Work Performed Survey Report

 

Al-Gettier-mobilization-preencryptment-phase

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

Our Original Mission was to relocate and entomb radioactive fallout and debris from the surface of the islands of Enewetak Atoll so the dri-Enewetak Islanders could return to their beautiful homeland of 40 Islands in the Marshall Islands.

We accomplished our Humanitarian Mission in 1980. Currently, some of us have health challenges related to cleaning up radiation produced by 43 atomic bombs tested in the Pacific Proving Grounds during the Cold War’s Atomic Test Program.

On May 6th 2014, we started collecting information about our health challenges.

As of November 22nd 2015, we have 330 responses to our survey.

321 responded to the item: “Lived on Island.” 198 said Lojwa and 123 replied Enewetak. The remaining 9 (of the 330) respondents did not reply to the question.

During the three year Atomic Cleanup Mission, the majority of the 8,000+ Atomic Cleanup Mission’s workers lived on Lojwa Island. The Mission’s Headquarters was located on Enewetak Island.

Here is how many of the Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Veterans answered the inquiry: “Description of work performed at Enewetak Atoll.” Respondent names have been omitted for privacy reasons. And some information has been edited to maintain confidential information.

  • Coxswain (Boat Driver) for the Navy’s MK-8 craft. Carried personnel from Island to Island along with hauled Vehicles and Contaminated Materials out to dumping site middle of Atoll. Did wear Chem suits (gray) with airpacs from time to time while hauling contaminated materials to dump site in Atoll.
  • Worked in motor maintenance platoon on Enewetak as a welder.
  • Served with Jimmy Clem and the Body Snatchers as a Medic.
  • Engineer Mesh-2 , an old LCU boat with a modified well deck used to transport “hot soil” from the northern islands to Runit.
  • Coxswain for MK-8.
  • Removed debris and hauled it to Runit.
  • Performed work as an electrician on board Landing Craft Utility, LCM boat and other small boat. Provided preventive maintenance and repairs to the various electrical systems.
  • ENEWETAK CLEANUP OPERATION – POWER PLANT OPERATOR. I RAN THE FOUR GENERATORS TO SUPPLY POWER TO THE ISLAND.
  • Radiological support.
  • I ran dozers and front-end loaders my whole time there along with a road grader every once in a while. As with most others, we were never told of the dangers of our mission nor were we given any sort of protective gear. Not even a simple paper mask. I breathed in all sorts of dust and who knows what else. I must say being on Enewetak was the best and worst duty I ever had. The best due to the team work, operating time and relaxed atmosphere we worked in, the worst due to what we were exposed to and our governments continued refusal to assist us with our health issues and coming forth with the truth about our exposure.
  • Construction.
  • During the above time frame of “Tour # 1”, I was stationed onboard USS Okinawa (LPH3) in the Western Pacific. Our task group pulled into the lagoon at Enewetak two different times, for a total period of about 1 week. The ships off-loaded equipment, vehicles and supplies and on-loaded equipment and vehicles (probably broken). I don’t know which island we were close to but I do remember standing on the flight deck looking and seeing one small building and one palm tree and wondering why the people wanted to move back. I cannot tell you the exact dates I was there but I’m sure that whatever records the Army kept would reflect the times Okinawa and her escorts were there.
  • Radio maintenance, Nav-Aids maintenance, telephone operator.
  • Service and repairs on the diamond reo cement mixers.
  • Assigned to Taxi boats, as well as with the EOD dive boat.
  • Operated batch plant, pumped slurry into crater.
  • I was an Amphibian Operator of a LARC-60 Our vehicle was loaded with contaminated debris and we delivered to the dump site that was instructed to us.
  • Dropped of workers on their respective Islands on our way to Boken where we would pick up a 60 ton dump truck fully loaded with soil and take it to Runit where we would off load and wait for the dump truck to come back and we’d head back to Boken to do it all again at the end of the day we would pick up anybody that needed a ride back to Lowjoa.
  • Crane operator.
  • POL.
  • Worked on Enewetak as mechanic, keeping all the vehicles running. Specialized on the RTL -10 forklifts. Worked with a great group of brothers.
  • Worked 6 days a week for 7 months. Found human Bones/remains on Island Janet.
  • Team Chief for the 309th Trans Det. Fwd. Prov. attached to Co. A 84th ENG BN. Maintenance for the 4 LARCs assigned to the project. Other duties as assigned.
  • Supported power generation and motorized in maintenance shop on Enewetak.
