I was stunned to open the brown manila envelope, that was part of my parent’s estate, containing 6 certificates testifying to my father’s involvement in the creation of atomic and hydrogen bombs.
Also included in the envelope was a hand-typed, black leather bound history of my father. This book, typed by his secretary on April 4, 1958, outlines his duties, job descriptions, travel dates with destinations, letters from military officials, and a letter from the President of the United States.
“The island of Elugelab is missing!” President Eisenhower heard this short report on the Mike shot in Operation IVY from Gordon Dean, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
Operation Ivy was the eighth series of American nuclear tests. Two explosions were tested in 1952 at Eniwetok Atoll in the South Pacific proving grounds in the Marshall Islands. The first test, Mike, dropped October 31, 1952, was the world’s first successful hydrogen bomb. Mike was named after “m” for megaton, was also known as the Super bomb. This hydrogen bomb produced a fireball more than three miles across. One of the atolls was totally vaporized, disappearing into a cloud that spread 150 square miles and dropping back to the sea in the form of radioactive fall-out covering 800 square miles.
The second test, Ivy King, “k” for kiloton, was dropped November 19, 1952. The King bomb’s yield was 10 megatons, producing a fireball wide enough to engulf one quarter of downtown Manhattan. The test shot left a crater one mile across, big enough to fit 14 Pentagon size buildings. The mushroom cloud above the crater rose to a height of 32 Empire State buildings. This single blast yielded more force that all the bombs dropped by all the Allied Forced during World War II.
In 1952 my father was the Acting Chief of Operations at Eniwetok Island, in the South Pacific Proving Grounds.