Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Interview with Philip Lyle Ulmer, January 11, 2005


Download nts_000156.pdf (application/pdf; 246.64 KB)





Narrator affiliation: Manager, Protective Force, Wackenhut Services, Inc.

Digital ID


Physical Identifier



Ulmer, Philip Lyle. Interview, 2005 January 11. MS-00818. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. It may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by UNLV. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. For more information, please see the UNLV Special Collections policies on reproduction and use ( or contact us at

Standardized Rights Statement

Digital Provenance

Original archival records created digitally

Date Digitized



42 pages





Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Philip Ulmer January 11, 2005 Las Vegas, Nevada Interview Conducted By Suzanne Becker © 2007 by UNLV Libraries Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews conducted by an interviewer/ researcher with an interviewee/ narrator who possesses firsthand knowledge of historically significant events. The goal is to create an archive which adds relevant material to the existing historical record. Oral history recordings and transcripts are primary source material and do not represent the final, verified, or complete narrative of the events under discussion. Rather, oral history is a spoken remembrance or dialogue, reflecting the interviewee’s memories, points of view and personal opinions about events in response to the interviewer’s specific questions. Oral history interviews document each interviewee’s personal engagement with the history in question. They are unique records, reflecting the particular meaning the interviewee draws from her/ his individual life experience. Produced by: The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project Departments of History and Sociology University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 89154- 5020 Director and Editor Mary Palevsky Principal Investigators Robert Futrell, Dept. of Sociology Andrew Kirk, Dept. of History The material in the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project archive is based upon work supported by the U. S. Dept. of Energy under award number DEFG52- 03NV99203 and the U. S. Dept. of Education under award number P116Z040093. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these recordings and transcripts are those of project participants— oral history interviewees and/ or oral history interviewers— and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U. S. Department of Energy or the U. S. Department of Education. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Philip Ulmer January 11, 2005 Conducted by Suzanne Becker Table of Contents Introduction: marriage ( 1958), move to Las Vegas, NV ( 1959), work with NLV Police Department, takes position as security inspector at NTS ( 1963) 1 Work as security inspector for Wackenhut Security at the NTS: Roller Coaster, Rover, beginnings of underground testing 3 Working underground and in tunnels 5 Move into management in the security operations unit 7 Change in security procedures after the Munich Olympics terrorist incident ( 1972) 8 Work as plans and events coordinator for nuclear tests 9 Details creation of craters during nuclear tests ( Bilby, Sedan) 11 Physical effects of underground tests, in Hattiesburg Mississippi for test, remembrance of Boxcar at NTS 12 Escorting weapons from assembly areas to ground zero 15 Promotion to captain ( 1983), in charge of safety and plans as well as operations unit, later placed in charge of field force 17 Running the 350- person field force ( 1985- 1990) 19 Promotion to deputy chief ( 1990) and retirement ( 1994), dealing with protesters at the NTS and views on civil disobedience 22 EG& G helicopter crash ( 1991) and other accidents at the NTS 27 Sense of camaraderie and of participating in important Cold War work at the NTS 28 History of the NTS, and the “ gee- whiz stuff” and new technology that testing achieved 31 Work as DOE consultant 34 Minimal radiation exposure at the NTS, and thoughts on the NTS license plate 35 Thoughts on the creation of the Atomic Testing Museum and the importance of historical developments during World War II and the Cold War 37 Conclusion: Significant security changes during tenure at the NTS 41 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Philip Ulmer January 11, 2005 in Las Vegas, NV Conducted by Suzanne Becker [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 4, Disc 1. Suzanne Becker: Let’s begin. Phil Ulmer: My wife and I had decided to get married about 1958, I think it was. And we decided that we didn’t want to live in the area of the country that we had been born and raised in, which was northwest Missouri. And we decided that the Southwest might present better opportunities for us. So I came out here by myself in January of 1959. I was in Phoenix for a few weeks and I couldn’t find any suitable employment down there, and I had an opportunity to come up here. And I worked at different little things until I finally got a steady job here. Then I became interested in law enforcement and I joined what they call the reserve force on the North Las Vegas Police Department. I worked there for a couple years, I think, volunteered down there a couple, three shifts a week, and liked that work. In fact I had taken the test there at the North Las Vegas Police Department and I had taken the test with the Las Vegas