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Interview with Ernest Benjamin Williams, October 27, 2004


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Narrator affiliation: Budget and Logistics, Atomic Energy Commission, U.S. Department of Energy

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Williams, Ernest Benjamin. Interview, 2004 October 27. 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 Ernest Williams October 27, 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 Ernest Williams October 27, 2004 Conducted by Joan Leavitt Table of Contents Introduction: Mr. Williams describes the living conditions and nuclear testing at Enewetak in the late 1950s. 1 Recollections of typhoon during testing period. 4 Mr. Williams gained a good reputation for his management skills and concern for co- workers. 8 During the Eisenhower moratorium, Mr. Williams was assigned to Albuquerque, New Mexico ( 1958- 59), where he became a permanent employee of the Atomic Energy Commission [ AEC]. 9 After working in the accounting department in Albuquerque, Mr. Williams became chief of the general ledger section. 13 When the Soviets resumed nuclear testing after the moratorium, the United States began to consider conducting atmospheric tests in the Pacific at Christmas Island, a former site of British nuclear tests. 15 Mr. Williams discusses living conditions, logistical challenges, and managerial responsibilities during nuclear testing at Christmas Island ( 1962). 20 The coordination of British and American technology and personnel posed problems for managers of the U. S. tests at Christmas Island. 25 Only 2 AEC officials on the Christmas Island. Setting up communication from island to Honolulu, dealing with old runways and other logistical challenges. 28 Mr. Williams describes the challenges of balancing the often competing interests of military, civilian, and AEC personnel. 35 Mr. Williams discusses the steps taken to protect the people of Christmas Island from the effects of nuclear testing. 39 Mr. Williams recalls atmospheric tests conducted in the Pacific. 41 Safety and security issues affected testing at Christmas Island. 43 Concerns about unauthorized photographs being taken of tests 44 Mr. Williams describes how he responded to unruly military personnel at Christmas Island. 47 Mr. Williams discusses work Nevada Test Site for the Plumbbob series ( 1957) and traveling back and forth between Pacific and NTS during atmospheric testing era. 51 Mr. Williams discusses the Plumbbob series including Rainier, first detonation contained underground at the NTS. 56 In the 1950s and 1960s, public opinion was strongly supportive of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site. 58 Personal views on the importance of the testing program to national defense. 59 Conclusion: After a short retirement from the AEC, Mr. Williams returned to the Nevada Test Site to assist with the Joint Verification Experiment [ JVE]. 61 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Ernest Williams October 27, 2004 in Las Vegas, NV Conducted by Joan Leavitt [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 2, Disc 1. Joan Leavitt: OK, you said you would like to add a few more details about Enewetak. Ernest Williams: Yes. Enewetak, as most of us realize, it’s 2,500 miles west of Honolulu [ Hawaii]. It’s in the [ Republic of the] Marshall Islands. And the thing that I would like to explain is that from the time we left Hickam Air Force Base [ Hawaii] to get out to Enewetak, we were flying on C- 124s, or else a C- 97, and that was a twelve- hour flight non- stop. And so it was a long grind during the day. You listened to all those propellers on the airplanes grinding away for twelve hours, and we always had a box lunch with us, and we didn’t have the conveniences that we have today of the jet age. And so finally we would get to Enewetak some twelve hours [ later]. We’d usually leave Hickam Air Force Base about five or six in the morning and we’d get to Enewetak— you got to remember, we’re going over the International Date Line now, so we’re changing days. But we finally arrive at Fred, which is the military island within Enewetak. There are two separate islands. Fred is the nickname that we used for the military island, also where the airstrip is, and that’s where we would land. And once we get off of there and get our personal effects, we’ll be hauled down to the dock – which is probably in the vicinity of three- fourths of a mile – and we’ll get on a M- boat or else we’ll get on the African Queen. In most cases, it was the African Queen. The African Queen is a small vessel that would go between Elmer and Fred, and they’re about three miles apart. And it’s basically a personnel boat to shuffle people from one island to the other as needed. And so we get on the African Queen, which runs every hour from five a. m. in the morning until ten o’clock at night, and we’re going between Fred and Elmer. Elmer is the UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 island where all the civilians are living, and Fred is basically where all the military people