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Finding the Clouds and a Life

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The schedule for my sampling flight was the last mission for Operation Castle. The device is twenty-three miles across the atoll from where our office is located. The device is sitting on a float of some sort over where an island was blown away. Every flight I made to get flying time, I would fly over the area to see how the construction was coming along. I was looking forward to seeing what kind of damage it would make in relation to size, heat, sound, and height. Another thing I would practice at the end of every flight was a GCA landing. The day finally came for the explosion, but nobody saw anything. A mammoth storm had moved in, and there was a need to help the sampler airplanes find the cloud. A B-36 with a good navigator could figure where the cloud is located and direct the sampler pilots to the cloud. After a few tries of directing the F-84s to where the cloud was thought to be, there was a delay. The sampler aircraft were getting low on fuel, and finally, the navigator gave a heading that worked, eight roentgens. Lieutenant Berger and I, still in formation, got information that the ceiling was one hundred feet and visibility was a quarter mile at the airfield. We requested a GCA, which should be fun.

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