From Service to Sacrifice

“They are but a few of the Survivors of the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission in the Marshall Islands. My name is T-M Fitzgerald but they call me Fitz.”

“They adopted me as their little sister because I like to ask questions that have refreshed memories that are funny, sad and enlightening.”

In 2014, Fitz soon realized Atomic Cleanup Veterans’ first hand accounts of the 1977 – 1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission needed to be shared.

So she started taking notes and asking more questions. Then Fitz put what she learned from us into a book appropriately entitled:

“From Service to Sacrifice: Cold War/Hot Ground: Introducing the Atomic Cleanup Story of The Marshall Islands. Compiled by TM Fitzgerald.


“Failure is an inevitable condition of success.”

J. Robert Oppenheimer

These men trusted their government. They had no reason not to. They served with honor, and without question, believing they were serving their country for humanity’s sake. Many have since died for their service, for their patriotism, and obedience, disclaimed and denied by the very government they served. Decades have passed, but the questions remain: “Was it worth it? Did we make any difference at all or were we destined for failure from the start?”

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man considered ‘father of the atomic bomb’ for his role in leading the program responsible for developing America’s first nuclear weapon (the Manhattan Project) has been attributed with saying the following, “I have become Death.”

For all the men who served in the Pacific Proving Grounds of the Marshall Islands during the Enewetak Humanitarian Mission that took place between 1977 and 1980, no truer words could have been spoken. Over 8,000 men served yet fewer than 500 survivors have been located. The men sharing their stories here are Cold War Survivors. They are few in number but undaunted in spirit.

This book is dedicated to all those born into an era of air raid drills and backyard bomb shelters, to individuals who served their country during a peaceable, and valiant humanitarian effort; Veterans and civilian-contractors alike. This book is for all the men known and unknown who’ve since passed from cancers and various other illnesses related to uncontrolled exposure to ionizing radiation and residual nuclear fallout, and lastly but certainly not least, to the forgotten, comparative few remaining who survive post Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Project.

From Service to Sacrifice: Cold War/Hot Ground. Introducing the Atomic Cleanup Story of the Marshall Islands is a compilation that has been created specifically to honor and remember all those who assisted in the well-intended, yet futile peacetime mission of cleansing a remote, Pacific Trust Territory of the remnants of death that Dr. Oppenheimer had constructed. Without their knowing, Oppenheimer’s legacy would follow all of them as well for the rest of their lives.

How do we make the threat of nuclear devices real for the twenty-first century? We tell the stories. How could such a large group of soldiers and civilians be so conveniently forgotten? Theirs was a deliberately concentrated population of both military and civilian personnel whose naivety and dedication to the mission would be purposefully exploited all the way to the end? “Deny, deny, until they all die.”

This book is devoted to recognizing all of those who served, remembering those who’ve lost their battles with both their government and with radiation-related illnesses, those who’ve already passed the surly bonds of Earth and for those (Veterans and civilian-contractors alike) who still await Oppenheimer’s invisible call. Perhaps as equally important, this book is dedicated to the world as well, so that all may not only know but perhaps understand the legacy of the men who served in good faith on Enewetak and its sister atolls.

May this book function not only as an introduction but also as a tangible reminder to us all of Oppenheimer’s haunting legacy and of the impossible mission these Atomic Cleanup participants attempted to carry through. The world was never meant to know of these men or the mission they were dealt. This book introduces their true story.

We urge our supporters to learn more about our mission and the consequences of our humanitarian mission by reading our first hand accounts of the 1977 – 1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission.

You can begin now by purchasing “From Service to Sacrifice” from T-M Fitzgerald at CreateSpace or at Amazon

Thank you for being a patriotic supporter of our nation’s military servicemen and women!

Let others know you support Atomic Cleanup Veterans by sharing this webpage.

You can keep up with future book updates on Facebook at “From Service to Sacrifice: Cold War, Hot Ground”.

Plus, we encourage you to post pictures of yourself with your copy of our book with the hashtag #fromservicetosacrifice written in your comments and tagged on your photo.

Adding #fromservicetosacrifice to your posts will help raise awareness of our need to be offered the same healthcare offered to Atomic Test Era Veterans.

Please support HR632 Mark Takai’s Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.

Article written by Girard Frank Bolton, III. in collaboration with T-M Fitzgerald, a published author and self-professed Veterans Advocate.

Introducing Our Viewpoints – T-M Fitzgerald

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 remove 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 Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

On July 4, 2012, three of the cleanup participants decided to create a Facebook Group to discuss our mission at Enewetak. Since then we have found over 70 others who participated in the cleanup. We’ve also attracted supporters who are interested in helping us get the word out so Congress can finally admit we are veterans who worked in radiation-risk activities while serving active duty.

In our Facebook Group, we have shared many photos and memories of our time spent on Enewetak Atoll. In fact, one of our supporters created a video from some of our photos to share with students interested in the history of the atomic cleanup of Enewetak Atoll. She selected some good music and added some captions to make her presentation more enjoyable..

Very few people have ever seen the photos and information T. Marie Fitzgerald shares in her snapshots of our atomic cleanup work because we were given direct orders not to discuss the project with anyone. Fortunately, those direct orders are no longer valid.

If your group wants to learn more, please let us know by writing your interest in the comments section at the end of this article.

Continue to learn more about us from various resources shared by supporters and cleanup participants in future articles. Our articles contain photographs, videos, documents and stories written 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 participant with C Company and HHC S-3 (Operations) 84th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) (Fwd) Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands.

Special thanks goes to T-M Fitzgerald for producing this video. T-M served in our nation’s military but is too young to have participated in the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Cleanup Mission. She is the author of From Yellow Ribbons to a Gold Star: Biography of a Hero: Lcpl. David R. Baker, USMC.

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.”