  • Acting Adjutant for Lowja S-1. Was ordered LAST MAN OUT from Lowja during Typhoon Mary. Call sign LOWJA 1. Preformed all type of administrative duties in support of Army, Navy, Air Force and civilian personnel. Performed duties as Tax Officer. Learned to use bucket loader and went out with surveyors to neigboring islands. Also, got shit burning detail before the toilets were put in.
  • Surveyed and staked the ring wall on the Crater and also staked 25 meter grids across several northern islands.
  • All the fun stuff and then some!
  • Mechanic. Repaired trucks & dozers.
  • 1SG.
  • LARC60 Amphibian crewman.
  • Poured concrete used cutting torches to cut metal out of beaches.
  • I was a squad leader of a construction crew. We cleared land framed pads for tents and then buildings for the base camp on Lojwa. Also ran the generators and set up the power station for Lojwa.
  • Arrived as part of the advanced party, flew on the UH1H helicopters doing fly overs of each of the islands at about 100 feet with test equipment on board that was supposed to measure and map out the contaminated areas. They were all contaminated. Flew Medivac and search and rescue missions. Perform other duties as assigned. Visited most of the islands by boat to conduct more test and recover equipment. Ate Prime Rib every Wednesday night in the mess hall. I must say the food there for us was damn good.
  • Driving Truck General Labor Jackhammer Operator.
  • Repaired work boats.
  • Executive officer Runit. Day to day operations of Runit. Right hand of CO.
  • Member of First Combat Platoon, Rock and Re-Bar. Removed any and all man made substance from the island of Enjubi (Janet). Most was hand lifted, hand carried either to the bucket loader on 5 ton truck. We also unearthed many unexploded ordinances from the WWII Battle of Enewetak on the island of Enjebi.
  • Checked personnel, equipment, and various other things to ensure that appropriate radiation protection measures were being utilized. Took monthly trips by whaler to outlying islands and placed dosimeters and radiation badges on the islands to check the levels of radiation on them. Also assisted the University of Hawaii with a testing of the tideal runs around the islands.
  • Worked at J-2, Radiation Control. Documented readings of thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) for historical records.
  • Concrete Forming Crew on the Cactus Crater, Security guard on Lojwa, Sealed Up concrete bunkers on various islands.
  • UH-1H Medevac Helicopter Pilot.
  • Drove imp for EG&G. Set up IMP at grids on islands to take radiation readings. Also did readings on samples brought back to Lojwa by EG&G personnel. I believe the picture on your site of the IMP and driver is me, possibly when the army took me and Dick Connerton to Belle by army LARC.
  • Started out running the MARS station on Lojwa in April of ’78 and was moved to Enewetak sometime around September of ’78, to A Co and worked in the motor pool until I left in march of ’79.
  • Calibrated Radiac equipment that was used to measure the exposure level of the troops working on Runit.
  • Company B = Used explosives to blow up big pieces of concrete into little pieces. Removed concrete & re-bar by hand. Company A = Cleared screening machine that was dumping debris into the crater.
  • Welder / Body Fender work.
  • Worked at the rock crusher for a while then to the crater and the track drill.
  • Radioactive debris pickup. Cactus Crater placement.
  • Wrecker operator, TAMMS Clerk, Mechanic.
  • I was the battalion mail clerk for the 84th. I was responsible for the movement of all the mail and to provide mail services to all of Enewetak’s army personnel. In support of our troops, I traveled to all areas of the atoll where our men were located. I would prefer to take one of the helicopters when I could, but I spent many a long day traveling by mike boat. Included in the job was taking care of the nightly movies and the equipment.{all 16mm reels} Since the mail came only once a week on the Tuesday resupply C-141, I helped out in other areas where it was needed.The MARS station was good spot to hang out since it was one of the few areas that had a/c.
  • Started as LCM Boat Engineer and ended as Engine Shop Leading Petty Officer & Head Troubleshooter.
  • I was initially assigned to Lojwa upon arrival in the Marshall Island. Once we cleaned up and shut down Lojwa, I was redeployed to Enewetak where I served with the Navy boat crews ferrying personnel, vehicles, equipment, and supplies between the islands.
  • Admin and Day to Day duties on Runit.
  • BM-1 Craftmaster LCU-1552 (MESH III), Inter-island hauler of personnel, equipment, radiated soil and debris.
  • Crane operator on a barge in the middle of lagoon.
  • Engine-man.
  • Worked on board a warping tug with three Causeways. I was TAD there from ACB-1 from Cornado Ca.. While there the duties performed was transporting equipment to various islands in the atoll. On one occasion I sunk on this tug while transporting it to the Holmes and Narver Pier for demolition. At the age of 26 I started having issues with my legs. I was diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease. Also several breathing issues, Heart Disease with Bypass surgery at 36 years old.
