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Interview with Nick C. Aquilina, June 25, 2004


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Narrator affiliation: Manager, Department of Energy Nevada Operations Office (NVOO)

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Aquilina, Nick C. Interview, 2004 June 25. MS-00818. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Nick Aquilina June 25, 2004 Las Vegas, Nevada Interview Conducted By Joan Leavitt © 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 Nick Aquilina June 25, 2004 Conducted by Joan Leavitt Table of Contents Mr. Aquilina shares his family history and memories of growing up in a Pennsylvania mining community. 1 Mr. Aquilina discusses his education, military experience, and early work at the Nevada Test Site. 5 While in college, Mr. Aquilina worked in the Pocono Mountains resort area. He was later drafted into the Army and served until shortly before the Cuban Missile Crisis. 7 After leaving the military, Mr. Aquilina moved to Las Vegas with some friends he had met in the Army. 9 Mr. Aquilina was hired by Reynolds Electrical and Engineering Company [ REECo] and began working at the Nevada Test Site. 11 Mr. Aquilina describes his memories of the Cold War, McCarthyism, and American perceptions of the Soviet threat. 14 Public opinion in the 1950s was decidedly more supportive of the government than it is today, suggests Mr. Aquilina. 18 Mr. Aquilina shares more memories of growing up in Pennsylvania in the 1940s. 20 Mr. Aquilina describes living conditions for workers at the Nevada Test Site, as well as the housing market in Las Vegas during the 1960s. 22 Famous nuclear physicists, such as Edward Teller, stirred curiosity, admiration, and other strong emotions in test site workers. 25 The complex organizational structure of the test program often bred competition between the laboratories, civilian contractors, and other test site groups. 27 Mr. Aquilina describes the role of the test director in managing a nuclear test. 31 Mr. Aquilina narrates a series of photographs of various test site activities and personnel. 34 More photographs illustrate the relationships formed between U. S. and Soviet scientists during the Joint Verification Experiment [ JVE]. 37 Mr. Aquilina describes social life at the Nevada Test Site, employee morale, and efforts to entertain visiting Soviet scientists. 44 Mr. Aquilina discusses the positive attitude that prevailed among most test site workers. 45 The Joint Verification Experiment created logistical concerns, especially for the Soviet workers who were surprisingly inexperienced with regard to mining and underground drilling. 46 Mr. Aquilina contrasts the Soviet and U. S. nuclear testing programs, noting different approaches to radiological safety, organizational structures, and the use of technology. 49 The end of the Cold War has led to a new era of U. S.- Russian cooperation in order 53 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 to secure the warheads and hazardous nuclear waste created by the arms race. Mr. Aquilina shares his opinions of the relationship between the political aspects of arms control and the practical concerns of the testing program. 56 Mr. Aquilina recalls his role in nuclear tests conducted in Amchitka. 59 The Joint Verification Experiment generated significant interest from members of the press. 62 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Nick Aquilina June 25, 2004 in Las Vegas, NV Conducted by Joan Leavitt [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 2, Disk 1. Joan Leavitt: OK. The last time that I got to interview you, and also as I got to talk with Troy Wade, I was really impressed with the way you have a character of being a “ can- do” man, one who takes a job or a task that might be overwhelming to some. Just for example, when Troy Wade told you that you needed to go over to the Soviet Union [ USSR] and drill a hole, and you needed to take all of the drilling equipment and the drillers and all of the supplies and everything, and how you did it. You have a positive leadership, I like to call it a can- do type of personality. And what I really want to do with this interview is do some background, your growing- up, how you got some of those values, and the things that make you the person that you are, because I think that’s a part of the test site story. So that’s really what I’m hoping to accomplish with this interview here. Could we just start with where you were born? Nick Aquilina: I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in northeast Pennsylvania, in 1937. What day? June 10. So I just had my sixty- seventh birthday. Oh, OK. Congratulations. And the early part of my life, I lived in that area, in a small town called Pittston, Pennsylvania, on the Susquehanna River between Scranton and Wilkes- Barre. [ I] was raised in a small town, predominantly Italian, Polish, Irish coal miners. Was your father a coal miner? