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March 2014


We are pleased to announce the launch of a new website, "Ranger in Your Pocket."  Because the website works well on smartphones and other personal devices, visitors can create their own guided tours of the Manhattan Project sites.  


Check out the first "Ranger in Your Pocket" program for the B Reactor at Hanford. There are nearly 50 selections with first-hand accounts, from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and DuPont managers to children who grew up in Richland.

In This Issue
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"Ranger in Your Pocket" Launches
Heritage tourists around the world will now be able to tour the historic B Reactor and learn about life at the Hanford site on a new website, "Ranger in Your Pocket," launched today at The website features dozens of first-hand accounts of working on the top-secret Manhattan Project from solving the mysterious "poisoning" of the B Reactor to enduring the "termination winds."   


The Atomic Heritage Foundation has created a powerful new interpretive tool called "Ranger in Your Pocket," based on a BYOD or "Bring Your Own Device" strategy. This technology-based tool represents a fundamental shift in engaging visitors by empowering them to use their personal smartphones or tablets to create their own tour experience. On April 3, the Washington Post reported on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's efforts to create an interactive mobile experience for its visitors.


The new Manhattan Project National Historical Park is expected to generate 500,000 or more tourists at these sites over the next decade. In anticipation of the park, officials at the National Park Service have enthusiastically embraced this new technology. 



The Ranger in Your Pocket website will allow visitors to take self-guided tours of the B Reactor, the world's first full-scale plutonium production reactor. The B Reactor tour takes visitors through each major room in the reactor. Visitors can listen to Manhattan Project scientists and workers explaining how the reactor works and the various components that were essential to its operation.


At the Control Room stop, Leona Woods Marshall describes the fateful start-up of the reactor. "You could see the water getting hot, going through the brown recorders, and hear it rushing in the tubes. You could see the control rods coming out and out and out. And then something happened. There wasn't any reactivity. The reactor was dead, just plain dead! Everybody stood around and stared." Well after midnight, Enrico Fermi drove while they headed back to Richland and argued about what went wrong.



Another stop focuses on General Leslie R. Groves. As his son Richard recalled, his father was "very, very competitive. He played games not to play games, but to win. You didn't want to play a game with him, because you were probably going to lose. If you didn't, he'd come back until he beat you."  With extraordinary ambition, savvy and stamina, Groves was the Manhattan Project's "indispensable man," as historian Robert S. Norris explains.


Other selections depict "Life at Hanford." Burt Pierard remembers walking to the Village Theater as a five year old. "The Saturday matinee cost twelve cents for two cartoons, two main features, a newsreel, and a serial, like Superman or Rocket Man. I can remember as a five-year-old walking all the way across town with my dime and two pennies in my pocket."  



AHF plans to develop a suite of Manhattan Project tours on the "Ranger in Your Pocket" website. One tour in the works will feature Hanford's prewar history, the T Plant and 300 Area operations, and expand on life at Hanford during the Manhattan Project. Another will focus on Bathtub Row, Fuller Lodge and the former Technical Area in downtown Los Alamos, NM. A third will address the extraordinary scientific and engineering innovations that came out of the Manhattan Project and their legacy for today.


For the B Reactor tour, AHF is very grateful for the support of the City of Richland and the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Thanks, too, to the B Reactor Museum Association for its invaluable contributions as well as the Department of Energy-Richland, Mission Support Alliance, TRIDEC, Hanford Communities, the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center and members of the Hanford History Project. AHF worked with 4Site Interactive Studios to design and develop the "Ranger in Your Pocket" website.

Remembering James Schlesinger
We are sorry to report that James Schlesinger, one of the Atomic Heritage Foundation's advisers, passed away on March 27. Schlesinger had a long and illustrious career in government, serving as the first Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Defense, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.  

On April 27, 2002, Schlesinger spoke at a symposium on the Manhattan Project organized by AHF at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The proceedings were later published by World Scientific in Remembering the Manhattan Project: Perspectives on the Making of the Atomic Bomb and Its Legacy. In his speech, Schlesinger talked about the impact of the Manhattan Project on the world today:

"The development of the atomic bomb in World War II by the Manhattan Engineering District was a dramatic episode, perhaps the most dramatic event in the 20th century. It has had massive repercussions--with consequences both intended and unintended. Some of those were foreseen, and some that were 'foreseen' have never materialized. We did not have the Doomsday that some projected during the Cold War. That reflected, I believe, the enormous caution of at least that generation of political leadership. Regrettably, that does not imply that all political leaders will be similarly cautious in the future. Nor has proliferation occurred at the pace that was once projected. Clearly, though, it has now become the world's most pressing problem.

"One may hope, of course, that scientific developments bring blessings that are uncontaminated. Yet, good and evil will always be with us. The blessings of science will never be unalloyed. It is unrealistic to think so. Like all human endeavors, science is Janus-like and faces in two directions."

For more about Schlesinger's life, read the Washington Post's obituary.

The Other Wendover Commander 
Col. Clifford Heflin and Colonel Paul Tibbets

Colonel Clifford Heflin served 31 years in the United States Air Force. As a decorated member of the Armed Forces, Colonel Heflin's career involved flying bomber planes into enemy territory and commanding the Wendover military base in Utah during the Manhattan Project. On February 7, AHF President Cindy Kelly interviewed Colonel Heflin's daughter and son-in-law, Cathy and Darrell Dvorak, to learn more about his role at Wendover. Darrell has published several articles on Colonel Heflin's war work, and has uncovered more information about his important Manhattan Project work.