  • Build the five hundred man base camp.
  • Serviced Aircraft and area with fuel. Provided fuel support to other islands as well.
  • Varied responsibilities as member of the (J-3) Joint Task Group Operations Center as Sr Draftsman/illustrator. Drafted radiological maps that guided the US Army Element as they excised radiation-contaminated soil and provided illustration support for command briefings. As Joint Task Group Operations Radio Operator assumed air/ground radio control responsibilities which included all MAC flights, Army Helicopters and international ship traffic and telephone operator for the Joint Task Group. In addition, as “Charlie One” broadcasted all “Fire in the hole” and “All Clear” signals.
  • Opened cement bags all day long.
  • Construction of base camp and utility systems on Lojwa.
  • Spent a couple of days there in 1977 offloading equipment and personnel as part of a WESTPAC cruise.
  • I D Hot Spot Air Sample Collections Work with Army Engineer’s with clean up of Specific Hot Spots.
  • Supported the Command Group with all administrative support. Of note, prepared the Early Resettlement Letter.
  • I was a squad leader pouring the slabs on the crater. Also the Squad leader elected to pour the last slab at the top of the crater to complete the capping of the crater.
  • Drove dump truck hauled dirt from the LARC to Runit.
  • Operator of the Army’s LARC-60 Ton Amphibian Vehicle. Carried contaminated debris to dumping site.
  • During WestPac, we visited Enewetak twice. First in August and returned in January. We assisted with the cleanup mission by removing metal materials from the island by boat which was loaded by hand. Transferred the metals by hand onto our ship. This took several days to load. Weeks later while underway, we dropped the stern gate and dumped all of it at sea. We repaired damaged boats on the island. Many needed welding. Many sailors refused to work sitting in protest on the flight deck. They were angry we were in radioactive waters and this material was being brought on board while already being exposed to asbestos everywhere on the ship.
  • Platoon Leader for 3rd Shop, A Company. We performed all the heavy maintenance of Wheeled Vehicles and Engineer Equipment for all elements of the 84th Engineer Battalion on the Enewetok Atoll. We also maintained all the Generators and sent contact trucks to the various work sites throughout the Atoll. We supported the LARCs detachment, the Air Force and the Navy.
  • Engineer on Maggie 2 – transported personnel for clean up work from Enewetak to the Islands of Janet, Medren, Runit and Lojwa, transporting contaminated soil and debris from various Islands to Runit. Transported heavy Equipment from Enewetak and Lojwa to various Islands for clean up work. Engineer on Water Taxi – transported personnel to various Islands. Fireman on LCU’s.
  • We took care of transportation of equipment around the atoll.
  • Water beach clean, up transported vehicles to different islands,put in causeway section pier.
  • Prepared crater for capping of cement and blasting of coral reef.
  • Clean up scrap metal and old buildings. Blew up barge slip, etc.
  • -For all landing craft (LCU, LCM, Boston Whaler)-Electrician (EM) and Inner Communication (IC) operation and maintenance senior lead. Navy Work Center Supervisor for EM, IC and Electronic Technician Navy Rates. Joint Services troubleshooting and repair electrician (Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard & Atomic Energy Commission). Core member Typhoon Recovery Cleanup Crew. Weekly inspection and repair as needed of all naval navigation lights throughout the Atoll. Under Army direction Enewetak Joint Services Motion Picture Projector Operator and Maintenance (Navy NEC-4613).
  • Removed approx. 7-10 inches of hot topsoil from island of Lojwa and transported by 5 ton dump trucks which were driven on to LCUs and taken to the island of Runit and dumped into a large crater.
  • Military Police Duties.
  • I drove visitors from island to island on a Boston 22′ whaler with twin Johnson 70hp engines.
  • Radiation protection training, radiation exposure monitoring.
  • Went to Enjebi (Janet) every day started up the equipment and worked on the trucks and dozers and equip that broke down I drove the service truck.
  • Aircraft Turbine Engine Repairman, kept those UH-1H, Hueys flying. In addition we had to constantly monitor all the aircraft flights with flight following. Whenever the Hueys were in the air we maintained constant contact with them by radio and log in their position around the atoll. At times we’d get a bit concerned while they were on the northern end of the atoll at low altitude and we lost radio contact for more then 15 min.
  • Repaired Equipment, on Lojwa and Enjebi and Bokin islands.