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 Dad was a coal miner, was a big baseball fan, [ and] a big baseball player, so we were raised in an environment of work hard in the coal mines during the week and play baseball on the weekends . I have two brothers. One is a professor now at Columbia University where he runs their language program for foreign business people, and my other brother was a doctor who’s now retired. Well, what about your mother? My mother was just a hard- working woman, raised in that area, lived her whole life in that area, was a beautician. When the kids came about, she retired and did all the neighbors’ hair for years and years. She was well- known in the area for doing all her neighbors’ hair. Now, do you know the immigration history of your parents? You’ve said Italian— Yes, but they were born here. My grandparents all came from Europe. OK. So do you know about what part of the century? Yes, they came over right around 1910, 1911. OK, did they come to Pennsylvania too and pretty much settle there? Came to Pennsylvania because of, again, the coal mining background. Up in the hills of Sicily, they mined sulfur, so when a lot of the people came over here during that period of time, must’ve been a terrible period of time in southern Europe when you consider how many people emigrated and came into the United States with nothing. I mean they left their homelands, they didn’t speak the language, and they came to America. A lot of them settled in New York City, but a lot of them who had a coal mining background went to where their relatives were and they went up into northeast Pennsylvania and became miners. Now it sounded like you have extensive family. Did your grandparents have a number of children? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 My grandmother and grandfather had seven, and his brother, my great- uncle, had eleven, and they all lived in the same block, so you had eighteen kids who then start having kids. Yes, they formed their own kind of community again. And we all lived right in the same area together, so it was a nice way of being raised. Now you say your father’s family settled around Pennsylvania. Did your mother’s family also? Yes, they also did, and they were also in the coal mining business. Oh, OK. Yes, in that part of the world back in the early part of the 1900s, you were either a coal miner or you didn’t work, I guess. Now I was just talking with a lady yesterday, Helen Draper, and she made the comment, and maybe you can support this or not, that coal mining with her family made her not experience the Depression. Was that true for you, or did you feel the Depression with coal mining? No, I didn’t feel the Depression like you see it in movies or on TV. John Steinbeck. Right, because my dad, being a ball player, usually had a job in the mines or on the railroad. They had company teams back in those days and you didn’t have what you have today, minor leagues, very much. A lot of the company teams were the pride of the town, if you see what I mean, and so my dad was a good ball player and as a result usually had a job, more because of his ball playing ability than anything else. And my mother being a beautician always was able to have some kind of a job as a beautician. So I was raised in the late 1930s, kind of the end of the Depression, close to the start of the Second World War, and I never personally experienced the Depression. But on the other hand, like many people say, we didn’t know we were poor, you know. We ate good and we lived fine. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 And you probably had the same standard of living as people around you. Exactly. Everybody had the same standard of living. Now your dad as a coal miner, he wasn’t a Loretta Lynn coal miner either, I’m kind of getting. Oh no, he was. After he stopped playing ball, he went down into the mines and worked down deep in the mines. In fact I just chatted with him recently at his ninety- first birthday. We were chatting about his experiences in the mines, of working in shafts that were thirty- six inch high, which meant you mined on your knees. And we always knew as kids somebody getting hurt or killed in the coal mines. We would hear the whistle blow and then we knew something— because shafts were all around us. Out West, the only place I know that’s similar is Butte, Montana. You go to Butte, Montana, you notice that there’s big A- frames right in neighborhoods. There’ll be one across the street from your house. Well, that’s how we were in Pennsylvania. We had mine shafts in our neighborhoods, and we had huge piles of culm, waste coal, all over the place, and you just grew up in that environment. But yes, my dad was a Loretta Lynn- type coal miner. I was a coal miner’s son rather than a coal miner’s daughter. But he’s lived a long life and the coal dust didn’t seem to— Well, he has black lung. He does have it. Not serious, obviously, but he has black lung. He gets a minor amount of pay for that. But he’s ninety- one years old and seems to be living fine. That’s good. Well, tell me about maybe going to school, the kinds of schools you went to. Well, good or bad when you’re a kid, the school was about twenty feet from my house, first to sixth grade. I couldn’t play hooky because the teacher would stick her head out the window and talk to my mom every day, because we were right there on the side of the school. