Lost and Found Photographs from a Lojwa Animal


We are but a few of the Survivors of the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission in the Marshall Islands.

Our main focus is to help each other with information and moral support during challenging times of our declining health.

Our secondary focus is to urge Congress to change the current laws and recognize soldiers of the cleanup mission as “veterans who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

We have been blessed with a donation of 27 photographs from an Anonymous Lojwa Animal who donated them to the NAAV.

Keith Whittle, of the National Association of Atomic Veterans donated them to our website 20 January 2015.

If you are the owner of these photographs, please speak up and let us know. We would like to give you credit for sharing them.

9/2/2015 Update: Scott McKenzie has spoken up and claimed his photographs.

Thank You Scott McKenzie for your contribution to our website and for your military service!



Please leave your comments below if you can shed any light about any of those photographs.

Who do you recognise?

What descriptions can you provide on what is happening in any of the photographs?

We urge our supporters to encourage their politicians to create legislation which will include Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Participants in the U.S. Government’s definition of a veteran “who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

Article written by Girard Frank Bolton, III. 1977-1979 Atomic Debris Cleanup Participant with C Company and HHC S-3 (Operations) of the 84th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) (Fwd) Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands.

17 thoughts on “Lost and Found Photographs from a Lojwa Animal

  1. I remember my late husband’s tour there, Ivan Reid, he was a BM1 in the Navy with ACU1 and we used to talk at least twice a week from radio from Enewetak to telephone from Hawaii. Sometimes it was hard to hear him but was always good to hear from him so far away. His stories of the glowing fish and two headed sharks to having rats as pets when he became a Lowja animal. I know how hard the isolation was on the ones that served there and how hard it was to come back to civilization. The months of readjustment to normal life was so hard on so many. What a horror for those of you that had to serve on those islands and shame on the government for telling the islanders that it was safe to return to those islands when they knew it was not. May God bless and keep you all.

  2. 2/79–7/79 Stepped out of the plane into the oven. Spent my time on Enewetak, Lojwa, Runit, and Medren. Like Scott,, I remember the rats and great food and my Lojwa feet! Because my glasses would get steamed up, I wasn’t able to wear the protective mask when working near the craters. No one told me that wasn’t a good idea, though. My overall experience in the Islands was a good memory for me because of all the quiet time on the ocean after work, and the chance to get closer to God.
    Healthwise, I’ve been pretty well. Have had some chronic, but minor, throat and gland issues for many years that I’ve come to realize may be related to this experience but I have not required major medical intervention.
    I currently live in an area where there’s a large population of Marshallese. It’s interesting to get their perspective on things.
    It’s been great finding these websites and seeing the photos. I have a few pictures of my own as well.

    • By the way, I don’t use the internet myself, so I’ve posted through my wife whose picture is with my comment.

  3. Where can I get the coin I’ve seen on the internet and a Lojwa Patch? Lojwa Animal 78-79

  4. I remember my father’s lojwa animal t-shirt. I had quite a few laughs over it. He held on to it for quite a few years after he returned. I was told many stories of his time on lojwa, enewetak, and runit and his time running with ACU-1.

  5. Michael (paco) Westfall U.S. Army
    Oct 78-Mar 79
    Lost all my pics, but those do bring back some memories.
    I was a Lojwa animal, and at one time had a patch saying such, someone had made while I was stationed there. If anyone remembers the fake ufo alert to HQ, that was me that made it, with a little help from the navy, lol.

