Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Interview with Philip Wymer Allen, July 9, 2004


Download nts_000009.pdf (application/pdf; 203.41 KB)





Narrator affiliation: Meteorologist-in-Charge, Weather Bureau Research Station, Nevada Test Site

Digital ID


Physical Identifier



Allen, Philip W. (Philip Wymer). Interview, 2004 July 09. 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



41 pages





Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Philip Allen July 9, 2004 Las Vegas, Nevada Interview Conducted By Mary Palevsky © 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 Allen July 9, 2004 Conducted by Mary Palevsky Table of Contents Introduction: Mr. Allen discusses his childhood in Iowa, his family history, and his college education. 1 In 1940, Mr. Allen began graduate school at Iowa State College ( now University). In 1941, he began work for the Army Air Corps Weather Bureau. 4 During World War II, Mr. Allen worked at several weather stations around the world, including Puerto Rico, Trinidad, South America, Algiers, and Italy. 8 Mr. Allen describes living and working conditions during the war at the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces headquarters in southern Italy. 14 As the war in Europe wound down, Mr. Allen was stationed in Paris and Rome. 18 The Pentagon ordered Mr. Allen back to the United States in 1945 to teach meteorology. 20 Mr. Allen shares his reactions to the use of the atomic bomb in Japan, as well as his memories of witnessing evidence of the secretive Manhattan Project while he was working at the University of Chicago. 21 Upon leaving the Army Air Corps, Mr. Allen married and moved to New York. 25 Mr. Allen received an invitation to work in the weather service at Los Alamos National Laboratory, but the offer was soon rescinded. Mr. Allen then moved to Washington D. C. to work for the Air Force Office of Atomic Testing ( AFOAT- 1). 27 In 1949, the AFOAT- 1 group detected evidence of a Soviet nuclear test. Mr. Allen describes this incident and the process of monitoring for meteorological evidence of nuclear testing. 29 Mr. Allen returned to the Weather Bureau and served as a representative to the federal government’s committee regarding continuance of government in the event of a nuclear attack. 32 The Atomic Energy Commission ( AEC) hired Mr. Allen to work for the weather service at the Nevada Test Site. 34 Conclusion: Mr. Allen describes how the weather service contributed to the Plumbbob series in May 1957. 38 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Philip Allen July 9, 2004 in Las Vegas, NV Conducted by Mary Palevsky [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 1, Disk 1. Philip Allen: I’m Philip Allen. Everybody calls me Phil, except in the family; they used the Philip. I was born in Russell, Iowa on a farm. The date was August 3, 1918, which was the latter part of World War I. I grew up mostly on that farm, but in 1927 my father decided to go into business for himself, so he moved the family to Fairfield, Iowa until the Depression forced him back to the farm in 1930. His choice of place, I think, was because that’s the town where my brother was going to school, to college. I have two brothers and one sister. That brother, Hubert, majored in physics, and after he finished college at Parsons College at Fairfield, he went to graduate school at the University of Maine, and from there to MIT [ Massachusetts Institute of Technology] and worked on his Ph. D. in physics. My other brother, Roger, a few years later, went to Parsons College, graduated, and he too went to Maine, then to Penn State to work on his Ph. D. in physics. But he had married when he was in Maine and he had a child after he’d started working on his Ph. D., and decided he needed more money, so he went into the Weather Bureau and worked in Washington, D. C., and was transferred to MIT and worked at MIT for a while. I mention all of that because it aroused my interest in physics, and looking back over my life, I think I have always been interested in physical things. I’ve been interested in why things are the way they are, why they work the way they work, and I think that sort of tailored what I ended up doing. Mary Palevsky: How much older were your brothers? These are both your older brothers. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 They’re both older brothers. Well, it starts with my sister, who was the first in the family. She was born in 1902. Her name is? Elizabeth. And she became a nurse, registered nurse, and went to California. She went to California about the same time that my father moved from the farm into Fairfield, Iowa. My brother Hubert was born in 1906, and he’s still living; he’ll be ninety- eight this year. My brother Roger, who went into meteorology, had problems with his heart and he died a couple years ago, just short of ninety. And it’s interesting, too, was there something in your parents’ wishes for you that you all went into these kinds of— sort of scientific professions? Even nursing is quite a profession in— Yes, I think so. My father grew up on a farm. His father had homesteaded in Iowa back in 1856. But my father was