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 How large a school was it? Not very large because it was a small town, ten to fifteen thousand people, growing up, and this was one of the grade schools. So I went to six grades there and then I went to the high school like most kids do. Again, it was very nice being in a small town back in those days. I just went back to my fiftieth high school reunion and it was like I’ve known those people during those fifty years. You just have that kind of relationship. Knew everybody, had a good time with [ 00: 10: 00] them all, and we reminisced: the football games, the basketball games, et cetera. So it was a nice town to be raised in. As you said earlier, we didn’t know we were poor because everybody had the same standard of living back there. My kids don’t believe me when I tell them, I never knew anyone who took any drug whatsoever, because it was a tough, coal mining town. And my kids always say, Well, there must’ve been drugs around, but I grew up in the pool rooms and I never knew anyone who took drugs. So it was just a good town to be raised in, as I look back now. A lot of fun. Played ball a lot. Hung around the pool rooms during the wintertime. And just a good town. So you graduated in 1954, is that right? Nineteen fifty- four. Now did you have any classes that you especially enjoyed that you took, or teachers that were memorable to you? I always liked math, so obviously my math classes I enjoyed. I enjoyed geography, history, those kind of classes. But high school was just a wonderful experience to me and I kind of enjoyed it all. Were you active in sports or—? I was very active in sports, played a lot of baseball. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 Of course. In sports that I wasn’t good enough to play in, I would be a trainer or a manager on that team, like on the basketball team, et cetera. But I grew up just loving sports. Baseball, basketball, and football, you know, that’s what we did as kids. I still do it to this day. Well, you said that’s how you and Freda [ Aquilina] had your first date. Freda and I met on a bus trip from the Nevada Test Site down to Dodger Stadium on May 11, 1963. We used to run buses three, four, five times a year from the test site on weekends to go see ball games. And Freda happened to get on that bus trip and I got on that bus trip and that’s how we met. And four months later we were married. It was an interesting way to meet. Now what year was that? It was 1963. OK, so that was nine years after high school graduation then. That’s right, and I’d been in the Army a couple years. I was drafted in the Army in 1960, got out in 1962, started working at the test site in 1962, met Freda in 1963, and we got married. People always say, Boy, you remember the date you met your wife, May 11, 1963. Well, the reason was that day Sandy Koufax, the pitcher for the Dodgers, pitched a no- hitter, and you can’t forget the day you saw a no- hitter. Those are the memorable things. They really were. And we lived at the test site. We got married and we lived out in a trailer at the test site, which was kind of fun. Again, we didn’t know at the time how much fun it was, but looking back, it was really an enjoyable time. You could live at the test site if both spouses worked at the site. They had trailers or dormitories, and we lived in a marriage trailer and kind of enjoyed it. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 Now was this at Indian Springs? No, right in Mercury. Mercury itself. Right in Mercury itself, behind the gate, so it was a very protected community, but we had softball games every night, we had a rec hall where we would have dances on weekends. There was always a card game going on, or ping pong games, or whatever, so it was kind of a fun place to live. And in that period of time we were working long hours. A lot of us were working six nines, six days a week, nine hours a day, and so a lot of people lived right there at the site. And there was a lot of young people. By “ young,” in their twenties, I mean. So it was kind of a fun place to be back then. Well, let’s kind of cover what you did between 1954 and 1962. Well, in 1954 I thought my goal in life was to own my own restaurant. I always liked being around resorts and restaurants. During the latter part of high school and then through college, I worked in resorts in the Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania and I enjoyed that kind of business, and my goal was to stay in that business. So when I graduated from high school, my dad required in my house that I went to college, or else I would’ve went straight into the restaurant business then. So I went to a local school, Kings College in Wilkes- Barre, [ 00: 15: 00] Pennsylvania, for four years. During the summers I would work in the Pocono Mountains in the resort areas up there. When I graduated from Kings College in 1958, with a degree in sociology by the way, only because I was just trying to get through college and get on as fast as possible into the restaurant business, I applied