  • S-1 Clerk, courier to Lojwa for various documents, mail, supplies. Backup admin for outlying islands. Other duties as assigned.
  • I ran landing craft to dump sites from island to island and equipment.
  • Worked at support maint shop repairing heavy equipment using a contact truck called 8 ball maintence. I was stationed on Enewetak for 19 months.
  • Operations NCOIC for B Company, 84th Engrs.
  • Set up base camp, built tin huts-power plant and many other buildings and poured tons of concrete for huts.
  • Processed all defective cleanup vehicles, and parts for return to states and replacement.
  • Removed underwater “junk”, tanks and other metal objects from the bay, and blew up various objects to include beached and rusting ship bows on Island reef.
  • Vessel Master of an US Army LARC-60 Amphibian Vehicle. Carried contaminated debris on amphibian to a designated dumping site.
  • Worked on Cactus crater dome.
  • Air sampler repair, resupply, other duties as assigned.
  • Prepared construction documents for Lojwa Base Camp buildings and infrastructure. Prepared construction documents for the Atomic Debris Containment Structure known as the Cactus Dome on Runit Island. Prepared charts, graphs, and critical path method schedules for construction and cleanup operations. Updated the Joint Task Group’s operations board after collecting man-hours, equipment-hours and contaminated materials transportation reports from Lojwa and Runit Executive Officers. Scheduled helicopter flights between Enewetak, Lojwa and other islands. Provided mail clerk duties for the 84th Engineer Battalion on Enewetak Island and Lojwa Island.
  • Rock Crushing, Reef Drilling and Blasting, 20 Ton Dump Truck Operator, Cactus Dome Key Wall Builder.
  • Crew on LARCs delivering troops to islands and hauling dump trucks with contaminated soil, such as Ionizing radiation, out to barge to be unloaded by excavator.
  • Operated electric generating power plant on Lojwa.
  • Engineer on Maggie 2 , transported contaminated soil and debris from several different Islands, Medren, Janet, to Runit, transported Personnel working on clean up, mostly Army from Enewetak to Lojwa and Runit . Engineer on water taxis’- transported personnel from Enewetak to Lojwa. Fireman on LCU’S- transported heavy equipment to Islands for clean up work on Lojwa and Runit and back to Enewetak. Transported contaminated soil and debris to Runit. Transported personnel working on clean up to Lojwa and Runit.
  • Ran the Power Plant on Lojwa. Sometimes, we would perform repairs on generators on other islands if needed. On my tour, I do not remember the exact dates. I traveled a lot for my job.
  • Whaler Coxswain.
  • Construction supervisor, managed heavy equipment operations.
  • Boat engineer on Mike boat. ( Maggie 5). Mostly transporting troops and equipment from Enewetak to Lojwa and Enjebi.
  • Bull dozer operator, and poured concrete.
  • Member of Advanced Party. Clear the island of Lowja of vegitation and start building the 500 man base camp for regular party to follow. Carpenter work and helped tie det cord for blasting coral away for foundation of water purification and electrical generation plant.
  • Legal Clerk and Admin NCO for all military services on atoll. Unofficial Military Photographer. VIP escort and MWO boat operator. Spent time on all items and documented progress on crypt. Also worked with University of Hawaii as support diver and underwater photographer.
  • Demolition on concrete structures on different and fuel tank on beach. Was put on concrete ship to blow it up then they decide to keep it was close we had the c 4 on it . Drove cement truck on Runit filling in the crater.
  • Participated in the air, cargo and mail operations, as well as air terminal operations on Enewetak Atoll for the USAF element. Lived and worked at the Air Terminal, along with US Army personnel sharing the hut at the airfield. Processed all mail, cargo and passengers onto, and off the island for two TDY terms.
  • Carpenter.
  • Operated tool room for approximately one month, operated fuel point on Lojwa for one month, construction equipment repair on Runit rest of tour.
  • Worked in Mess Hall.
  • First tour: I was in charge of the first joint Army-Navy team to move aggregate from the stockpile on Enjebi (Janet) to Lojwa Island (Ursula) for use in the construction of the forward base camp. Our work began on 8 April 1977 under my supervision (Chief Boatswain’s Mate Roger Black). During the week my team and I camped out on Enjebi and utilized the facilities of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory’s trailer (mainly for cooking). We lived in a tent by the trailer. We anchored the Landing Craft (LCM-8) off the beach of Enjebi at night and swam ashore. We generally made two (2) runs a day from Enjebi to Lojwa with the well deck of the LCM loaded with Aggregate. Second tour: I was the Naval element Assistant Officer-in-Charge. I was also the Craftmaster of Mash-3 an Army Landing Craft Utility (125 foot LCU). I assisted in