live. They’re two separate, distinct islands. And these are all Enewetak? They’re all within the Enewetak chain. And of course at Fred, [ if] my memory serves me, there’s probably between eight hundred and a thousand people, military people, living at Fred. And when you get over to Elmer, which is where the Atomic Energy Commission [ AEC] and its contractors and its laboratories and its various other federal agencies that are supporting the AEC, that’s where we all live. My memory serves me that we have somewheres in the vicinity of about 2,500 to 3,000 beds available for people to sleep in. You must remember, at Enewetak we only had about twenty- five or twenty- nine, and my memory’s just not good enough, I want to say it’s more like twenty- five permanent buildings for us to sleep in. These buildings are basically like a Butler building. They’re made of metal. There’s nothing fancy. There are semi- partitions up to about five- and- a- half, six feet, and then it’s all open space above. They are individual rooms, and then there’s a long hallway, and then at the end of the building there will be a small day room. But that’s twenty- five and there’s, if my memory serves me, probably no more than fifteen or twenty people could live in one of these dormitories. I’ll call it a dormitory. And then the rest of us are living in tents. And I got to tell you, we have Tent City which is probably in the vicinity of 2,500 to 2,800 people are living in tents. The tents do have a wooden framed structure and a wooden floor into them. And how long would you live in tents? For the construction people, there was a lot of construction people lived eighteen months there. They agreed to come and work for eighteen months. They lived eighteen months in a tent. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 The tent did have two different roofs on top. We had the regular tent on it and then on top of that we had another canvas cover to put on top of the tent, which would then help keep the heat from coming down into the tent so bad. You got to remember, the temperatures at Enewetak [ 00: 05: 00] are 72 to 78 degrees. All year round? All year round. We get about 144 inches of rain a year – so that’s an average of twelve inches a month – and so it’s very humid. First thing I’d like to point out is all of the lockers that you put your clothes in – whether you’re in a tent or whether you’re in one of the what I will call now a dormitory – the locker is probably about two feet wide and six feet high and oh, I don’t know, two- and- a- half feet deep. And there is a 100- watt light bulb in the very bottom, and that keeps enough heat into the locker so that your clothes will not get musty. That would be a problem. The smell. Oh yes. It’s really a problem. I will tell you that in the dormitories and of course we had only one restroom and bathroom in the dormitories. There was a community bathroom. Probably within every twenty tents, then there would be another community bathroom, but it was also made of a tent. And that���s where you could go take your shower and, you know, and clean up. And the thing you have to remember is that we have a distillation plant on the island, and so we have to make all of our fresh water. And so part of the— there are two different systems on the island for water. There’s one that is what I would more or less refer to as a brackish water. It’s a combination of salt water and fresh water mixed together which you took a shower with. The fresh water for drinking and brushing your teeth and everything was on the faucets at the sink. So there’s two different systems within the bathroom. Did the salt water, trying to shower with it—? UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 No, salt water doesn’t, you know, that’s why we had a mixture of fresh water. It doesn’t bother you too much, then. And it doesn’t bother you. Now I’m curious. You’re describing something that looks like MASH [ Mobile Army Surgical Hospital] you know. Almost like MASH, yes. Because they do have the shower tents and they have the living tents. So do they look familiar there? Very similar. Very similar. Yes. That’s what I visualize. You open up the tent flaps just like you would any— later on at Enewetak, we finally, instead of having the flaps that would open up like in a triangle face opening up, we finally built a square opening into it. And then we did put a wooden door onto it because we found that – and the thing you got to remember is as it rains all the time – we’ve got a lot of gravel on the sidewalks. They’re not concrete sidewalks. They’re actually sidewalks with lots of aggregate on top of them, and that’s to keep you so you don’t sink down in the mud so bad. But you also got to remember, we get a lot of storms out there, and I can remember, it had to be in 1957, we had a tropical storm come through, and you got to remember the island only sits about three feet above the normal sea level, and so we get concerned when we hear typhoons are coming in our area. So one evening we knew the typhoon was coming in and the eye come very close to the site of Elmer, or