Police Department. Metro didn’t exist then. There was the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, but I didn’t apply there for reasons we won’t go into here. That was the old days. Anyway, there was an ad in the paper for security guards at the [ Nevada] test site, as I recall, long about April or May of 1962. So I answered the ad, went down to the employment office at Sixth and Carson and had an interview down there and passed the questions they had. They gave me forms to fill out and I filled those out, and I didn’t hear anything for a while. Then along about November, or maybe sometime before that, I got a letter asking me if I was still interested, and I replied that I was. Along about November of ’ 62, I got a notice that I had been granted a security clearance and that I was eligible to be hired at the next opportunity for a class. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 And they [ Wackenhut Security] called me up one day in February of 1963, like Wednesday or Thursday and said, Come to work Monday. And I said, Well, that’s really not fair to my employer. I have a steady job and I need to give them notice. And they said, It’s the only choice you have. So I went to my boss and told him what the deal was and he said, Don’t worry about it, he said, Go ahead. I’m not going to give you a bad rap. Just go ahead. It’s a better job. Go. So I went. And we received a week’s training at the time, firearms training and recognition of the badges, what the different symbols and so forth meant, and the various general activities that were going on at the different locations at the test site, and a familiarization tour of the test site. There’s one very memorable thing that I want to bring up that occurred during that week of training. It impressed me then and it still impresses me now. And it’s still in the DOE [ Department of Energy] orders someplace [ at the time, this would have been AEC.] I tried to find it a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t find the book that it’s in. I can’t quote it but I can paraphrase it, and it said that it will be impressed upon each new hire security inspector, which was the title at that time, the amount of trust that has been placed in them, and that we are giving them the [ 00: 05: 00] responsibility of protecting and custody of the country’s most valuable assets— and that this will be impressed upon each new hire as strongly as possible. Now, those are not the exact words but that’s the idea. And was that part of your training? And I thought, these guys are serious and this really is important and it is serious business. And I’ve never forgotten that. Next month it’ll be forty- two years since I heard that. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 Wow! Did you realize before you went out there exactly the magnitude of what you were going to be doing? No, of course not. I’m a kid from a little town in Missouri and what do I know about atom bombs? Nothing. And back in those days, very few people did know anything about nuclear weapons. Anyway, I worked in what they called the field force at the time. I worked on the guard stations. I worked on the motor patrols. We did different jobs. We had a ninety- day probation period and I had only been there a couple of months, or maybe even less than that, and they sent us to Tonopah a couple of times. They were having some tests up there in the [ Operation] Roller Coaster series that involved alpha dispersion, and basically it was an explosive attached to some plutonium. They detonated an explosive and then studied the scatter of the plutonium and the different trans- plutonic elements. And those were not atmospheric tests per se because they did not go nuclear. There was no fission or fusion involved in those explosives, though, because it was just a dispersal test. And that’s what they— I never actually witnessed an above ground nuclear test. I was going to ask you that. They stopped those just a few months before I went to work up there. I forget when the last one was, but it was sometime in 1962 [ July 17, 1962, Little Feller 1] And I didn’t go to work until early 1963, so I never saw an atmospheric test. Also about that time, for some reason— you learned real quick not to ask questions. You learned to do the job and mind your own business. And for some reason, I was assigned to the most sensitive area that we had at the test site at the time and— UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 What area was that, or which was it? We can’t get into that. OK. Just thought I’d try. And anyway, it kind of irritated some of the old timers, that here’s this new kid and they’re sending him out there and it’s considered a plum job. I was kind of the odd man out there for a while with the rest of the guys. But anyway, all that passed. During this time there was also an active nuclear reactor program going on over in what they now call Area 25. I believe it was the Rover project. It was a NASA [ National Aeronautics and Space Administration] program and it was nuclear- powered space propulsion engines. There was another program to develop an air- breathing engine that would operate within the Earth’s atmosphere, using the reactor for heat in a very similar way that a jet engine uses fuel to generate heat, and you suck cold air in the front and blow hot air out the back. The main problem being with this one that they were developing with the nuclear source, of course, was that what came out the back was pretty