one of twelve children, and only a couple of them ever went to college, and my dad was one of them. And he went to Highland Park College in Des Moines, Iowa and majored in physics, and he taught high school in Iowa for a couple years until his father asked [ 00: 05: 00] him to come back and take over the farm. All the rest of the kids had developed their own farms or professions and his father needed him to take over the farm. So Dad became a farmer the rest of his life. But I think he always sort of regretted the fact that he had not made more of his education. So he encouraged us kids all to go to college, even in my case. I graduated from high school in 1936, which was after several years of the Depression, and he did not have the money to send me to college. But when I expressed an interest in going to college, my maiden aunt, who had taught school in Chicago for many years and never married, she was able to finance my college education. And I worked in college, in the physics department, as an assistant to the professor. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 And this is where? At Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa. It was a Presbyterian school, and my parents were very strong Presbyterians. The whole family had been. Now, I was going to ask you about your religious background, and what does that mean, to say you’re a strong Presbyterian? Strong in the sense that my father was an elder in his church. He started off in a little country church that was only a couple of miles from our house. Was an elder there, and then moved to the nearby town, where he became a member of the session for many years. I think he probably was on the session, all told, something like twenty- five years. And my mother taught church school. And we kids got a strong dose of religion because my parents held a devotion every single morning of their lives, of their married lives, before breakfast. That is interesting to me because my interest in religion caused me to change my beliefs drastically over a period of decades. Well, we’ll get to that, but just for clarification, if they held a devotion, they would read— tell me what that would be. Dad would read several verses from the Bible. I want to say a chapter, but I don’t think he read a full chapter every morning. And then we would kneel beside our chairs and have prayer, which would be a long prayer. But that would be the extent of it. Other than that, nothing was ever said about religion in our family. That’s so interesting. It was all said in church or in the devotions. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 Getting back to— I graduated from high school in 1936, and there was never any question about which college I would attend. I went to Parsons and majored in physics. I started out majoring in chemistry, but decided that was not my thing and I switched to physics. [ 00: 10: 00] At the end of my college career— this was 1940— opportunities were not very great for me. In those days, nobody ever came to the college looking for employees. We all were on our own, and I didn’t know anything better to do. I couldn’t think of any company to write to. I did what most of the other graduates that year did, in 1940. I went out looking for a place where I could teach in high school. I actually got a job, but I had applied for a graduate assistantship at three universities, and after I had signed a contract for a teaching job, I was accepted at one of those universities, so I paid the penalty and cancelled my teaching contract and went to the university, which was Iowa State. In those days, it was Iowa State College; now it’s University. And of course, I studied physics, which brings me to a story in itself. As an assistant in the physics department, I helped with the laboratory instruction, and one of my supervisors was a gentleman named John Atanasoff. John was one of these people who always went around sort of in a daze because he was always thinking. He had a table in his office that was covered with all kinds of electronic, or electric, gadgets. In those days, we didn’t use the term “ electronics” much. Many years later, like in the 1980s, I saw an article in the paper that the Smithsonian Institute had declared that John Atanasoff was the true inventor of the electronic computer, because one of those gadgets on his table was a gadget that added and subtracted and [ laughter] I don’t know what all else. Anyway, the physics at the university level was a little more difficult for me. In the small college, I was the only physics major in my class, so my classes were very small and they were pretty much what I wanted to do. When I got to college, I had a lot more competition and I UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 wasn’t entirely prepared for that. So along toward the latter part of that first year at Iowa State, I began noticing things on the bulletin board about other opportunities. One was an opportunity to take an examination to go into the Weather Bureau. I took the exam, and a week or so later, another bulletin showed up on the bulletin board, looking for people who had a background in science who would like training in