Interview With William G. Himmert

From the interview with William G. Himert of Oregon, IL conducted by Oran DeBois by phone from the Fort Worden History Center on December 7, 2004. Mr. Himert served in the U.S. Army 369th Engineer Amphibious Support Regiment from 1950 to 1952, most of the time at Fort Worden. Here he describes his experience at Camp Desert Rock, NV during the atomic bomb tests:

“Went to Desert Rock and we were there for about three months in the spring of the year. I was there for seven A-bomb tests. I saw five of them. I was up forward for four of them. I hope I never have to see one of those again. The closest we ever got was about a mile, mile and a half.” Interviewer: Did they give you any protective gear?  “No, no. We were in slip trenches. One of the first jobs I had when I first went down there was to string wire for the PA system. The range people and the officers were running it. They were all in a big time reinforced concrete steel bunker back in the mountains about ten miles back. They were telling us, ‘You ain’t got nothing to worry about.’ It was quite an experience to go through that. As soon as they fired, we’d just drop down in the trenches til the shockwave would get over then we could get up again and watch it. Then they’d take us up and walk us through it and see what a mess it made.”

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