Home | Angelillo Family History - Leon N. Angelo - Atomic radiation exposure

Atomic Testing - "Teapot"

In March 1955, as an infantry lieutenant and member of Marine Corps Test Unit One, Camp Pendleton, California, my father participated in atomic bomb tests at Yucca Flat in the Nevada desert; the code name for these tests was something like "Teapot". There were two detonations: the first was a tower shot and the second, a day or two later, was underground. During the detonations, the men crouched in trenches hundreds of yards away from the explosion. Shortly afterward they approached the explosion point on foot, to within two hundred yards or so, to observe the damage to staged weapons and equipment. They remained in the area some thirty to sixty minutes.

The Teapot event was conducted at night, and it was postponed 3 times. They wanted to use bombs strategically and bring Marines in afterwards in helicopters. Lieutenant Angelo remembered how bright the light of the explosion was through his closed eyelids.

Father and mother in 1998, 45 KB

Mother and father, 17 November 1998
Station Avenue,
Haddon Heights, New Jersey

Forty-eight years after the events, and after my father had died, the United States government decided that as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange (dioxin) and nuclear radiation, as well as sarin, mustard gas and other poisons during Chemical and Biological Warfare Training, my father had developed the very rare chronic myeloid leukemia as well as esophageal cancer. All this contributed to his early death.

I only learned how ill my father was after his death. He never complained. It is hard to accept that ten years after discovering the effects of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. government was still experimenting with human beings this way. (What did the government imagine would happen after a nuclear war?)

Gravestone, 11 November 2016, Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill, 44 KB

Veterans Day 2016 at Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill, Camden County, New Jersey (Section M, Block 22, Lot 6)

"Tower shot"

According to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the first of these towers to be built was about 100 feet tall, made of steel, and resembled the observation towers used by forest rangers. The atomic bomb was hoisted into a shed at the top of the tower. And that was where the bomb was exploded, obliterating the shed and tower and melting the sand around it. (Albuquerque Journal, 4 October 2017)

The effects of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki

This can be read about in Takashi Nagai's The Bells of Nagasaki. Nagai was a doctor specializing in radiology in Urakami when the bomb exploded very near his medical university. He and the other doctors who survived and treated the surviving population recorded the effects of the blast and radiation on the human body. (The occupation authorities would not allow Nagai's book, written in 1946, to be published until 1949.) The doctors of Nagasaki identified the illnesses which would later affect the test subjects of the atomic explosion in the Nevada desert.

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/angelo/more1964.html
Last revised: 20 March 2007 : 2007-03-20 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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