to Cornell University, which back in those days was the restaurant- hotel management school of the country, similar to [ what] UNLV [ University of Nevada, Las Vegas] is today, but back in those days Cornell was. And I was UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 accepted into Cornell, but when I got the bill Cornell was way above what I could afford at the time. Do you remember how much it was? No, I don’t but I knew it was more than I could afford at the time, so I said, Well, I’ll go work for a couple years in the business. So I would go down to Boca Raton, Florida, which today is a spectacular place but back then had nothing but the Boca Raton Hotel and Club, which was a fascinating, wonderful resort. Sammy Snead, the famous golfer, was our house pro. Freddy Martin, the famous band, was our house band. So it was a special kind of a resort. I would work there in the winter and then I’d go back up north and work in the summertime, with my intent being to go to Cornell University. In 1960 I was at the Princeton Inn in Princeton, New Jersey, on the campus of Princeton [ University] during football season— which was wonderful, from the Ivy League schools coming in— when Uncle Sam sent me my greetings. Which shocked me, because you may recall in 1960 nothing was going on anywhere. I mean it was one of those very few periods of time where there was world peace, if you will. But I got my greetings and I was drafted, so I spent the next two years in the military. After basic training in South Carolina at Fort Jackson, I went to San Antonio, Texas, at Brooks Army Medical Center, the hospital there, and lo and behold, I ended up in the psychiatric ward as the social worker for the female ward and spent my two years in a closed hospital with female patients, which was quite an experience because the first week or two I was deathly afraid. But after that I got to enjoy that job and it was a very rewarding kind of a job to have for an enlisted man in the Army. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 Nineteen sixty- two, the week before the Cuban crisis where Kennedy and Khrushchev had their famous almost- nuclear war between each of our countries, I got out of the service a week before that, October of 1962. Good time to get out. Well, I thought I was being called back in because I remember I flew up to Newark from San Antonio and my dad picked me up and we were driving up to Pennsylvania and we turned on the radio and they announced the Cuban blockade, where we blockaded anything from getting into Cuba. I was sure that I’d be called back into the service. It’s only over the last few years that we’re starting to realize how close we came to a nuclear confrontation. Oh, that Thomas Reed book was incredible [ At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War, New York: Ballantine, 2004]. Thomas Reed talks about that a great deal. So that was my little history then. But in any case I was not called back in and as you know that thing worked itself out without any major problems occurring. Well, then I had to find work. Again, I thought I’d still go into the hotel business, restaurant business, with the intent of some day owning my own restaurant. So I headed west, thought I’d find work out here, just to see how southern California was. I thought that’s where I was going. And en route I picked up two of my old Army buddies to come with me, and we were in Kingman. There’s a sign in Kingman, Arizona on the old Route 66 that says, “ Las Vegas, 30 minutes further.” Well, three young guys out of the Army, we thought we’d stop in Las Vegas, so we turned off on 93, off 66, and came into Las Vegas in November of 1962. There were the bright lights of Las Vegas, so we kind of liked that. But unfortunately in the next three weeks, two weeks, we went flat broke, the three of us— UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 Was that from gambling? [ 00: 20: 00] Thinking we were going to break the town with our few dollars that we had. We didn’t have very much. So we had to look for work. And I recall we knew some people from my home town who lived here and they said there was a company called Reynolds Electric and Engineering [ REECo] who were hiring people because of the resumption of testing after the three- year moratorium with the Soviet Union. And so we went down to the Reynolds Electric and Engineering facilities on Highland and walked in there, not having any idea what a test site was and who Reynolds was and who the Atomic Energy Commission [ AEC] was, for that matter. When they found the three of us had college degrees and just got out of the Army, they hired us immediately, and so we went to work for Reynolds. All three of you. All three of us. Now who were they? A guy named Rick Sullivan from Minnesota and a guy named Gary Bennett from Des Moines, Iowa. Did they both stay and make it their career like you did? No, they did not. Rick stayed a year or so and then he went back to Minnesota and got married and lived the rest of his life in the Minnesota area. I think he’s still there. And Gary spent about two years out here. In fact, Gary was in our wedding party later that year, the next year, and Gary then went back to Des Moines and went to work for 3M Company. I assume he’s still with them. But the three of us were Army buddies and came out here. We roomed together in the Army. Well, did your meeting and marrying Freda pretty much make it easier to set down roots then in REECo itself or the test site? