A-BOMB TESTS IN THE PACIFIC

Older Than Dirt

 
I was out there when they did one of the A Bomb tests in the Pacific. I am so confused I really donít know where I was or what the exact year was. I came in the Navy in 1946 and I had not been in that long. I think I was still a seaman Ė may have been PN3 by then. There was a pretty little island not far away but they removed all of the people from it before the test. We were quite a distance away from the main blast but still too close for comfort. It was an awesome sight when they set that thing off. Not much to say about it that you canít read about in books. But I hope I never see anything like that again. Iíve lived to be an old man so I guess it didnít hurt me that much. A lot of friends I knew from those days got sick and died awful young. But the Navy never seemed to be that concerned about it. Me and the wife quit smoking around 1970. I was retired by then (PNC). The doc said there were some scars in one of my lungs Ė turned out to be a problem with the Xray film, not my lungs. But it scared us both enough to quit. I havenít smoked since then. We were driving back from my physical at NAS Millington, Tennessee Ė kept a half used pack of Marlboro cigarettes in the car for months after that but neither one of us touched it.

REPLY FROM OLD SENIOR CHIEF 1946: OK - I wrote this one, in memory of an old friend. Older Than Dirt (OTD)  died in January of 2011 He was  in his mid eighties. He was involved in the A-Bomb tests in the Pacific in the late 1940's and he often talked about it. I would like to hear stories from others who participated in those tests. Maybe some of you knew him - William E. "Bill" Gooch.

   

REPLY FROM OLD SENIOR CHIEF 1946: OTD was a gifted artist. The first photo above was from the early 1960's. He is showing off some of his artwork; the second photo is a drawing he made from his imagination showing American soldiers around a campfire in the Revolutionary War; the third photograph shows OTD with Vice Admiral Fitzhugh Lee, circa 1958, holding a sketch he made of the Admiral. His work appeared in All Hands and various other Navy publications.

REPLY FROM OLD SENIOR CHIEF 1946: Photo of OTD taken in 2003 - a Proud Mason. He kept his sense of humor and stayed mentally sharp until the day he died. He was a credit to the Goat Locker! I met him through one of my websites back in 1999. We were distant cousins and were both looking into our genealogy back then.  He was a helluva nice guy and we grew very close over the years. He was like an older brother to me. He is missed by all of us who were close to him.

daltonphillips@namvetsonline.com

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