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From: John (HI) (
Subject:         Boom!
Date: July 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm PST

Yesterday's Sunday Star Advertiser had a huge front-page story about the nuclear weapon that was set off
above Johnston Atoll in July 1962. It brought back memories of my own participation in that historic event; so I put together this Letter to the Editor and sent it off a few minutes ago. Not sure it will make it into print
but it was enjoyable revisiting those memories.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:Night to Day (Sunday 7/8/12 Front Page Article)
Date: Mon, 09 Jul 2012 14:26:18 -1000
From: John xxxx

The spectators on Waikiki Beach saw an impressive demonstration of
nuclear physics in action as the hydrogen weapon
was detonated above Johnston Atoll on July 8, 1962.
As a young naval officer, my view was to be from a significantly closer
location, aboard USS Polk County (LST-1084), directly beneath the blast.
As part of Operation Dominic, our ship was loaded with scientific vans
and arrayed with antennas to capture the
effects of this first-ever nuclear detonation in the outer atmosphere.
We crew members were assured that the blast was
far enough above us that we would not be exposed to any radiation. We
were however, issued high density goggles, dosimeters to measure
radiation exposure, and steel helmets. Why the steel helmets, we
wondered? The explanation: the primary danger to us would come from the
large number of instrumented Nike missiles which would be launched in
conjunction with the Thor missile armed with the physics package.
Locations of impact for these Nikes couldn't be predicted. As a
precaution against potential damage to the instrumented vans aboard our
steel I-beams were placed on top of these valuable assets.
As the countdown for detonation was broadcast over the ship's PA (1MC)
system, we were directed to don our goggles and helmets, button our sleeves
and shirt collars, close our eyes and look down at the deck until the
event.was over. In spite of the goggles, closed eyes and looking down
and away from
the blast, the pulse detonation was brilliant, like a strobe light.
Immediately afterwards, I removed my goggles and looked up into a yellow
sky, with
odd dark striations. One of the scientists told me later that thousands
of iron rods had been released and lined up along the magnetic lines of
of our planet. The blood-red sky from horizon to horizon that followed
was truly unforgettable.
I'm not sure where all those Nike missiles landed; but I was pleased to
learn later that no instrumented vans nor un-instrumented people were

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