the transportation of material (Bulk Haul) from the clean up site to Runit (Yvonne) or to dump site’s in the lagoon. I was also part of the atoll evacuation during the typhoon of late December 1977. I moved over 300 Plus personnel (Army, Navy, Air Force) from Lojwa to Enewetak in the well deck of my LCU at night, during a very heavy rain. After most of the atoll personnel were evacuated from Enewetak to Guam, 25 selected personnel (of which I was one of them) stayed on the Atoll during the typhoon. We were there to clean the runway, of any debris, so that aircraft would be able to land when personnel returned. I am mentioned by name on page 152 of the book “The Radiological Cleanup of Enewetak Atoll” by the Defense Nuclear Agency, Washington D.C. of 1981.
  • Lojwa Animal. Crew aboard the LARC-60 amphibious watercraft. Removed contaminated debris from various Islands and hauled to Runit. I was there for the final draw down phase and capping. I may be a little off on my assigned dates.
  • Supply, truck driving, handling small debris.
  • Loaded aircraft including radioactive samples.
  • I was mechanic work on everything. Lojwa Animal.
  • Concrete Crew Cement finisher.
  • Rock and Rebar Crew. Main focus Enjebi.
  • Power plant operator and water distillation plant operator.
  • Military Police. Was on Lojwa investigating several incidents. Plus, was on Enewetok.
  • Ran the MARS Station from April until August. Extended because they could not find a replacement for me for another tour, sometime in September I was moved to Enewetak and worked in the main telephone exchange building and ended up in the A co motor pool until I left in Mar of 1979.
  • On Lojwa. Started in the Engine shop the to Maggie 8. Closed Lojwa moved to Enewatak. Transferred from Maggie’s to LCU’s before leaving Enewatak.
  • Power Plant Operations and Mechanic.
  • Operated 5 cubic yard bucket loader unloading soil boats; operated D-8 dozer pushing up blast rock on the reef and other D-8 tasks like trying to remove key wall sections that were deemed out of place; helped set up quarry and demo blasts and worked on the rock crusher. Was on the crew that demobilized Lojwa in October 1979.
  • Building Base Camp – My assignment was over the squad installing plumbing in the mess hall.
  • Base camp construction 500 man.
  • Nuclear cleanup.
  • Repair of all power generation (3KW-100KW), welding (Lincoln), heavy construction (D8, 440 grader etc) equipment.
  • Cleaned up waste. Capped the crater.
  • I drilled holes in the coral to blow it up to make concrete.
  • Advance party 1st co. To go. Built huts to live in.
  • Cleanup debris on Enewetak and Medren.
  • 62B20. Worked on heavy equipment on Runit. Was shop NCOIC while there.
  • Squad leader under Pappy John Statton, SSG. Several 20T International Dumps and a few cranes operated by Lobo and Chico. It was a great experience there, with lots of great friends. I am currently contracting in Afghanistan and this week found out a friend of mine here was also TDY to Enewetak. His name is Miguel Rubio III and he was on the main island from late ’78 to mid ’79. I retired from the Army with almost 28 years and Enewetak is one of my better memories! I still think of the islands whenever I smell wet canvas…
  • Bustin’ pots and sweepin’ floors. Also, feeding the Animals.
  • Operator of Lojwa Power Plant consisting of four Caterpillar D-398 Generator sets operating at 500KW each at 4160 Volts AC, including Caterpillar Switch-gear.
  • Drink beer. EOD disposing of lots of WWII ordnance Drink beer Radiation air monitoring, decon and sample taking. Blew coral away to make channels for boats into various islands. Drink beer Called bingo once a week. Got in trouble for taking a bath one night in the medics water buffalo. Got in trouble for sneaking diving gear on to Runit and diving in one of the craters.
  • Hauled topsoil from Janet to Runit on Maggie 9. Orange LCM 8. Then on Maggie 3 LCM 8 on Enewetak hauling personnel and towing barges out to the middle of the lagoon to off load metal and debris.
  • Mixing concrete and building tin huts.
  • Maintained and repaired Air sampler units used on contaminated islands being cleaned up.
  • Was C company commander for the first 6 months and then operations officer forward on Lojwa.
  • Build the Five hundred man base camp on Lojwa.
  • Operated bucket loader removing hard debris and soil from various islands for disposal. As a combat engineer, was also involved in several demolition projects.
  • Everything heavy junk to picker and operator.
  • Base Camp Construction.
  • Equipment Mechanic at Lojwa.
  • Medical corpsman, going to the different islands every day. Worked with rec department. Had a band and performed at the em club, and the USO Show.