I should say the island of Elmer. It came very close to us and yes, the water came over the top of the entire island about six inches deep. And there’s no place to go— UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 So there’s no mountains in the middle, there’s no higher ground. No, there’s no mountains. No. The highest point above the sea level is about three feet. Where do you go? There’s no place to go. Did you get on a boat? The thing you have to remember is we move everybody out of the tents and we take them down and put them in the warehouses. Now if it’s just an overnight thing, people will bring their blanket and their pillow and they’ll sleep on the floor in the warehouse. Would the water get into the warehouses? No, the warehouses are built up a little higher because we don’t want any products to get wet, because we anticipate that there’s going to be times when water may come over the island. It’s only happened once or twice that I can remember at Enewetak where the water came over the entire island. And, you know, at the time I was there we had over 2,500 people and we got one airplane over at Fred which’ll hold ninety- some people, and so there’s no place to go. Did you ever have anybody die or drown or anything? No. No, we never— no. No casualties. Wonderful. No, no casualties because of the storm. And my memory serves that we didn’t have many casualties from construction work either. I won’t say there weren’t, but I don’t recall any at this [ 00: 10: 00] given point. My memory just doesn’t show me that we had anybody that was accidentally killed because of construction work. Which happens, you know. We all recognize it happens. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 I was more concerned about the storms and the drowning and stuff like that, so it sounds like the warehouse worked. The thing that’s kind of funny is because in 1955 when I first arrived, I got there the twentieth of December 1955 and the rest of the federal employees were all going home for Christmas. We had just finished Operation Teapot at the Nevada Test Site in 1955, and so now I’m on my way out to help take care of [ Operation] Redwing at Enewetak. And as I arrive, Henry Slacks meets me, and he’s a federal employee. He’s also a radiological representative, or his line of work is in the radiological side of the house. And Henry says, Well, I’m only going to be here for a couple of days, but I want to take you down to the EMBL. Enewetak Marine Biological Laboratory, which is also a subcontractor from the University of Honolulu [ Hawaii?], is involved with us and also the University of Washington and we’re studying all the various live animals, fish and everything that’s in the ocean. And so he said, Look, I want to take you down and I want to introduce you to the air tanks and the rubber flappers and the face masks and the snorkels because I’m not going to be back for about thirty or forty days so, at least on your time off, if you’d like to go swimming. So Henry takes me out, and the beach area is beautiful white sand. It’s probably in the vicinity between the beach where the water and the sand finally stops and the water begins, you can probably go three hundred to four hundred feet directly straight out and it’s all just beautiful white sand. Well, Henry’s got me all suited up and we go swimming and we go out about three hundred feet or more. And by this time I looked back around – and you got to remember I’ve got the rubber flaps on my feet, I’ve got the air tank on my back, I’ve got the snorkel on and a face mask – and I turned back around to see where Henry is and Henry’s nowheres close to me. And I stop and I come up out of the water and, well, Henry’s on his way back to the beach. So I’m paddling around out there and all of a sudden I see— UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 Doesn’t he know you’re supposed to have a buddy? Rule number one of scuba diving. Well, Henry’s playing a little prank on me, because he hasn’t taken the time to explain to me that there are five- to- six- foot white sand sharks. And I turn around and look underneath the water and naturally sure I find one of these sand sharks. And so I about- face and I’m headed back for the beach, and I have to admit I was a beautiful Ferris wheel. I was really moving on. And when I got to the beach, Henry’s just standing up on the beach just laughing his— he’s just really hysterical, he’s laughing so hard. And he said, Ernie, I didn’t want to tell you that there was sand sharks out there but, he says, I got to tell you, never seen such a beautiful paddlewheel coming into the beach. But the sand sharks are very curious animals, or fish I should say, and they’re not an attacking- type fish. And so they’re more curious and they’ll get behind you and just trail along behind you and you look back. And of course all of us realize that when you are looking through your face mask under water, every fish looks ten times bigger than what it really is. But Henry just had a real fantastic day with me. Well anyway, they leave within, I want to say like the twenty- second of