meteorology at one of several universities. That also sounded interesting, and I applied for that. The bulletin was put out by the Air Corps, Army Air Corps. And what year is this, now? That was in 1941. But it’s before Pearl Harbor, still. Nobody knew anything about Pearl Harbor. We were not preparing for war, but the country had [ 00: 15: 00] started the draft and I had a fairly early number, not too early, but fairly early number in the draft and was not sure whether I would be allowed to stay in school. So when the Air Corps presented this opportunity to become a meteorologist in the Air Corps, I decided it was worth trying for. I applied and was accepted, and in June of that year I reported for duty at the University of Chicago for training in meteorology. I became an Air Corps cadet, so I had to go to Fort Des Moines and go through the process of becoming a soldier, and was immediately put on a train to go to Chicago. At Chicago, I was a member of a class of twenty- two military cadets. Actually, it was the second class that the Air Corps had started, training weather officers. The first class had graduated in the spring of 1941, and a few of them stayed on to help teach the second class, which was my class. There was also a group of CAA, Civilian Aeronautics Administration, students taking meteorology, and three or four other civilians, that made up our class. The work was mostly graduate level work, learning the dynamics of the atmosphere, the scientific causes UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 and sequence of all weather phenomena, such as wind, clouds, rain, thunderstorms, fog, and how to measure and predict them. And in December, of course, Pearl Harbor occurred. And I learned about Pearl Harbor at a time when I was visiting my aunt, who lived out on the edge of Chicago. I’d gone out there on Sunday for dinner, and over the radio, when we were sitting down to dinner, we heard about Pearl Harbor having occurred, and almost immediately there was a request for everybody that was in service to report to their headquarters. So I ate dinner and quickly got on the elevated [ train] to go back to the University of Chicago. The only way that that affected me right then was that my course was shortened from nine months to something like seven months, and I finished in February. I think it was February 14, 1942. It was while I was at the University of Chicago that I met Dr. [ Arthur Holly] Compton who was the Nobel laureate. My first assignment after graduating from meteorology school was a month of military training at Selfridge [ Air National Guard] Field. Selfridge Field. That’s in Chicago? Which is outside of Detroit. From there, the first thing I did once I was relieved was to stop at a used car agency and buy a car. Then two other fellows and I drove to our assignments in southern [ 00: 20: 00] Texas, our first military assignments. For the other two fellows, it was outside of Dallas, and outside of— well, at Mission Field, which was on the Rio Grande River down near Brownsville. I was assigned to Harlingen Army Air Gunnery School, which is at Harlingen, Texas, which also was outside of Brownsville. I was in charge. I was the commanding officer of a unit of twenty- some technicians and one other trained forecaster, and the two of us made forecasts for UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 the gunnery school, which was new, as it had only been in existence for a couple of months, through that summer. Now, just because I have very little knowledge of the world of meteorology and weather prediction and stuff like this, you’re at a gunnery school; what’s the purpose of the predictive function that you’re doing? OK. The gunnery students were pilots who were using P- 6s at that time to fly over targets and practice gunnery, practice using the guns that were mounted permanently on the aircraft. The target area was over Padre Island, which goes up and down along the Texas coast there. Sometimes the weather would be cloudy, in which case they couldn’t practice, or foggy, or the wind would be too strong from the wrong direction. I’ll always remember one day when we had told them that everything would be nice for that day, but the wind came up from the southeast and kept getting stronger and stronger and stronger, and we had no clue whatever why that was occurring. I got on the phone and talked to my friend, who was Fred White, who was at Mission, Texas, just fifty miles away, and he said the same thing was happening there and he had no explanation for it. There actually was a little damage at the airfield. A couple of airplanes were tipped over by the strong winds. And I had to explain all this to the CO [ commanding officer], but was never, ever able to explain satisfactorily, even to myself, why this occurred. I was there from around a little before April 1, 1942 until the end of August 1942. During August, both Fred White, my friend, and I were given orders to return to the University of Chicago to teach. And we did that. We found in our absence that the university had changed considerably. We no longer were having meteorology classes in the physics department, but they had taken over