  • Anchored off Runit/Cactus Crater for refit operations of Lojwa lCM-8 in our welldeck lpd-8 dubuque after well deck operations tighten down jet fuel jp-5 tank tops in our well-deck lpd-8 with torque wrench put hands in radioactive sand from craft and water from lagoon off runit/cactus crater as well craft brought sand and radioactive water in welldeck had two tours of clean-up on repairing lcm-8 from runit/cactus crater! Sept 18 to 20 and again after typhoon came through off runit nov14 to 19 1978! also conducted flight operations to other ships in clean-up!
  • Radiation monitoring of personnel and equipment.
  • I was a AF Medic from Hickam AFB, Hi. Originally assigned to medical support on Lojwa and worked with SSgt Steve and Capt (Dr) Davis. Then after only a month, I had to escort Army Capt. F. Brown on an emergency Medivac (he ended up have severe appendicitis) back to Tripler Army Hosp. I returned a week later, however because there needed to be at least 3 people to see and treat the patients on Lojwa, they had someone to take my place, so I remained on Enewetak and worked with Maj. (Dr) Means and the rest of the AF staff in the main clinic. I did a lot of snorkeling (esp LOVED the U of Hawaii’s reef farm where I had my first close encounter with a black tip reef shark), swimming, working out at the gym, played softball on a great team (I was the pitcher) and of course….SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE!!!! I’m fortunate in that I don’t have any exposure related issues, just a lot of Basal Cell skin problems. It’s great finding this site and even found an old Army buddy that I befriended there, I just now contacted after all of these years. Good luck to all of my fellow Vets….Army, AF and Navy (I have to include those civilians that made life a wee bit better….food service, scientists and other civilians).
  • I flew UH-1H “Huey” helicopters on administrative, MEDIVAC, and search and rescue flights around Enewetak Atoll.
  • Worked on Medren picking up metal debris from the beaches and around the island. Lived on Enewetok. Second tour lived on Lojwa and worked on Runit driving a cement mixer from the batch plant to the crater, and worked security on Lojwa in the evenings.
  • When I first arrived, I was in HHC 84th Engr Bn. I worked at the warehouse (where the short pants, jungle boots, and boonie caps were issued to newbees. After 2 weeks I transferred to B Co, 84th Engr on Lojwa. I was the supply clerk for B Co. until B Co. finished cleaning the islands up north. I believe it was late July when B. Co closed down. A Co. remained on Lojwa as they finished the cap on the Runit crater. I left Lojwa to rejoin Headquarter and Headquarters Company (HHC) and worked in the Battalion S-4 office until I left in October. A group of us from Enewetak went to Runit three different times for a daylong ‘police call’ cleaning up the reef of rebar and steel fragments, etc. I was on Runit the day the center section was poured to finish the crater cap.
  • Traveled from Lojwa to other hot islands for clean up. Worked to build storage building for concert for dome. Also worked in rec area teaching photography development. Other duties as requested to do.
  • Took contaminated soil to lagoon by LCM-8 boats.
  • Landing craft troop support.
  • Cleaned up Meridian for 4 months; worked on concrete dome area at Runit for 2 months.
  • Quarry and asphalt paving. Drill and Blasting Section as well. Specialist responsible for Operation of all Crushers, Generators and Batch Plant operations and all related equipment. Worked with Holmes & Narver Specialist trouble shooting and putting into operation the Batch Plant, constructing the generating shed wiring up all related equipment and supervising the debris separation from all foreign materials, bombs, shells, mortars, mines, bullets, wood, metal, all radioactive debris, machine guns, occasional grenades, all left over from WWII, carry what was HOT to the crater & throw it in, detonate all old ordinance at the end of the day when not in operation at the plant. Policing area of HOT junk and making 270 loads of hot concrete a day at peak production times.
  • 20 ton Junk driver. Hauled off debris.
  • I started out running the 5YD bucket loader on Runit, unloading ‘hot’ soil boats. Was reassigned to the quarry running the D8K dozer pushing up the blast rock plus whatever else they wanted the D8 to do, like removing key wall sections because someone didn’t think the key wall was round. Also worked on the rock crusher, took part in setting up quarry blasts on the reef and demo blasts. I was on the demobilization party for Lojwa. Lived 9 months on Lojwa and 3 months on Enewetak. I also have the experience of almost sinking a LARC by pushing debris out of it with a D7 in the middle of the lagoon. Don’t know whose idea it was, but it was exciting.
  • Radiological controls, assisted Scientist on northern islands.
  • Billeting NCO, Accounting NCO.