radioactive. It was unacceptable in that regard. Anyway, I worked around both of those programs some and I saw those engines run a number of times and actually witnessed that awesome [ 00: 10: 00] power that’s associated with those things. And these were the things that they were developing in the area that you were working in, or just out at the test site at the time? No, that had nothing to do with that other story. This is just general— Just what was going on at the time. OK. And then of course all the time they were testing bombs. They had just started, due to the fact that with the treaty with the Russians at the time, they could no longer test in the atmosphere, they couldn’t test in space, they couldn’t test underwater. The only testing that was allowed was UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 underground. So they were just beginning to learn how to test underground, if you will, learn how deep to bury these things so no radioactivity escaped, learn how to put the diagnostic instruments that they needed, how to array them around the device and so forth, and how to get all that in in a package that they could get underground. So I didn’t realize it at the time, but I got to witness all that as it happened. I didn’t really understand at the time everything that was going on, but I got to see that. I’ve seen them drill holes as big as 144 inches across. That’s twelve feet. Wow. How deep? I have seen holes drilled over three thousand feet deep. Now that was unusual. Have you ever been down in one of those? I’ve been more than a mile underground. What’s that like? Well, it’s really no different than being twenty feet underground, you know. If you’re underground, you’re underground. It’s like being in an airplane. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fifty thousand feet or ten thousand feet. It’s a similar thing. That’s true. That’s just deep. Working underground is a different thing. I spent a lot of time back in the tunnels. We had a lot of tests— military- related tests, military hardware- related tests— that were done underground in what they called horizontal line- of- sight pipes. I believe there’s a section of pipe in the [ Atomic Testing] museum down there. And there was an energy source at one end and they exposed the experiments along different points of the pipe and studied how the different things functioned, or whether they did function or not, and how the radiation affected them and so on and so forth. Some of those tests would take a year- and- a- half, two- and- a- half years from start to completion. They were very complex and very involved. And those tests, when you worked around one of UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 those, you were quite often a mile underground and maybe, I’m talking about horizontal, you were back a mile or more underground and maybe, eight, twelve, fifteen hundred feet below the surface. And we had a couple of other locations where tests were made in vertical shafts. There was a couple of them done in granite up at the north end of the test site. As I recall, though, the deeper one of those was around fifteen hundred feet. And then there were drifts or tunnels, if you will, that were mined off from that at that depth. And they tested military equipment and things in those places, too. That was all, of course, after they could no longer put the tanks and airplanes and whatever out there and see what the bombs did to them anymore; you couldn’t do that outside. It all had to be done underground. It had to be done in some other way. I spent about nine years working out in the field that way, working on the guard posts and the various stations. The shortest post we had was twelve hours. The longest post we had was fifteen- and- a- half hours. We worked a four- day week. That was the standard week. There was [ 00: 15: 00] always overtime if you wanted it. After a while, I didn’t want it. Those are long days. Mrs. Ulmer: They are, especially when you have a family. Yeah. Phil Ulmer: Fifty to sixty hours a week was enough. Did you stay out at the test site or did you commute? I did both at different times, depending on what job I had at the time. After that first eight or nine years, one of the management people came to me and talked to me one day, and wanted to know what plans I had for my future with the company. I said, UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 Well, gee, I don’t know. You got any ideas? And he said, Well, I think you ought to work around these different units and get to know the entire operation better by working in it. And then he said, If you’d like we think we’d like to put you into management. So at that time I was an officer in the union and, of course, you know we were enemies, the company and the union. And I didn’t really know how I felt about that. We talked about it, and my wife said something to me that I’ve never forgotten and I still thank her for it. She said, You know, you can do better than spending your life on a guard station. And I said, Well, OK. Maybe I can. So anyway, I went into some of the different special units that we had. I spent a few years, or I spent a short time in the badge office where people come in to get their badges and so forth. I learned that operation. I spent a short time in the supply unit. But the main promotion that I got and the main job that I got that put my career on an upward path, if you will, was when I went into what they call the operations unit. That’s where the orders for the different guard stations, the different jobs that were going on, all that was coordinated through there and programmed through that unit. And that unit also escorted the weapons. We received a lot of weapon parts and different things at various locations. Sometimes they were trucked in. Sometimes they were flown in. We would get them from the couriers. Sometimes the couriers would deliver them directly to the points where they were to be delivered. Sometimes the pilots, of course, couldn’t do that. We would go to the various airport locations and pick up various components, sign for them and take custody of them, and then we would haul them or escort them. If they were too big for us to haul, they would be hauled in bigger trucks and they would go to the laboratories. And this is still within the security unit. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 Yes. And I was promoted to sergeant in that unit after just a short time. And then I can’t remember how long I was in there, but it was only a year or two, I think, and they promoted me to lieutenant. And I was one of the— I think we had a twenty- four- hour operation in that unit going at that time, so there were four of us that covered that. And we also had, at about that time, a special response team set up. That was shortly after the incident at the Munich Olympics when the Israeli athletes were murdered. Do you recall that? I don’t recall the date, but I think it’s around 1972. I was going to say, I think that happened in the seventies. Somewhere in that vicinity. And that kind of got everybody’s eyes opened up a little bit about terrorism, and it got people thinking, well, gee, maybe somebody would really like to steal one of these bombs. And maybe they can make it go bang and maybe they can’t. We don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. If they got it, they can blackmail us. So security was added. The physical layout of the facilities where these weapons [ were] stored, [ 00: 20: 00] assembled and handled was beefed up considerably. And the amount of personnel protection was beefed up considerably. And there was a lot of money spent in that effort to better protect the weapons and the components. And I participated in all of that in some way, in a small sense, and sometimes maybe in larger ways, in helping come up with ideas about how to do these things and going to other facilities to see how they did things. Look at their equipment, look at what they had done, all that kind of stuff. So I was beginning to participate in a lot more interesting things than I had been when I was working as a guard. And also at that time, I assumed the responsibilities of what they called the plans and events coordinator. And in that job, when there was a nuclear test— now there were two of us that did this job and we rotated. Anyway, whoever was on duty, when there was a test, we went UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 out two or three days ahead of time, talked to the operational people out there, found out what was going on, took a look at the plan for getting the area evacuated and getting everything set up for the test, and making sure that all the safety requirements were complied with, and so forth, and coordinate[ d] a lot of things with the laboratories, with the DOE and with the other users to make sure that all this worked smoothly. So it sounds like you really had to know all the different working aspects of the test site and all the different operations that were going on. Absolutely. And the previous years of experience out in the field and working around these ground zeros, working around these assembly areas, working around the various places, had given me the exposure to know and understand how it all came together and how it worked; how the pieces came in the front door and they went someplace and they got put together and then they got taken out here and then they got put in the hole and the hole got filled back in and the test was conducted. So anyway, on this job as plans and events coordinator, we would have a weather briefing on what we called D- minus- 1. [ Day- 1] And they would look at the weather, look at the preparation. The scientific people would certify that the test was ready, that they were able to conduct it and that all their systems were up and running, and so on and so forth. The weather people would make their presentation and give us either the good news or the bad news or the maby news. And this would usually occur in the afternoon the day before the test, two or three o’clock in the afternoon. And then if they decided to go ahead and proceed for the test the next day, there would be another weather briefing scheduled. Let’s assume that they wanted to conduct the test at seven a. m. Well, seven a. m. doesn’t sound early unless you think about the UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 fact that 1,350 square miles of real estate has to be looked over. Not all of that, maybe only eight hundred square miles of it. That’s still significant. It all has to be looked at. All the buildings have to be secured and they have to be assured that all the people are out of them, and we had to make sure everybody is moved out of the danger area. And the security force did that in cooperation or, came along after the user personnel [ 00: 25: 00] assured that their buildings were empty. Now if you got a motor pool operation, there’s somebody in charge of that motor pool, and he goes through there at some