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 Well, I never even considered it at the time, you know, you just go through life and things happen. I enjoyed working at the site. We were making relatively good money for the time. I think back now of what we were making. My first job at the test site, we were making I think it was $ 1.75 an hour, and we were getting $ 7.50 a day per diem, which sounded awful nice, plus we were living at the test site. Yes, probably better than Army wages. That’s right. Living at the test site, seventy- five cents a night for a trailer, and the cafeteria had wonderful food at very reasonable prices, so we just thought life was wonderful. And when Freda and I got married, we just continued that for a while, and then we moved into town eventually, moved into an apartment out on Tonopah Highway. I still call it Tonopah Highway— I guess it’s Rancho now— which seemed to be way out at the time. When I go by there now, it seems to be in the middle of town now but it was right across the street from the North Las Vegas airport. It was a small apartment complex there, owned by Bob Kost who worked at the test site, and all test site people lived there because it was a nice, the last kind of stop out to the test site, so you got on the bus right there and went out to the site. So that was a good place to live, for the test site people. In any case, you didn’t think about What’s my future? at the time. You just thought this was a wonderful job. The site was so busy in a nice way back in those days. Things were happening. Testing really resumed after the moratorium. Did an awful lot of tests out at the site. Being a REECo employee at the time, we didn’t realize all the significance of that. We just thought this is the way you did things. Somebody wants the job done and so that’s what you would do. Now you were more in the office. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 I was in the administrative side of the house. I eventually was the budget supervisor in REECo, but I was always in the management- budget side of the house, planning and budgeting. Kind of the accounting area? Related to accounting, but Freda was in the accounting side, but we were more in the planning and budgeting side of the house. But back in those days, I remember a key time was in 1966. We had one of the very few major strikes at the site by the construction workers. The site at that time was trying to develop what became known as a site stabilization agreement with the unions. And the unions went on strike right when a test had been done. I recall that they wanted to do post- shot drilling right after the shot. Usually after an event, the laboratories like to go back in and recover some of the material from under the ground. It’s called post- shot drilling. And with [ 00: 25: 00] the construction workers and the drillers on strike, a lot of us administrative people were asked to go out and help, and a lot of supervisors did the actual recovery. Well, we didn’t know what we were doing, but I went out and worked a thirty- six- hour shift at the mud plant, mixing mud and getting water for the mud. Thirty- six hours straight? Straight we worked, because we had to get that post- shot drilling done. Probably took some naps and stuff. But I remember we were out there, a number of us administrative people. Here we are driving water trucks that we never drove, and if you ever drove a water truck with that water sloshing back and forth as you went down the road, and then trying to back it up to the fill stand, it’s quite an experience, especially when you’re doing it at two, three o’clock in the morning and you don’t know what you’re doing. But we got through that and we did the actual post- shot drilling activities and mixed mud all night. Mud is what you use during the drilling process to [ 00: 26: 06] recoup the cuttings. So that was kind of an exciting, interesting time for us UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 administrative people, but it also got us in closer, if you will, with the lab people, who appreciated what we were doing. We became very good friends with a number of the lab directors, the test directors, Charlie Williams in particular, who was the test director for that particular shot. And later Charlie came to Nevada to become the deputy manager of the Nevada Operations Office [ NVOO]. So you never know when friends are to be developed and what happens to that friendship after. I then went to Idaho with Charlie, for example. When he became the manager of the Idaho Operations Office [ IDOO], I went up there to Idaho with him. That all started during that strike period of 1966. You were just one of those that did the job that needs to be done. Just went out and did whatever we were asked to do. You know, during the