  • E-4 (Specialist 4th Class) Communications Installation/Repair and Operator w/Crypyprographic, 84th Engineer Bn., Schofield Barracks, Hi., Attached from 426th Signal Bn, IVIII Airborne Corps, Ft Bragg, N.C. February 1978 through August 1978. Assisted (by order) to travel to various islands for clean-up operations. Handled various debris, found underwater mine field off Lojwa. Stationed on LOJWA BASE CAMP. AKA Lojwa Animal. Also employed by Holmes and Narver as Bartender for the Lojwa Sandcastle. Only eight days remaining In-Service upon leaving Islands.
  • Operated concrete pump-pumped contaminated concrete into crater that was capped.
  • Advanced party of 37. Built 500 man base camp at Lojwa.
  • I was an M.P. assigned to the joint task force.
  • Repair and maintenance of air samplers, both aboard landing craft and on shore; inventory and maintenance of the air sampler repair facility; resupply of materiel used on the island; other duties as assigned.
  • Supervised the construction of the high voltage electrical power distribution grid for the island of Lojwa.
  • Drove erma /troop truck around Lojwa & across causeway to next island. Wore ducksuits on top of buildings on Janet ( ran jackhammers in the sun) then cleanup to drop debris in ocean.
  • Ran the pneumatic tools, explosives, retrieval of contaminated debris to load on lark, construction, vehicle maint.
  • Rock and rebar crew.
  • We helped the workers who were stationed there. We helped repair their boats and gave them supplies. We also played them in a softball game.
  • I was a medic at the clinic, providing medical care/support, also did food inspections at the dining hall.
  • Drove 20 ton dump truck. Moved contaminated soil from Enjebi and another island to Runit. Trucks were transported by the Navy boats to Runit. Once on Runit, we dumped the soil into a pile and then it was prepared to be mixed with concrete and added to the crater, created by a bomb blast from the past. I remember that the Air Force were the guys monitoring us as we came out of the hot zone. I came out hot once and was told to go rub dirt on my yellow boots and to remove my mask and throw it in the trash. I don’t remember wearing a radiation monitoring badge.
  • Removal of debris mean high tide line and out. Diving operations as needed.
  • Mechanic.
  • Operated Michigan bucket loader. Unloaded boats with contaminated sand coming from other islands at Runit into dump trucks to be mixed with cement and taken to the crater area .
  • I just dug holes with my back over the defense nuclear agency and I also work a bulldozer and then in great all and dump trucks hi haul dirt wherever needed to go pick up rocks good manual labor did whatever I was told.
  • Dozer operator.
  • Heavy equipment operator, demolition of bunkers, form construction, part time sailing instructor.
  • Hauled soil from northern islands to Runit.
  • Repaired Heavy equipment and trucks. Operated Wrecker and heavy equipment at battalion motor pool. Lived in hooch at air strip.
  • The loading and unloading of materials and supplies that the island used for ex. fuel, food, commissary items etc.
  • Poured Concrete Cleaned up Radioactive waste around the island.
  • Heavy Equipment Mechanic/Tow Truck driver/Mailman.
  • Truck Driver.
  • Heavy Equipment Mechanic, repaired dozers, graders, bucket loaders, cement trucks either at the repair site on the southern end of Runit Island or using the service truck wherever the broken equipment was located, sometimes on the hot side of the line.
  • I was assigned to repair the fuel trucks and some M-series trucks.
  • Removed and relocated comms equipment, etc.
  • Demolition, Concrete form work driving 10ton dump trucks and general clean up.
  • My crew and I completed the Mess Hall and started the A Frame Chapel. We also had to maintain the maintenance on the hootches and other buildings on the island. When Typhoon Nancy arrived we had to basically start all over on the mess hall, because the roof was gone and also had to repair all the other roofs that were damaged from typhoon Nancy, which was Christmas Eve 1977. Back in Hawaii I was assign to B Co, 84th Engr Bn.
  • Provided electrical maintenance and repairs of various electrical system and equipment on assault craft unit one LCU’s and LCM’s 8 and other small boat.
  • Field Radiation Support Team Surveyed area and troops for radiation.
  • Police patrol duties. Crime and incident investigation and report completion. Dug into soil to fill sandbags during typhoon season to place around entrance of police station to prevent flooding. Sometimes dug as much as three feet into soil behind station.
  • Heavy Equipment maintenance and repairs. Shop NCOIC.
  • Worked mainly on Medren but went to several smaller islands by LARC.
  • I traveled to islands as a medic.
  • Ran heavy equipment in cleaning up tearing down deep water pier and what ever they wanted.
  • Demo with explosives. Then a cement bag buster on Runit.
  • Tore open those 90# sacks of freakin cement all day long!
  • Part of the crew that installed the 2 mW Power plant to provide power to the island.
  • Worked on Runit operating the concrete pump located at the edge of the bomb crater pumping the contaminated concrete into the crater.