Colonel Clifford Heflin began his military career in the Air Cadets in 1938 at the age of 21. With outstanding technical and leadership skills, in just three years he earned the rank of Major. At the start of World War II, Colonel Heflin had a succession of roles flying bomber planes involving anti-submarine missions. He was then given an assignment to work with the Office of Strategic Services, and became commander of a secret unit known as the "Carpetbaggers." The Carpetbaggers dropped supplies to the Allies and armed resistance movements in enemy territory. Colonel Heflin's bravery and superior skills in commanding the Carpetbaggers garnered him the Legion of Merit, awarded to him by General Eisenhower.


His work with the Carpetbaggers brought him to the attention of the Manhattan Project's top military commanders, who assigned Colonel Heflin to be commander of the 216th Army Air Force's Base Unit Special Airfield at Wendover. As Dvorak explains, Col. Heflin's units were in charge of "weaponizing the science and engineering" of the bomb: flying the test missions for the bomb drops, and developing dummy bombs for test drops.

Barracks at Wendover today

Because the military wanted to keep the ordnance work classified, it was not published in the 1945 Smyth Report, which discussed much of the work done on the Manhattan Project. Colonel Paul Tibbets, who commanded the 509th Composite Group which dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is most closely associated with the Manhattan Project at Wendover. However, Dvorak's work shows that Tibbets and Heflin had parallel chains of command, and both were essential to the work done at Wendover.


To learn more about Colonel Heflin and his work at Wendover, please read Darrell Dvorak's articles, The Other Atomic Bomb Commander and The First Atomic Bomb Mission.


Manhattan Project Miniseries to Air in July
How will the miniseries portray Oppie?

The television network WGN America is currently filming a miniseries on the Manhattan Project, to be aired this July. The show is being filmed in New Mexico, and the show's producers have been consulting with the Los Alamos Historical Society and several other partners. 


The producers made the decision to change the scientists' names. The head scientist is named Frank Winter, to be played by Tony Award-winning actor John Benjamin Hickey. Glen Babbit is "a mentor to the younger scientists who helps navigate the political minefield of Los Alamos," and will be played by Daniel Stern. 


For more information, check out this Albuquerque Journal article, Los Alamos A-bomb project will be TV series.


Alexander Inn Removed from Endangered List


We are pleased to note that the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance has removed the historic Alexander Inn from its annual list of East Tennessee's Endangered Heritage sites. Top Manhattan Project scientists and officials, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, General Leslie Groves, and Enrico Fermi, stayed at the guesthouse during the Manhattan Project. 


The inn is currently undergoing a $5.5 million renovation to restore the building, which had deteriorated badly, and transform it into an assisted living center. For more about the inn and the 2014 East Tennessee Endangered Heritage List, check out this Oak Ridge Today article, Alexander Inn removed from endangered places list.

Recent Additions to "Voices of the Manhattan Project"
Cathy Dvorak's father, Colonel Clifford Heflin, was selected as the Commanding Officer of Wendover Air Base, overseeing the management of the base as well as the ordnance and ballistics work. Dvorak first learned of her father's involvement with the Manhattan Project when she was a teenager. Dvorak states that Col. Heflin gave only one interview concerning his work with the Manhattan Project, after his retirement from the Air Force. Dvorak shares stories about Col. Heflin as a family man, including taking his four girls on an overnight camping trip.

Darrell Dvorak's father-in-law, Colonel Clifford John Heflin, worked for the Manhattan Project. Dvorak has become very interested in Heflin's career during World War II and has published several papers. In England in 1943, Col. Heflin organized the top-secret unit known as the "Carpetbaggers," commanding their missions to drop supplies and arms to resistance movements behind enemy lines. Based on the strength of his work with the Carpetbaggers, Col. Heflin was selected as the Commanding Officer of Wendover Air Base, overseeing the management of the base as well as the ordnance and ballistics work.


Wally Greager began working at Hanford in late 1951 after graduating from college. He talks about the different projects he worked on at Hanford, and describes the process of irradiating the fuel in the tubes in the B Reactor.







Robert Holmberg began working on the Manhattan Project at the Chicago Met Lab and at Ames Laboratory in Iowa. He was then drafted into the Special Engineer Detachment and sent to Oak Ridge. He describes his life at Oak Ridge, where he met his wife and settled down, and recalls what he and his colleagues thought of General Leslie Groves at the time.






Hank Kosmata arrived in Hanford in January 1954 after graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in chemical engineering. After helping with the construction of K Reactor, Kosmata worked with "Reactor Design Analysis," a team of physicists, mathematicians, and mechanical engineers that were tasked with designing a new, re-circulating reactor. After a year of planning, Kosmata and his team finalized the basis of what would become the "New Production Reactor," or N Reactor.




Russell Jim is a member of the Yakama Nation near the Hanford site and serves as the head of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation's Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Program. Jim discusses the impact of the Manhattan Project on the Yakama Nation people and the environmental impact of the radioisotopes that were released into the areas surrounding the B Reactor and the Columbia River. 


Haskell Sheinberg arrived at Los Alamos in late 1944 as part of the Special Engineer Detachment. Sheinberg's first assignment was to purify plutonium under the direction of Arthur Wahl, one of the co-discoverers of plutonium. Sheinberg discusses the safety procedures the laboratory had in place to protect its workers from the harmful effects of radiation and also recalls attending several of Oppenheimer's colloquiums regarding the overall progress of the Manhattan Project. Sheinberg had a long and storied career at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.



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