Radiation to Radiance

Bomb Certificates

Documents of my father’s participation in and witnessing of 131 nuclear explosions:

This letter came at the end of the war, after Trinity, the first nuclear test and the dropping of bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. My father was present at Trinity. He personally escorted the bombs “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” on trains from Los Alamos to the West Coast. At one point the bridge truss ripped the canvas covering the bomb. He stopped the train, re-engineered the bridge and the train continued. The rest is history.


Operation Plumbbob was the sixth test series and consisted of 29 explosions, 1957. It was the biggest, longest, and most controversial test series in the continental United States to date. Almost 1,200 pigs were subjected to bio-medical experiments, and blast-effects studies during Operation Plumbbob.


D.C. Van Dine, my father, first person on the left, watching explosion of George one of 4 nuclear weapons that were a part of  Operation Greenhouse, Eniwetok, 1951. National Geographic June 1986 and August 2005. Photo credit USAF.

My Dad was the construction engineer who took the equations from the Los Alamos physicists and created working bombs.

Operation Castle, 6 tests released large amounts of nuclear explosion products (especially fission products) into the atmosphere, causing hundreds of radiation injuries, 1954.

Operation Hardtack I and II with a total of  72 explosions.  In 1958 the arms race proceeded  with the enormous weapons production infrastructure and both weapons labs, Los Alamos and University of California Radiation Laboratory (later Lawrence Livermore), operating at full speed.

On 31 January 1950 Pres. Harry S. Truman publicly declared the U.S. intention to develop a hydrogen bomb.  Operation Ivy, the worlds first two hydrogen bombs, named Ivy Mile and Ivy King, were detonated in 1952.

The island where the device was detonated was vaporized. The hole Ivy Mike left was big enough to accommodate 14 Pentagon-size buildings and deep enough to hold a 17-story building under water, in a crater one mile in diameter and approximately 175 feet deep.

Operation Redwing, 17 test nuclear weapons at the Pacific Proving Ground, 1956. Each weapon was named after a Native American Indian Tribe.

Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, 1958. The only information I could find on the Internet about this certificate was in obituaries. Each man had died from cancer.

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