scheduled time and says, yeah, all my mechanics and everybody are gone, the building’s empty, I’m going to lock it up, and they put a seal on the door to assure that it’s locked. Well, then the guard comes along later and sees the seal on the door and he says, OK, I know this building’s empty. Well, that’s done over hundreds of square miles and hundreds of buildings. And you do that the morning— That’s done during the night. OK. So that’s a long night leading up that morning. The night shift starts with that job and they start at six in the evening. They go out and they get their briefings and then they do their thing all night long to get all this done. So, assuming seven o’clock zero time, then you want to back that up about two or three hours for another weather briefing to make sure that the winds and whatever else is going on are all OK, and that the wind’s not blowing toward some populated area and so forth. Then assuming that everything is OK, the captain of the guard would call me. I’m sitting on the console with the DOE test controller and his panel down here and I’m one of about twelve people sitting up here with various jobs, and the captain of the guard calls and he says the area’s clear. And I pass the word UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 to the man that the area’s clear. Then they give permission to arm the device, and then the arming party comes out, and they conduct the test either on time or close to it because maybe some little glitch or hitch or something— So that’s quite an operation leading up to one test. And now you’ve conducted a nuclear test, [ and] you have to make sure that there’s no radioactivity escaping into the atmosphere. So there’s an array of radiation detectors that are put around that ground zero that can be remotely read. They look at those things and they say, well, OK, we don’t see anything here. Usually within an hour or two hours, but there’s absolutely no rule about this, but there’s typically a collapse [ that] occurs. They usually waited until that collapse had occurred and continued— A collapse of the tunnels? See, you usually didn’t get a collapse of the tunnel but with a vertical shot down in the flats, you did. Here’s what happened. You got a bomb buried; let’s say it’s buried a thousand feet underground. And it doesn’t matter what size it is, it’s going to make a big bang and the ground’s going to rock and roll and shake. Well, that bomb creates a cavity and the temperatures and the pressures that are created by the fission and/ or fission- fusion, depending on what type of a weapon it is, create a cavity. That cavity is directly proportional in size to the energy that’s generated by the weapon. There are rules of thumbs on this but I don’t want to get into that. You get a big cavity down there. If you got a big weapon, you get a really big cavity. There’s a cavity out there, if you ever go out there on a tour sometime, there’s a crater out there called Bilby. I don’t think we saw that one. Have you seen Sedan? Yes. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 Sedan is pretty impressive. Yeah. Huge. Sedan was created by a nuclear weapon that had a yield of approximately one hundred kilotons, one hundred thousand tons of TNT. Now it came out of the ground. It’s what they call an ejecta crater. These other craters are what they call subsidence craters because after this cavity grows, it can only grow so much until the energy and the pressure of the surrounding medium equalizes with the pressure that has been created by the explosion that quits growing. And [ 00: 30: 00] then as the gases cool and the medium around the cavity starts to absorb the heat from this thing, the cavity starts to cool and fall in from the top. As soon as it gets cool enough, that falling in from the top just keeps going to the surface. When you get to the surface and you have a collapse, there’s typically a saucer- or- bowl- shaped subsidence. Interesting. I did not know. OK, so now the subsidence has occurred at some time after the event. They’re still looking at the radiation monitors. They’re showing nothing. So the test controller makes the decision to send a reentry team in. They go in and they do a hand survey around to make sure [ there is] no malfunction with the instruments or anything. No, we don’t have any gases coming out here or there, so forth. They check everything and they say it’s OK. Then they open the area back up and people go back in and go back to work. That’s basically what happens when they conduct a nuclear test. So if I could just ask, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about witnessing the atmospheric tests, but I’m just wondering what it’s like out there when they did the underground tests. You mentioned that the ground shakes. That’s true. