Memorial Day again. Will we ever commemorate a Memorial Day when there are no wars being fought that place our service men and women in harm's way? We keep praying for that day to come. It hasn't yet.
I've written about my late father, Jarvis Moragne, and his military service in World War II and Korea several times. Recently I have been going through a lot of family memorabilia while doing genealogical research, and I ran across a paper that had apparently been in my mother's scrapbooks, which passed down to me at her death. From the wording, I believe this must have been given to military personnel at Fort Sam Houston where my dad was stationed during the Korean conflict. This was typewritten, then run off on a mimeograph machine. (You youngsters probably never heard of one of these!)
INDIVIDUAL ACTION AIR BURST OF ATOMIC BOMB
If Air Alert or General Quarters is sounded TAKE PRESCRIBED ACTION. The best defense against an "A" bomb is the same as against HE bombs. (I guess that HE stands for high explosive bombs. Correct me if I'm wrong.)
DURING AND AFTER BURST
Take cover, unless under other attack, and stay for 10 seconds after explosion or until heavy debris has stopped falling.
Underground shelters, ships, basements, and slit trenches give good protection. Lie close to wall out of line from possible flying debris. Keep head covered and avoid exposure of bare skin. Never stand in open. Fall flat if no protection is available.
RESUME DUTIES, if able.
DON'T PANIC AND DON'T SPREAD RUMORS.
Remember the large casualties in Japan resulted from failure to provide air raid warning and from lack of organization.
EFFECTS OF AIR BURST OF ATOMIC BOMB
- Sudden shock -- Shock pressure from burst not enough to kill. Flying debris causes almost all injuries.
- FLASH HEAT - Burns on exposed skin occur out to two miles. Light-colored clothes or any shielding substance afford protection. Keep your shirt on.
(Fight fires in normal manner.)
- FLASH RADIATION - 50% of radiation occurs in the first second. 80% in the first 10 seconds, all in first 90 seconds. Fall or dive fast to place as much material as possible between you and blast. In most cases if you are not sounded (sic) or burned you need not worry about radiation.
- LINGERING RADIATION - (from deposited bomb material) - So small it is not a hazard - disregard it.
As I was reading and typing the above, I became more and more amazed at the efforts to downplay the results of an atomic bomb blast. If, as I suspect, it was written during the Korean conflict, surely by then they knew the effects suffered by the Japanese people during and after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Please read the ongoing study about the survivors of these blasts here: The Health Effects of Atom Bomb My children all were taught the "duck and cover" techniques in case of a bomb attack when they were in elementary school. Can you imagine getting today's kids to do this?
As a side note, a first cousin of my dad developed/produced the electromagnetic process that made the first atomic bomb possible. (Not something we are particularly proud of, except he was brilliant.) Of course, he was at the Los Alamos site for the initial testing. He lost his own sight a few years after those tests.
The hydrogen - or thermonuclear bomb is one thousand times stronger than an atomic bomb. How can any country even think about loosing such devastation on the world?
As we take time over the Memorial Day weekend to honor the soldiers around the world who have lost their lives in service to their countries, let's also take a little time to sing along with the following...
May peace begin with me... and you...and you...and you. We need it now more than ever.