December and they all head for home for Christmas. They want to be with their families – which I’m single, Leo Woodruff is not, he’s going to stay with me, and Ray Emens is at Bikini Atoll, so we’re the only three feds left on the island, or the whole complex. So for Christmas Day, I told Leo Woodruff, I said, I’m going to go over Christmas Day morning. The cafeteria or the mess hall opens up at ten o’clock in the morning, because we didn’t serve breakfast that [ 00: 15: 00] morning. We start the Christmas Day dinner at ten o’clock in the morning and we run till four o’clock in the afternoon. So I stand over at the door and I shake hands with every person that comes in to have Christmas dinner and wish them a Merry Christmas. And Leo wouldn’t do it. He said, You’re going to have such a sore hand tomorrow you won’t be able to UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 write. But I don’t regret ever doing that, you know. It was great. Because later on, as time went on, you’d hear some of the Holmes and Narver, which are basically the contractor personnel, you would hear them say, Well, there’s the guy that shook our hand and wished us a Merry Christmas, and isn’t that nice of the AEC to tell us that? And I said, I just thought that was necessary for us to do. And I got to be known by a lot of people, and that work there as well as, you know, being the fed. But you got to remember, I’m the office manager for the administrative area of the office at Enewetak. And basically it was just the administration, you know, making sure all the typing gets done, the mail gets mailed, all the details that goes with running an office. And so it was great. But I got to— people would come in and of course they had met me but I wouldn’t probably remember them, but they would remember me. And they’d say, Gee, you know, we’ve been trying to get something done. Could you look into this? Well, pretty soon I got to be known, you know, if you really want to get something done, go see this young man. What a wonderful reputation. So pretty soon I no longer was known as Ernie. I picked up the subtitle of Tiger. And so I got listed then from then on at Enewetak only, I was known as Tiger. And one of the things that I always tried to— for instance, if you came to me with a problem, I would make sure that I finally got back to you and let you say yes, we can make some corrections, or no, we can’t make any changes for you. But I always responded and got back to you. And that really paid off because I could go out in the field and say guys, I really need to get this done today, and I never had to ask twice. Yes. Networking. Made contacts. Good PR. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 Yeah, good public relations. And I did the same thing when we went to Christmas Island in 1962. I made sure that their— and again, some of the people that I had worked with at Enewetak are now some— this is 1962, we actually left in 1959. But I left Enewetak in 1958 and I went to Albuquerque to survive and remain on the payroll because we knew we were going into a moratorium under President [ Dwight D.] Eisenhower and Jim Reeves , which was the test manager, didn’t want to lose all this talent. I have to take my hat off to Jim. He was a very conscientious man, not only as a test manager but for his people. Jim knew that the moratorium was coming, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to hold all of these people. So Jim made a very delicate effort to make sure that he could go to various operations offices, either Idaho or he could go to the State of Washington or he went to Oak Ridge [ National Laboratory, Tennessee] and he went to Kansas City, and he tried to see if there was any positions open that he could take some of us and put into those slots, with the understanding that— Now were these the DOE [ Department of Energy] people? These are all DOE people, better known as the AEC in those days. And we would make sure that when they accepted the job that the people knew that if we went back to testing, that they were going to lose these people. And so spasmodically he got us spread around. Was he able to place most of them there? And most of us got placed. I left early in ’ 58 because there was an accounting position open in Albuquerque [ New Mexico], and I had worked in accounting in 1955 for a period of about sixty- five or seventy days. When Teapot came to an end in 1955 at the Nevada Test Site, I had been hired as a temporary employee in the federal government. And they said, Look, if you want to go to Albuquerque and take over the— it’s a secretarial position, the lady is going to have to take maternity leave, but we need somebody with a Q clearance. And you’re also a good typist. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 [ 00: 20: 00] So I went to Albuquerque and took over this lady���s position. And it was called a CR- 9 report, and it’s basically a ledger. It had twenty- seven columns across, and you fold out two sheets, one to the left and one to the right, and then you unfold that and you finally get twenty- seven columns. And this all has to be typed up. And it’s called a CR- 9 report. Well, when I got there to start the program, the lady explained to me [ that] it wasn’t something real difficult, it’s just lots of numbers. And these numbers are not only just in hundreds, we’re talking about numbers that go into the millions, so you’re now talking about nine digits plus the decimal point and then the zeros. So it’s nothing fancy but you really have to be on your toes to make sure you’re getting the right numbers in the machine. Well, it was all done in ditto. Now I don’t know whether people understand what ditto was. Ditto was a blue piece of paper. Messy. And when I got there, this was all done on ditto. Well, just before I’d left the test site, we had incorporated here at the test site on Operation Teapot what was called multilith printing. Oh, you had seen it at the test site! Oh! And so I knew what multilith was. And so when I got there, Mr. Frank Abbott, one of the gentlemen I worked for, and I said, Frank, why are you dealing with ditto? Why don’t you get into the multililith printing? And he said, What are you talking about? Well, it’s amazing because I said, Saturday, let me go downtown and find a printing place or people that— So I found a printing shop with multilith and so then I said, Could I have this guy come out to the ALOO [ Albuquerque Operations Office] office in Albuquerque, which was not too far from Kirtland Air Force base. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 So on Monday the gentleman came in and showed us what he could do, and of course Frank Abbott looked at me and he said, Oh my, he said, what a difference! And I said, Yes, because you know you make a mistake, you can take just a special rubber eraser and you can erase it and you can print over the top of it and you don’t get all this messy stuff. Well, needless to say, by the end of the week we had spent another $ 10,000 in capital equipment money to buy multilith machines, buy typewriters that— and I said, There’s such a typewriter that has the keys beyond the tab. There’s keys that has whether it’s hundreds or whether it’s thousands or whether it’s millions, and you can hit that key and that’ll put you in the right category. Oh wow! So you kind of helped him modernize. Oh yeah, I really helped him modernize. And I stayed there from I want to say late August until early December. Well, why is it that you think the test site had that modernization before Albuquerque did? Well, because here at the test site we had Stan Froistad and Sherman Sullivan that worked in the Las Vegas field office and they were more— they were both administrative types. And they both were concerned with doing a lot of paperwork, and so they were keeping up with what was the modern technology, if I may use that word. And Albuquerque was a smaller outfit? No, Albuquerque was the Operations Office but they just had just not taken the initiative to see what they could do to improve the system. Well, once I got that into the system, I got to tell you, it spread throughout the whole building, and Albuquerque Operations is probably eight, nine hundred people there. And it’s something that started to spread. Well, you know, and the lady finally in early December said that she was returning from maternity. I knew I was a temporary, UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 but when I took the position in Albuquerque, they made me a permanent employee, and so that was my step to long term employment. Now was that permanent employee of the AEC? Of the AEC. I was a temporary employee, so I could be laid off at any time without any problems. Well, when I took the position as a temporary secretary, I got a permanent position, and so that meant that I more or less had my foot in the door now. And I was a secretary. I couldn’t take shorthand but I could type letters and do whatever was necessary. But it was kind of amazing. When the lady returned, why, she was just flabbergasted. She says, We don’t have ditto anymore? And I said, No, no, we don’t have ditto anymore. Changed everything. Ernie’s been here. She looked at me and she said, Boy, what a pleasure this is going to be. And then she got just ecstatic about the new typewriter that I had. So Frank said, You know I don’t have any positions for you. [ 00: 25: 00] And I said, Well, let me go see Jim Reeves again, see what he’s got going. I said, We’re getting ready to do Redwing at Enewetak. And so I went back to see Jim and I said, Jim, what have you got going out at Enewetak? I said, You know I got over in Albuquerque but you know that job is now coming to an end again, and we got Operation Redwing coming up. And he said, I need you back at Enewetak. And so that’s when I left. In December of 1955 before Christmas, I went back to Enewetak. But again, in 1958 he did the same thing for us. We went into the moratorium. Again, I went back to Albuquerque to work for Frank Abbott because Frank says, I’ve had Ernie before. I’ll take him out of the administrative field and I’ll make him an UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 accountant. So I transferred