the law part of the university and we were using the law library as classroom space for meteorology. The physics department had been taken over by what we were told was a UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 metallurgy project. And I think that extended a little bit into the chemistry department, but we were still using one or two classrooms in the chemistry department. [ 00: 25: 00] At the university, we taught physics most of the time, but we were asked to do some research on Mediterranean meteorology, and I was working on that, along with my teaching. And a couple of years later, somebody handed me a monograph from the University of Chicago, and in there was the work that I had done under my name. That surprised me because I had not been told it was going to be published, and somebody else had finished it up because I left it unfinished when I left there. I left the University of Chicago in July of 1942, rather suddenly, because the Air Corps had set up a contract with the university to establish an Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Puerto Rico, and I was ordered to go there as one of the instructors. Now, was this for the Pacific war, then, that they’re thinking this way? They were thinking that way about tropical meteorology both for the Pacific war, because Guadalcanal— you’ve heard of the battle for Guadalcanal— had occurred prior to then and American forces were still fighting in the neighborhood of the South Pacific, the tropical Pacific. Also, our American forces had been in Africa starting I think it was like November of 1942 and they were being supplied by air along a route that went through Puerto Rico and Trinidad and down to Natal, Brazil, and across the Atlantic through Ascension Island and then up to Accra and some other large city on the coast of Africa. Accra? Across the Atlantic Ocean. Accra, I believe. And I can’t think of the name of the other place. It’s OK. From there, flights would occur up to Algeria, Algiers, and even up to Egypt. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 Shortly after arriving in Puerto Rico to become a teacher of tropical meteorology, well, I had to learn tropical meteorology under the director. The director was Clarence Palmer who had been a meteorologist during the fight for Guadalcanal. He was a New Zealander and had studied meteorology from a tropical viewpoint. Other instructors there included a man who had been forecasting meteorology at Puerto Rico and at Miami for many years, and a fellow by the name of Riehl, who was a German and had specialized in tropical meteorology. So they were teaching me, and I was asked to take a flight. Being in the service, I could fly free on Air Corps aircraft. So they asked me to take a flight down through South America as far as [ 00: 30: 00] Natal to observe tropical meteorology, which I did. And I flew to Trinidad. As soon as I got off the airplane at Trinidad, I was met by the meteorologist there. He asked me if I would be interested in going with him on a flight to observe a hurricane which was apparently forming off the coast of the Leeward Islands, or Windward Islands, actually, there. And after asking him a couple of questions, I decided yes, I would go. But I was reminded that when I was studying meteorology back at the University of Chicago, one of the professors had told the class that an airplane would not survive a flight through a hurricane. So that was one reason why I hesitated before I agreed to this flight. But the flight was to be on a B- 25, which is a pretty heavy, well- constructed airplane, and I decided that that might be able to survive a hurricane. So I went. And we flew out to the east. The hurricane was something like 150, 200 miles off to the east- northeast from Trinidad, and as we approached it, the pilot was measuring the winds as he went. There is a technique for doing that where the pilot will simply change the direction of the flight and observe how the airplane drifts on the two legs of the flight and, with a lot of triangulation, is able to determine what the wind is at flight level. He did this a couple of UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 times, and they decided that— well, first I should tell you where I was in the airplane. The pilot and co- pilot and the weather officer from Trinidad were in the front part of the airplane, and I was in the back with the gunnery sergeant. And we were able to talk to each other by means of the intercom, but intercoms in those days were not very easily understood. I noticed that the airplane had made a turn to the right to get into the center of this hurricane, and I got on the intercom and talked to them and convinced them that they should’ve turned to the left, which they did, eventually. But in the process they had flown long enough that the pilot was becoming concerned about fuel consumption, so they went a little ways toward the center of the hurricane, but not as far as the eye, before he turned away to go back to refuel. We landed at St. Lucia Island to refuel. We went back to Trinidad, and I picked up my bag, and the next morning, took a flight on down along the route to Natal. I was on a DC- 