culinary strike we went over and washed dishes in the cafeterias, things like that, which in retrospect was kind of a nice way to make friendships out there and just get involved with all the activities. No grumbling, no resisting. No grumbling. You just went and did your job. So it was a great period of time, the 1960s at the test site. I’d kind of like to go back just a little bit, because it seems like the significance of the twenty- first century has to be understood with the attitudes that came out of the 1950s. Can you tell me what your attitude was, what the general attitude of the country was, for example, towards the Soviet Union during the early 1950s while you were in high school. Well, I think it all started in 1945, the postwar. You know, there was a different feeling, I think, in our country after the Second World War. We had beat down this Nazi terrorism. We’re first starting to hear about things like Auschwitz and what they had done to the Jewish population in eastern Europe during that period of time, and we started hearing all those things, and as young UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 people weren’t sure if you understood all that. You start hearing numbers, five, six, seven million people being killed by Hitler and his people, and I remember just shaking my head, not understanding how that could possibly occur. You know, when you live in a town of ten thousand people and somebody talks about killing seven million people, it’s hard to relate those kind of— Did it feel like that had to be an exaggeration? Not an exaggeration. It felt like it had to be a frightening thing and back in those days you didn’t have television, so you went to the movies and you would see news as part of your movie. Movietone News would be shown, and I could always remember seeing Hitler and seeing the German Nazi soldiers, the way they marched down the street. And so it was a relief. We thought it was the end of all world wars. The Second World War was going to be— of course the First World War they thought too was the end of all world wars, but surely we thought that after Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Japanese surrender, that this was the end of all wars. But then we started hearing about this guy named Joe Stalin, and then we started seeing— in the movies, Movietone News— we started seeing this thing called a mushroom cloud. And you started seeing those kind of things, and as you’ve all heard, people of your age, we [ 00: 30: 00] started doing things in school about jumping under your desk and hiding your eyes from the blinding lights, and you started seeing descriptions of how to build a facility in your back yard and underground. Was that the early 1950s? Late 1940s? Late 1940s, early 1950s, right after that first Russian test, which I’m not sure we understood the significance back then, other than it was quite newsworthy. I was twelve years old when the Soviet’s first test in 1949. But we started getting the significance. But the more frightening thing UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 was we went from Hitler to Stalin, and Stalin became that fearful- looking thing, if you recall pictures of him. So that period of time was very frightening. But then something came to divert your attention from all that, and that was the Korean War. I just missed the age for being drafted into that Korean War, because I was like fifteen, sixteen, but a lot of my friends that I played ball with were seventeen, eighteen. A lot of them got drafted and went to Korea. So Korea became the dominant factor as far as world fears and wars to us then. And the Soviet Union was part of that conflict, I mean as far as what you understood then? Yes, we understood that— in fact I recall thinking, Well, this may be the next step to another world war, with the Soviet Union. And of course the fear then was the use of the nuclear weapons. You wondered about these things and you would read a lot about these things. And there was an awful lot of Civil Defense activities back in those days. And it was to protect you against the Soviet Union, wasn’t it? That’s right. That’s right. OK. What did you see as far as the attitude towards Communism before the McCarthy era? The word “ Communist” was the same as “ bad guy” to me as a kid. Early, as a kid? Oh, always. I mean— Because I had understood that the United Mine Workers before McCarthy kind of were pushing the Communist Party. Well, if they were, I didn’t know that. Not in your area. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 16 Not in my area. Communism was a very scary thing to us. We never considered Communism as a way of life. We considered Communists as the enemy. One more enemy after Nazi Germany. That’s right. It was the same as the Nazis. In fact it was worse because Stalin, we figured, had the nuclear weapon. So no, Communism was a very frightening thing to us as a child. Did it seem reasonable to you that the Soviet Union had gone into eastern Europe? I mean was that a reasonable compensation for what the Soviets had sacrificed in World War II? I don’t recall thinking of that at the time. I don’t re