Pvt. Bill Bires, 1951 military photoThe Atomic Duty
of Pvt. Bill Bires

Prime Mover
Driver/Mechanic Pvt. Bill Bires stands before his duty vehicle during military service.

Soldiers Photo, circa 1951


This is a short history of Pvt. Bill Bires' military duty with Co."A" 231st Engineer Combat Battalion from Ft. Lewis, Washington. Co. "A" was assigned temporary duty at the Atomic Test Series, Buster-Jangle in the Nevada desert, in the fall of 1951.

Co. "A"'s military duty at the test site was unique. While the rest of the battalion built the tent city known as Camp Desert Rock, Co. "A" was sent further into the desert to construct the displays of military equipment and postitioned them around the Ground Zeros for the atomic tests.

Thousands of troop observers from all parts of the country were brought forward from Camp Desert Rock to witness these atomic detonations. After the explosions, some were marched or bussed even closer to Ground Zero to see the effects of these explosions on military equipment. They then returned to Camp Desert Rock.

Co. "A" would then go to work hauling away the blasted equipment, filling in the foxholes and emplacements they had constructed, sometimes within hours of the detonation. This was the Atomic Duty of Pvt. Bill Bires.

Table of Contents
The 231st Engineer Combat Battalion of Ft Lewis, Washington:
Organization and Exercise Desert Rock

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