3— well, in those days, they called them C- 47 airplanes. And we flew at about ten thousand feet most of the time. And I was taking notes, of course, as we went, of what I could see of the weather. We flew through the intertropical front, which at that particular time was just a scattering of thundershowers. Sometimes we would have to drop down a few thousand feet to go under the clouds; other times, climb a few thousand to go over them. We landed at a place on the Amazon River— Belem— and I stayed overnight there. We also landed at a place in, I think it’s British Guiana, and stayed [ 00: 35: 00] overnight there. I’ll always remember that because it was an isolated airfield in the jungle. The trees were tall and the tents where we were staying were under these trees, and they dripped all night. Well, it rained, sometimes hard and sometimes it just dripped all night. So I didn’t sleep a lot. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 We went on down to Natal, and I spent a night or two there, looked around the town a little bit, and started back. I don’t really remember much about the return flight. But once I got back to Puerto Rico, I of course had to make an extensive report, and during the flight I had made a number of drawings of clouds, which I turned in. While we were at Puerto Rico, the first class showed up around the first of September. The first class consisted of graduates from the University of Chicago and New York U[ niversity], where the Air Corps was training meteorologists. And a few of the officers were serving at the airports along the route that I had flown to Natal and Ascension and Africa. The classes were about two months long and they were followed, of course, by other classes. And so I was there for about three classes, then I received orders to report to a port of embarkation at New York City. Let me stop you here for one second. I want to make sure I understand this. The purpose of your going and the purpose of all this research is to make sure that supplies that are getting down to Natal and then across to Africa, that when those things go, you have a way of predicting the kind of weather problems you’re going to have, is that—? That is correct. There were actually a number of flights per day along that route, delivering aircraft, delivering supplies. When I was making that flight, I was on airplanes that were carrying supplies. The center of the airplane would be filled with cargo, all strapped down, of course. Usually they strapped that down in the middle of the airplane for balance. And there’s space around the cargo so you can walk around. I was the only passenger on all of the flights I was on, so I had the run of the airplane. I could walk around, stand behind the pilot and look out, look at the instruments. Even though it was a cargo airplane, there were windows, so I could look out the side anyway. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 And yes, the reason for weather officers at all of the airports along that route was to make sure that the pilots knew where the thunderstorms were going to be and how strong they were going to be and so forth. They were handicapped because there was not a large network of weather stations. They had to depend mostly on the reports they received from other aircraft, the forecasters did. So they were severely handicapped. It turns out, later on, I studied the aircraft accident reports for that route, and I was amazed at the numbers of accidents and the frequency with which the aircraft was lost, because there’s no place to land except in the jungle or, if they’re close enough to the coast, to ditch the aircraft, so that the aircraft would be a loss [ 00: 40: 00] anyway. There were some pretty famous pilots lost along that route, and one of them was a famous football star, I remember, but I can’t remember the name, I think it was Tom Harmon. We can find that. Well, thanks for clarifying that. That helps me understand it. Well, let’s see, my tale has gotten as far as the port of embarkation in New York. But I had two weeks of leave that I could take to go home, so I went home and discovered that my parents had decided to retire from the farm and were living in town. Of course, I knew this from correspondence, but I’d never seen the house where they were living. They were living in the town of Russell. Going to the port of embarkation in New York, I stopped at the University of Chicago and had a conversation with the head of the meteorology department there, whose name was [ C- G] Rossby. Dr. Rossby is a Swede with an international name in meteorology. He has written a number of papers. When I stopped to see him, he handed me a paper that he wanted me to take along because he wanted me to hand it to the head of the French meteorological service who was UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 stationed in Algiers. And Rossby knew that I would be going— or he thought; he wasn’t sure. He thought I would be going through Algiers. Well, he was right. When I got to the port of embarkation, I was told that I would be assigned to a station that would require— I was not given the location at that point. I was told which airplane