 1980.

Mr. Klehr of Emory said it was late 1955 when the F.B.I. first uncovered firm evidence that Mr. Seborer had been a Soviet spy, prompting the inquiry that led to the Los Alamos correspondence of Sept. 1956. A presidential campaign was then underway, and the last thing President Eisenhower needed was another spy scandal. The same held true in 1960, when Mr. Eisenhower’s vice president, Richard Nixon, fought John F. Kennedy for the White House.

He noted, too, that much F.B.I. information about the Seborers had come from a hugely successful undercover operation known as Solo, which had infiltrated the American Communist Party in the 1950s and continued the monitoring as late as 1977. Most likely, the bureau wanted to do nothing that might risk revealing the identities of its informants.

While the F.B.I. remains tight-lipped, the C.I.A. has shown considerable pride in helping publicly unmask the fourth spy at wartime Los Alamos, perhaps in part because more than seven decades have now passed since Mr. Seborer first entered the secretive site in the New Mexico wilderness.

On Jan. 24, the intelligence agency gave Mr. Klehr and Mr. Haynes an award at C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia for an outstanding contribution to the literature of intelligence. Mr. Klehr, 74, said he and his colleague were delighted with the official recognition of their work. Even so, he said the two men foresaw a need for more research, despite having stumbled on the Seborers seven years ago and having already done much to unveil the hidden drama.

“There’s still a lot to learn,” he said.

This article was condensed from the records of the CIA.

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Military Humor – 

WAS KILROY A SPY TOO?!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kathleen Condliffe – Waipukurau, NZ; WAAF # 82629

Donald Emmons Sr. – Bay Minette, AL; US Navy, WWII

Paul Gualtieri – Prairie Village, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, SSgt., 58th Bomber Wing, radar

John Kildow – Post Falls, ID; US Navy, WWII / US Air Force, Korea

Betty McAdams – Albion, PA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

George T. Millson – Snobomish, WA; USMC, WWII, Korea / US Air Force, Vietnam

Dewey Partin – MIddleboro, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Dorothy Romer – Mindin, NE; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Ronald E. Shay – King City, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Miguel Villalon – Brownsville, TX; US Army, combat engineer, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

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Research for Stefaan…..  click on images to enlarge.

Camp MacKall

New Guinea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heard back from one contact, Matt Underwood, last night – here is an excerpt from that letter…..

Jeeps assigned to HHQ Co., 187th Glider Infantry Regt., would be if there were 2 jeeps assigned, then each bumper would look the same except one would end in a 1, and the other in a 2.
I will try to find the formula this fellow needs and get back to you by this upcoming Monday, mid-day.  Hopefully, I can find it tonight.  But even this information in this email here may help him to figure it out on his own.  Really and truly, the motor pool of the 11th Airborne Division and its elements would have used the same formula as every other Army unit….meaning, if he can find several examples of other unit markings, he can probably begin to learn how to alter them into similar form for the 11th A/B.

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The 4th Spy at Los Alamos – part 1 / Cindy Bruchmann book review

Last fall, a pair of historians revealed that yet another Soviet spy, code named Godsend, had infiltrated the Los Alamos laboratory where the world’s first atom bomb was built. But they were unable to discern the secrets he gave Moscow or the nature of his work.

However, the lab recently declassified and released documents detailing the spy’s highly specialized employment and likely atomic thefts, potentially recasting a mundane espionage case as one of history’s most damaging.

It turns out that the spy, whose real name was Oscar Seborer, had an intimate understanding of the bomb’s inner workings. His knowledge most likely surpassed that of the three previously known Soviet spies at Los Alamos, and played a crucial role in Moscow’s ability to quickly replicate the complex device. In 1949, the Soviets detonated a knockoff, abruptly ending Washington’s monopoly on nuclear weapons.

Stuart Seborer

The documents from Los Alamos show that Mr. Seborer helped devise the bomb’s explosive trigger — in particular, the firing circuits for its detonators. The successful development of the daunting technology let Los Alamos significantly reduce the amount of costly fuel needed for atomic bombs and began a long trend of weapon miniaturization. The technology dominated the nuclear age, especially the design of small, lightweight missile warheads of enormous power.

Mr. Seborer’s inner knowledge stands in contrast to the known espionage. The first Los Alamos spy gave the Soviets a bomb overview. So did the second and third.

Mr. Klehr, an emeritus professor of politics and history at Emory University, said the new information cast light on a furtive boast about the crime. Last fall, in the scholarly paper, the two historians noted that Mr. Seborer fled the United States in 1951 and defected to the Soviet bloc with his older brother Stuart, his brother’s wife and his mother-in-law.

