The Trinity Shot…Another interesting event in the life of FS folks

Submitted by Charles Mansfield

One of my early memories was of a summer morning at Bear Valley Ranger Station on the Malhuer NF.  Dad, H. Robert Mansfield, was the District Ranger at the time.  Dad got me and my oldest sister, Meredith, out of bed while it was still dark.  We never got to get up at that hour and we were playing in the swings and doing a lot of yelling.. Dad and his District Assistant were at the weather station and were somewhat irked by all of the commotion.  Over the years I asked him what that was all about and he would never answer.  Then when he an Mom were visiting us just after I joined Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories I asked him again.  He was silent for a moment and then he said that since he was in Los Alamos and since I was working for the lab, maybe it was ok to tell me.

He said:

He and his assistant were cleared to top secret and had all of the decoding books and other stuff that went along with that clearance.  One day he received a coded message.  He and his assistant got out their code books and finally were able to decode the message.  It said " on (such and such a day) at (such and such a time) look for unusual atmospheric phenomena.  It was the day of Trinity shot (the first atomic bomb.)  Someone was very perspective in that they knew that the Ranger and his assistant were cleared, had weather recording equipment, and were trained weather observers.  In addition these observers were spread out over the entire western US.

Dad guessed that something big was happening and got us up to witness the event.  We didn't see anything at Bear Valley.

Shortly before I retired from the lab I went into the classified library to see if I could find out who had issued the order and any other details about the event.  There is no reference in the library.  That the event was declared by the DOE to be unclassified since fact that the Trinity shot took place is not classified.

The best information is that someone in the Army issued the order independently of the Lab.

Chuck Mansfield