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 Is it pretty substantial? The amount of ground motion is directly proportional to the energy of the weapon, and the distance that you are from the weapon, and the medium that you are standing on and/ or the weapon is in. It’s all interrelated. How far were you usually from the site, from where they shot it off? Well, I’ll give you some extremes. I was in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1964 when they conducted a small shot down there. As I recall, it was 5 kilotons. And I was a mile- and- a- half away on a roadblock sitting in a pickup truck, OK? To make sure that the farmers don’t stray in. I’m sitting on some little side road someplace. And they come on the radio and they say, you know, we’re minus so- and- so and everybody get in their vehicle. Nobody standing on the ground. And I’m thinking, Hmm. I’m twenty- four years old and I’m a kid, you know, and I’m thinking, I wonder what that would feel like if I was outside. Kind of bend my knees, you know. And I’m thinking, no, because if I get hurt, then you know there’s going to be trouble. So I thought, I’ll just get in the truck. And am I ever glad I did. I have never had anything impact me in such a way that that did. It was just like [ smacks hands together loudly] something hit the bottom of that truck just like that, only a lot harder. And the truck’s jumping up and down. [ Chuckling] And I’m thinking, I’m glad I got in the truck. The other extreme that I can think of was when they shot off a 1.3 megaton device up in Area 20 called Boxcar. And I was probably fifteen miles away. And there was a tremendous amount of earth motion that went on. The power lines whipped back and forth until you were afraid they were going to snap. Wow! And this was fifteen miles. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 And it was not a single roll. It was a back- and- forth. We’ve been in a couple or three earthquakes since then and this was stronger than any earthquake that I have been in, been near, so far. Amazing. That power is amazing. Yeah. But those are extremes. Normally you would not be that close to a weapon. You would not be a mile- and- a- half, even, from a small weapon. And that soil in Mississippi is absolutely, [ 00: 35: 00] totally, 100 percent saturated with water, so it conducts shock just like rock does. There’s no cushion. It just goes right through, boom! So you got all that energy even a mile away, mile- and- a- half away, whacking you. And of course, at the test site, the ground structure, the rock structure and so forth, is different. Then there’s different types of medium, and they tend to attenuate the shock a little bit and it disperses in different directions and, funny things happen with seismic stuff, with seismic signals from the underground detonations. But anyway, those are two extremes. Normally we were further away. You still feel a shock but it’s not like any of those. No, I can recall being in the CP [ control point] building doing that job on that panel that I spoke of and feeling the building shake and you hear it creak a little bit. It’s not enough to be scary. Of course, you’re expecting it. Not as strong as a couple of earthquakes that we’ve felt here, for the most part. There may be an exception or two to that. But you know it’s primarily matter of distance, medium, size of the energy source. Mrs. Ulmer: Well, we felt some down here, too. Phil Ulmer: Oh yeah, they were felt here. Mrs. Ulmer: I remember one time Doug was drinking a cup of coffee or something and he was talking about the tidal wave going across his cup of coffee. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 Phil Ulmer: Yeah, if you watch the chandelier, or you get in a doorway and brace yourself against the door then you can feel that little bit of motion, you know, things like that. So anyway, I worked in that job for about 10 or 12 years, and that section had different duties and that was one of the duties that I had when I worked in that section. And then another duty was escorting the weapons from the assembly areas out to the ground zeros. And you drove them or drove along with them? How did that—? We escorted them. Way back when I was just a baby security guard, I remember I worked for that section for a few days one time when somebody was sick or something, and this was before things had really tightened down. And I can recall going to a bunker and I’d been told, Go to bunker so- and- so, and so- and- so’s going to meet you out there and he is going to give you a couple of pigs, and take them down to the airport and the plane’s coming in at, and sign them over to the pilot. And I said, OK, what am I giving him? He said, Well, a couple of pits. And so I went out to bunker so- and- so and we loaded these two little what they called lead pigs. They had handles on them and they probably weighed a hundred, hundred- and- twenty- five pounds apiece. Set them in the floorboard of the front of the pickup truck. And I drove them down to the airport. “ Pigs,” like pigs? No, lead pigs. It was a just a nickname for a container. The thing was this big [ indicating size], square— Like a foot or so, maybe? And maybe this tall, you know, and it had a couple of handles on it. And it was a lead shielded container, is what it was. But inside were the innards for a couple of bombs. And, that’s just the way things were done way back when. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 16 I recall the first time I went to Tonopah, I’d only been working about maybe six weeks at the time. They told us to report to a certain place out there on the range. And we went out there and the lieutenant, who I had never seen before, he’s looking around and he says, You. [ And I said], Yes, sir. He said, You ever work a ground zero before? And I said, Yes, sir. He said, Come here. You see over there on the other side of the valley where all those arcs come together, you see that point over there? And I said, Yes, sir. He says, You go over there and at – I don’t know, some time, you know, four o’clock or something – they’re going to have a dry run and if the dry run is [ 00: 40: 00] good, then they’re going to put the lid on the box��