Nuclear Scientists Traveled Beyond Los Alamos

Los Alamos scientists in 1949 rescue a giant turtle at Bikini Island.

Los Alamos, New Mexico was unlike any other place in America during World War II. The secret city was located 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe on a mesa in the Jemez Mountains. It was the ideal location for the U.S. government to create the atomic bomb. It was far off and away from any metropolitan area. To get to the atomic hamlet you had to climb a difficult mountainous terrain even in the dead of winter.

Check’s in the Mail, So’s the Baby

Not only was transportation a problem, good luck getting a letter from your Aunt Melba. The only official mailing address for Los Alamos was U.S Post Office Box 1663 in Santa Fe. Each day, come rain or shine, a courier picked up the mail in Santa Fe and drove it up the hill to Los Alamos. Several babies were born during the Manhattan Project. P.O. Box 1663 became the the home address on all birth certificates.

Nuclear Testing in the Pacific Ocean

In 1949 a group of scientists were assigned new duties far from their families in Los Alamos. The contingent travelled to Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands. In addition to performing nuclear tests, the men witnessed some of the carnage of World War II. There were remnants of blasted hulls of American and Japanese warships. These rusting vessels were a reminder of the futility of war. After the group completed their work in the Pacific Ocean they were grateful to return to their homes in the mountains of northern New Mexico. In 1957 the gates that protected the secret city were taken down. People were now at liberty to travel to and from Los Alamos without scrutiny.

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