As you can see from our roster survey, Atomic Cleanup Veterans’ work experiences ranged from laborers to heavy equipment operators, to the mechanics who kept things going, to the operations and administrative staffs, to the cooks in the mess hall, etc… all worked for a common goal.

We appreciate each and every Atomic Cleanup Veteran who helped our readers get a clearer view of our typical work experiences during our Humanitarian Mission.

You can help us change our “occupational” exposure classification to “at-risk” exposure by letting your Federal Representatives know you want them to support Hawaii’s Rep. Mark Takai’s Bill H.R. 3870 Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.

Continue to learn more about us from various resources shared by supporters and cleanup participants in future AtomicCleanupVets.com articles. Our articles contain photographs, videos, documents and stories shared by the actual participants who cleaned radioactive contaminated soils and materials from the surface of the islands at Enewetak Atoll.

Article written by Girard Frank Bolton, III. 1977-1979 (14 month) participant with C Company and HHC S-3 (Operations) 84th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) (Fwd) Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands.

Our Current Mission is to help health challenged Atomic Cleanup Veterans become included in the Veterans Administration’s definition of an Atomic Veteran so we can qualify to apply for funds set aside for veterans “who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

2 thoughts on “Work Performed Survey Report

  1. Jesus Pardo
    I lived on Lojwa got there just before fourth of July ’78. Left Dec. ’78. I was a 62B I drove the service truck on Janet. Biggest part of the day was jump starting twenty tons in the morning. Also went out during the day to repair equipment. Sometimes stayed back in the shop repairing equipment. One thing I’ll never forget was the bologna sandwiches for lunch on Janet every day. Haven’t eaten bologna ever again.

  2. I worked as a laborer pouring concrete and using cutting torches to cut contaminated metals out of the beaches.
    I was told that I was too “hot ” and they would not let me leave Runit island even after 4 scrubdowns.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: