The Manhattan Project

Reflections on the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Esequiel Salazar's Interview

[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation. Please note that approximately the first three minutes of the interview are audio only.]

Willie Atencio: Your name?

Esequiel Salazar: Esequiel Salazar.

Atencio: Born where?

Salazar: In Pojoaque.

Atencio: Pojoaque. What was your first experience with the Manhattan Project?

John Coster-Mullen's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. This is January 30th, 2017. We’re in Washington, D.C., and I’m with John Coster-Mullen. I want to start by asking him to say his name and spell it, please.

John Coster-Mullen: John Coster-Mullen, J-O-H-N C-O-S-T-E-R-M-U-L-L-E-N.

Kelly: Great. Some have called you “Atomic John.”

Coster-Mullen: Yes. 

Bruce Cameron Reed's Interview

Cindy Kelly:​ This is Monday, January 30th, 2017. I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation. We are in Washington, D.C., with Bruce Cameron Reed. If you could say your name for us and spell it.

Bruce Cameron Reed: Bruce Cameron Reed, B-R-U-C-E  C-A-M-E-R-O-N  R-E-E-D.

Kelly:​ Great. Bruce, tell us about yourself. I know you’re a professor at Alma College, but maybe you could start at the beginning—when and where you were born and how you got interested in science.

Bruce Cameron Reed

Bruce Cameron Reed is a physicist and a professor at Alma College. In this interview, he discusses a course he teaches at Alma about nuclear weapons and the Manhattan Project. He explains how he became interested in the physics and history of the Manhattan Project. He provides an overview of some of the challenges the Manhattan Project scientists faced and why uranium, plutonium, and polonium are so difficult to work with.

Russell E. Gackenbach's Interview

Alexandra Levy: We are here on December 27th, 2016, in Florida, with Russell Gackenbach. My first question for you is to please say your name and spell it.

Russell Gackenbach: My name is Russell E. Gackenbach. G-A-C-K-E-N-B-A-C-H.

Levy: Please tell us your place and date of birth.

Gackenbach: I was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, March 1923, on March 23.

Russell E. Gackenbach

Russell E. Gackenbach was a navigator in the 393rd Bombardment Squadron and 509th composite group. He flew on both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions. His crew flew aboard the Necessary Evil, which was the camera plane for the Hiroshima mission. Gackenbach photographed the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima. His crew flew again during the Nagasaki mission as the weather reconnaissance plane for the city of Kokura. 

Henry Frisch's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, November 17, 2016, Chicago, Illinois. I have with me Henry Frisch. My first question for him is to say your name and spell it, please.

Henry Frisch: Okay. It’s Henry Frisch, F-r-i-s-c-h.

Kelly:  Why don’t you tell us who you are?

Kennette Benedict's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. This is November 17, 2016, in Chicago, Illinois. I have with me Kennette Benedict, and the first thing I’m going to ask her is to say her name and spell it.

Kennette Benedict: Kennette Benedict. K-e-n-n-e-t-t-e, Benedict, B-e-n-e-d-i-c-t.

Kelly: Great. Thank you, Kennette, for being here. Why don’t we start with just a little something about who you are and why we’ve invited you here today.

Julie Melton's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly. This is Santa Fe, New Mexico, Wednesday, October 12, 2016. I have with me Julie Melton. My first question for Julie is to say her name and spell it.

Julie Melton: I’ve been widowed twice, so I’ve had a lot of last names, but my maiden name was Hawkins. My father was at Los Alamos. Now my name is Melton, Julie Melton. Just to make it complicated, I’ve written books on democratization in the developing world, and I used my pen name Fisher for that. So it does get complicated.

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