  6. I was with the Air Force “FRST Team” worked on a dirt hauler (Maggie 7) hauling dirt from the upper islands to Runit. On a good day we made three or four trips. At the end of the work day we would dock the boats to an off-shore bouy because they were contaminated and take a Boston Whaler into Lojwa 4/78 – 9/78

  7. Thanks to all that responded. Still trying to figure computer out.

  8. I still have a machine gun bullet, glass ball and bag of seashells from my time on various islands (Enjebi, Boken). Finding glass balls from the nets of Japanese fishing boats was a fairly rare event. I remember the heat. I can remember being drenched by a passing storm and ten minutes later being perfectly dry again. I remember this WW2 machine gun that had become a part of the reef on Enjebi. and all the thick wire cables from the testing that we would uncover. Air conditioning was rare on Lojwa. The Imps were air conditioned, not for the operator’s comfort but to keep the equipment working. The trailer that passed as our PX/BX was also air conditioned. Whenever we worked on Enjebi we would have an Air Force Field Radiological Survey Team member and an Army medic. I did get a nose wipe after going downwind of a soil pile being worked on one occasion. The atoll commander would make monthly visits to Enjebi in his huey and I would get to show him around. On Sally there was excavation to remove parts of the tower from the failed nuclear test. The conventional explosive went off but there was no nuclear explosion. So they buried the tower material in a crypt. This was the hottest and most dangerous material to work around I think. I think Holmes & Narver was more involved in that removal work. You had to wear yellow rubber boots and there was controlled ingress/egress on Sally. You were checked with a Geiger counter to get out. The protective masks issued to equipment operators had the fans in them. I remember motoring by Gilligan’s Island. Any way it looked liked Gilligan’s Island and was called that. I remember all the nesting birds on Boken. Our dump truck drivers were to drive slow on Boken and allow the birds to walk out of the way. We would remove contaminated soil from Boken by LARC to Enjebi and there the 20Ton Dump Truck would dump his load on the mesh boat for its trip to Runit and the crater. I remember the boston whaler delivering lunch on Enjebi every day and the occasional ride I would catch on that boat. I was only sea sick once and that was on the ride from Enewetak to Lojwa when I first arrived. Had my Lojwa socks for a long long time after I got home.

  9. Girard,
    You have found the photographer of the “lost and found” photographs. I was a platoon leader with Co. B assigned to Lojwa from 1/79-6/79. I have many great memories of my time there. It was like being in a combat zone without anyone shooting at you. Great chow. The USO show was moving. I remember a guy in the first row of the show peering through binoculars trying to get as close a look at the girls on stage as possible. I remember a bulldozer kicking up a couple of Japanese beach mines and human remains on Enjebi (Janet). I do remember feeling greatful that I was not working on Runit. Their days were longer than mine due to the longer commute. Also, they came back dirty and tired. I can still see them trudging up the con-ramp after disembarking the LST exhausted. I remember the Lojwa rats. I had one that would come out of the rafters after lights out next to my bunk (and head). I remember losing the championship softball game on an error on the last play of the game. By the way, my health has been good. I do still have concerns about the future and any connections to my time on Enewetak.

    Scott McKenzie

    • Scott,
      I’m glad you found our group of forgotten atomic cleanup veterans! Your photos have certainly brought back memories from our time at Enewetak. The health issues has been fairly consistent with 1/3rd saying they are healthy and 2/3rds have health challenges believed to be influenced/caused by radiation exposure during our cleanup mission. Glad you’re in the 1/3rd group! We have a (secret) Facebook Group where we share stories about our time at Enewetak with each other. There’s over 300 of us in the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/120395714769077/ if you’re interested in reconnecting with other Lojwa Animals, etc…. I find it amazing how much our memories have been building with each new story from The Rock.
      – Frank
      p.s. – Don’t forget to add your info so I can add your name to our Roster Signup Thanks! – gfb3

  10. Seen the cartoon of newbys and shot timers. They forgot the gallon jug we all had to give before leaving ( piss ) seems we could all tell a short timer by that.

  11. I just finished scanning 780 slides to computer format from Enewetak mostly from Runit were I worked with the blasting crew. Anybody that would like them to be sent them I would be more than happy to do that.

    • We would love to add them to our collection Alan Leeman! Feel free to mail a CD of the slides to Girard Bolton, PO Box 501023, Mobile, Alabama, 36605-1023. Thank you!

      • I have been down since June but my pictures 350 are on the way I will send this week 11-30-15

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