to get on and the direction in which the airplane would be headed. And I was in a hurry because the airplane I was supposed to be on was supposed to be leaving within a couple of hours and I was still in downtown New York City. It was number One Park Plaza; I remember that. That was the port of embarkation. So I handed them— I was naïve enough that I was still carrying a little trunk. What do you call them? I can’t think of the name of them. Like a footlocker? I was not permitted to take a footlocker, so all my belongings had to be repacked into a duffel bag. I didn’t have time to do that, so the transportation person there volunteered to have it done if I would go and get on the airplane. So I just dropped everything except I was carrying a handbag with my essentials in it. I took it with me, and I never saw the rest of my belongings the rest of my career because if they did repack them, they put them on the wrong airplane and they never found me. I’m convinced that they never bothered to repack them, that this was just a way of getting me stripped down to bare essentials. Anyway, went out to Mitchell Field, which is out in the middle of the fields of Long Island. At that time, they were fields; now it’s mostly houses. We flew to Newfoundland, from Newfoundland to the Azores, the Azores to Casablanca, Casablanca to Algiers. Arrived at Algiers, I think it was on the Saturday night, and the plane was going to lie over there and fly the [ 00: 45: 00] next day. And I had several hours, so I made a few inquiries and phone calls and located this fellow, the head of the French meteorological service that lived in Algiers. And on UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 Sunday morning, I found my way to his apartment. I called him first, and I’m sure I got him out of bed, and when I arrived at the apartment, he and his girlfriend were still in their bathrobes, but they invited me in and we sat. They had a French- English dictionary, and so we had a sort of a conversation using that dictionary. When I got back to the airplane, they took off and landed at a place on the heel of Italy. I can’t think of the name of the town yet. But I asked the pilot if I should get off here and he said, No, stay on. You’re the next stop. So the next stop turned out to be the town of Bari, on the east coast of Italy, south of the front line of military action. So it turned out that Bari is the headquarters for the meteorological office— well, it’s the headquarters for the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, and they had a meteorological office which made forecast maps for all of the weather stations that supported the bombers and the fighter aircraft and so forth in southern Italy. As a matter of fact, I think there were a few airports on Greek islands, as well. And that’s where I was stationed for the next year or more. We made forecasts for— well, the meteorological office was divided into two parts. One handled the flying weather, which is thunderstorms, clouds, hail, that sort of thing. The other part of the weather station was upper winds. We had to have our own set of charts. And we forecast the winds from which the navigators would prepare their navigational plans for the flights. And I was assigned to the upper wind operation along with, as it turns out, Fred White, who had been my friend at Mission, Texas and also at the University of Chicago. And we spent the next year doing that. There were a few interesting experiences. For one, we were sitting there working one day when all of a sudden, the building shook and the windows caved in and we thought sure that the Germans had dropped a bomb on us. But there was just the one shake and we decided that it couldn’t be a bombing, so we stopped running for the doors. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 We, incidentally, were on the third floor, so we had to go down several flights of stairs. Turns out that a shipload of ammunition located about a mile away had blown up and enough of the blast wave had gone over the water— our building was right on the coast— that we received a large part of the blast. The blast itself pretty well destroyed the port and the buildings up to a half a mile away. [ 00: 50: 00] Wow. And you’re housed in existing buildings there where they had been built? The weather station and the headquarters for the Mediterranean Air Force was in a five- story building on the coast, but we lived in hotels— as a matter of fact, I think all of us Americans lived in one hotel and the British in a different hotel— that was quite some distance from the coast. It was a nice hotel, probably the best one in town, and Fred White and I shared a room. The rooms did not have bathrooms; they had a common bathroom down the hall, which is typical European style. Another interesting experience there was a couple of months after I arrived, we were asked to make— well, first, I arrived there around the first of May, 1944, and at that time all of the military action was occurring in northern Italy. One of the first forecasts that I had to make there was for the bombing of the [ Monte] Cassino monastery that was the fortress that the Germans had made