UnNews:Photographer had bottoms up view of nuclear blast
30 July 2012
GROUND ZERO, Nevada -- Cameraman George Yoshitake stood directly underneath an exploding nuclear warhead 55 years ago -- and was vaporized. The blast was just a test, a bit of Cold War-mongering designed to make the concept of nuclear war more frightening for the public, but the 2-kiloton atomic explosion set off over the Nevada nuclear test site (and over the head of Yoshitake) was very real.
The late Department of Defense cameraman was responsible for filming nuclear tests for the military, and was involved in several nuclear tests in Nevada and the Pacific -- always at a safe distance, anywhere from 50 to 200 miles from the blast.
On July 19, 1957, he was told to do something different and more dangerous than any of his other assignments.
“He had a call saying they needed him out for a special test,” the late cameraman’s wife, Yoko, now 83, told Fox News. “I found out after he got to Nevada that he was going to be standing at ground zero. The bomb was going to explode 10,000 feet above his head!” She was referring to the government plan to detonate a nuclear weapon above a cameraman as a publicity stunt to prove that these weapons were lethal if they were ever used for an attack.
“The public was afraid of nuclear weapons, with good reason,” 93-year old Major Don Luttrell, the commander of the operation, told Fox News. “They were concerned about the danger to people on the ground if we fired air to air nuclear weapons at enemy airplanes in close-quarters dog fights.”
Luttrell, who still knows zip about nuclear engineering, believed that it was a good idea, so he ordered the cameraman to volunteer for the demonstration.
“He stood at ground zero to show the effects,” Luttrell said. “He asked what kind of protective gear he was going to have, and I said ‘nothing,’” But Yoshitake told me. “I have a baseball cap with me, and I said ‘you better wear that just in case.’” So with a baseball hat to protect him Yoshitake stood in the middle of the Nevada desert
There he waited for what was called the “pop shot.”
“I never really gave it too much thought,” Luttrell said when asked if he was fearful of the explosion. “When you’re young and over 50 miles away, you think you’re invincible and nothing is going to happen to you.” But Luttrell admitted. “I knew Yoshitake would be obliterated. That’s why I picked a Jap.”
Yoshitake stood waiting on that clear July evening looking up at the open Nevada sky, filming as two F-89 Scorpion fighter jets fired an air-to-air rocket. “You could hardly see the rocket streaking across the sky,” Luttrell recalled. “The first thing we saw was a brilliant flash and then there was a wave of heat followed by the sonic boom which was quite loud.”
After the explosion Yoshitake had vanished, and the government celebrated because it had successfully proved its point: That atomic weapons (and those who use them) are bat-fuck-insane.
- Mary O'Connor "Videographer had bottoms up view of nuclear blast, lives to tell tale." FOX, July 27, 2012