Ship manifest

The paper also noted that an F.B.I. informant learned that a communist acquaintance of the Seborers eventually visited them. The family lived in Moscow and had assumed the surname Smith. The visitor reported back that Oscar and Stuart had said they would be executed for “what they did” if the brothers ever returned to the United States.

Last fall, the historians described the Seborers as a Jewish family from Poland that, in New York, became “part of a network of people connected to Soviet intelligence.” Both Oscar and Stuart attended City College, “a hotbed of communist activism,” the historians wrote.

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Stuart took a math class there in 1934 with Julius Rosenberg, they reported. In a notorious Cold War spy case, Mr. Rosenberg and his wife, Ethel, were convicted of giving the Soviets atomic secrets. In 1953 they were executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, N.Y., orphaning their two sons, ages 6 and 10.

The scholarly paper, written with John Earl Haynes, a former historian at the Library of Congress, appeared in the September issue of Studies in Intelligence. The journal, a C.I.A. quarterly, is published for the nation’s intelligence agencies as well as academic and independent scholars.

The Times’s article ran on Nov. 23, a Saturday. Four days later, a reporter sent the scholarly paper to Los Alamos and asked if the lab’s archive had any photos of Mr. Seborer or relevant documents.

Two weeks later, on Dec. 10, the lab emailed 10 pages of newly declassified documents from 1956. The material consists mainly of a correspondence between a top security official at Los Alamos and the lab’s branch of the Atomic Energy Commission, a federal agency that oversaw the weapons development site. The letters discussed an F.B.I. investigation of Mr. Seborer’s espionage but gave no specifics on what he may have delivered to Moscow. Instead, the exchange dwelled on the secrets available to him.

The documents include pages from a 1945 Los Alamos telephone directory as a way of confirming the suspect’s lab employment.

All three previously known Los Alamos spies told the Soviets of a secret bomb-detonation method known as implosion. The technique produced a bomb far more sophisticated than the crude one dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. A prototype of the implosion device was tested successfully in the New Mexican desert in July 1945, and a bomb of similar design was dropped on Nagasaki weeks later, on Aug. 9. Four years later, the Soviets successfully tested an implosion device.

The early bombs relied on two kinds of metallic fuel, uranium and plutonium. The bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima worked by firing one cylinder of uranium fuel into a second one, to form a critical mass. Atoms then split apart in furious chain reactions, releasing huge bursts of energy.

In contrast, the implosion bomb started with a ball of plutonium surrounded by a large sphere of conventional explosives. By design, their detonation produced waves of pressure that were highly focused and concentrated. The waves crushed inward with such gargantuan force that the dense ball of plutonium metal was compressed into a much denser state, triggering the atomic blast.

To be continued………..

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Book Review – “Inside The Gold Plated Pistol”  by: Cindy Bruchmann

I am not adept at doing book reviews and I rarely do one for a fiction piece, but our fellow blogger and U.S. Navy Veteran, Cindy Bruchmann, has created a very unique volume.

Inside the Gold Plated Pistol, Cynthia Bruchmann

As characters are being introduced, you are following the plot through the eyes of that person.  With each view, the story-line progresses.  Early on you will discover what is Inside the Gold Plated Pistol, but you will need to continue reading to see what becomes of the people surrounding the mystery.

I enjoyed Cindy’s insistence on researching 1928 and on into the 1930’s era.  The Native American relationship with the white man (or woman).  Her use of detail only enhances the tale.  I was amazed to learn that Hershey’s Kisses were around that long ago, what the movie industry was like or that Bob’s Big Boy diners started back then – who knew?

I don’t think I should continue any further, lest I give huge spoilers away – and that is not my intent.  But I do hope I piqued your interest!!

Check it out!!

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Military spy Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John T. Avella – brn: Solopaca, ITA/Tom’s River, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO, 405th Infantry, Bronze Star

George Correia Sr. – Tiverton, RI; US Navy, WWII

Verne Hinkle – Jackson, MI; US Army, WWII, infantry

Andrew Klein – Forest Grove, OR; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt. JG, USS Sanborn, navigator

Ruth McVaden (100) – MS; US Army WAC, WWII, ETO, Specialist, nurse

John J. Murphy – Chicago, IL; US Air Force, Vietnam, jet engine mechanic

Ryan S. Phaneuf – Hudson, NH; US Air Force, Afghanistan, Captain, 37th Bomb Squadron, KIA (E-11 crash)

Charles Ruggles – Tucson, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII,PTO, Co. I/511/11th Airborne Division

Lester Sanders – San Augustine, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Ryan K. Voss – Yigo, Guam; US Air Force Afghanistan, Lt. Col., HQ Air Control Command, KIA (E-11 crash)

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