to Albuquerque then as a permanent position and took on a new title of an accountant. Now bear in mind, I do not have an accounting background. And I spent the middle of ’ 58 to February of 1962 in the Accounting Department. Well, I’d been in the Accounting Department a little over a year and a half and I got promoted to chief of the general ledger section. You learn fast, don’t you? And Frank Abbott saw fit, he said, Look, I want you to take over the general ledger section. Now the general ledger section is really the trial balance. This happens every thirty days. And at that time, the trial balance in Albuquerque in ’ 58 through 1962, early ’ 62, probably that trial balance was in the vicinity of between fourteen to eighteen, maybe twenty billion dollars. But that also includes the products that we may have in storage, nuclear units that might be in storage. And so I got to be chief of the general ledger section. I had three different ladies working for me. And of course they’re doing all the posting and I’m the supervisor. And one of the things that I did was I immediately went in and I said, You know I don’t know nothing about posting. So I sat down with one of the ladies and I said, I want you to teach me everything that I need to know about how to post. I said, I have one thing that I’m going to tell you three ladies right now. When you leave to go on vacation— and the previous gentleman that had my job, he didn’t do this. All of the paperwork that had to be entered onto the books would be stacked up on their desk and they’d be gone for two weeks, it’d be two weeks deep. That they had that to come back to. Yes, they had that to come back to, and I said, That ain’t going to happen. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 And she said, Well, I’ve been in this office for almost twenty years and none of the supervisors knew how to post. And I said, Well, you got one that’s going to do that. So I learned how to do all the ledger posting, get it in the proper account, and return the document back to the finance division for appropriate storage. And when the first lady went on vacation, I left my desk and went down and sat down on the desk with the machine for posting and I did all of her posting of all of her ledger work while she was gone. And when she came back, she came in on a Monday morning, she’d been gone two weeks, and says, Oh, I got a clean desk. And I said, I told you, you was going to have a clean desk. That makes a vacation even more of a vacation. And you know what? I have to tell you, you know, those three ladies, when they went on vacation, they knew when they came back that they didn’t have this two- week lag plus all the current posting that needs to be going on. And so I have to admit, I made friends. The ladies, they would do anything for me. But I’m a firm believer as a supervisor that if you’re going to be the supervisor, you got to work with your people. And if one of them’s going to be gone, you better know how to handle their job while they’re gone. And I’m not complaining about people, but I’ve known people that couldn’t do that. I’m a firm believer that if you, as a supervisor, take care of your people, the people will give it back to you ten times over. And then of course the moratorium came along those three years I was in there. And then all of a sudden, you know, the Russians [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR], I want to say August of 1961 broke the treaty with Eisenhower. By this time [ John F.] Kennedy’s in office, Eisenhower is out of office. Now President Kennedy’s in charge. Kennedy sent a message [ 00: 30: 00] down to Albuquerque Operations Office to the Test Division saying, I want to UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 resume testing. I worked in B Building and Test Division was in C Building, and we had four buildings: A, B, C, and D. So the resumption of testing was directly related to the Soviets breaking [ the agreement], then? Sure. Oh yes. And so at lunch hour, I always carried my lunch— and of course when I went to the Test Division while at Albuquerque I was single, but when I left Albuquerque in ’ 62 I had met a lovely lady and we got married and— so I always carried my lunch at lunch hour. But at lunch hour I’d go over to Building C to the Test Division and try to keep up with what was going on throughout the world because [ of] what the Russians were doing and keeping up into the test program, basically which is the nuclear test side of the house. And so in August 1961 Jim Reeves, the phone rings and he said, Ernie, I think you need to come over for lunch today. Definitely need to come over for lunch today. He said, We have a message and we got to answer this thing. So when I went over for lunch Jim Reeves explains to me, he said, President Kennedy wants to resume nuclear testing at NTS. And I said, Oh, OK. Because we kind of anticipated this might be coming about. We never knew exactly when Russia might break the treaty. Well, they did, and they announced they were going to break the treaty. And Kennedy said he wanted to do some of the larger atm