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By Dr. Patsy Barber

During the 1930s, Hitler has leading his Nazi troops to take over
neighboring countries. Jews were an abhorrence to him. Brilliant

Jews were successful in coming to our shores including Albert
Einstein. Scientists had been investigating the power of atomic
fission, since 1839, Szilard, Eugene Wigner and Edward Teller

urged Einstein to write President Roosevelt and warn him of the
danger of this potential earth shattering explosion. The message

was futile.

On December 7, 1941, we were at war on both sides of the planet:

Japan and Germany. Scientists recommended a full-scale effort to

produce this weapon which resulted in the codename

MANHATTAN PROJECT. After Firmin and others produced a

fledgling prototype at the University of Chicago, several cities were  “Fat Man” named for Winston Churchill. The bomb that

chosen to proceed: Oak Ridge TV and Los Alamos, NM, were               was dropped on Nagasaki Japan, August 9, 1945.

secretive but now the better known. Hanford on the Columbia

River had received less attention, among many others. Lt. General

Leslie R. Groves was named project director.                           Wendover was the most isolated place in the world. To worsen my

                                                                       feelings, I had to wait five days in the USO (investigation before

David Patten, of Pineville, had a hard life and never realized he being let in) and I could have taken my wife and children home.

would one day play an important role in the new weapon. “The true They had made the whole FBI investigation. My mama and

picture of how I wound up working on the Atomic Bomb project neighbors thought I was in some kind of trouble. The commanding

was that I was at Great Bend, Kansas. The engines they first put officer wanted me to construct a building for us to handle a secret

on the B29s were Dodge and the planes were just crashing all over weapon. He said, “Some are in Alcatraz, and we don’t know where

the place. They had to change every engine on every B29. That the others are who talked.” Nothing was ever said about the

meant thousands of engine changes. I was on the night shift with atomic bomb. It was the best kept secret in the world.

a crew of about 20 working on these changes. The rate of change

had been three a day. I took a little crew of four and since I love The commanding officer continued, “Sit down tonight and tell me

fabricating I set up an assembly line for the changes. We put five what you need to build the building. We are in a mad hurry for

together with three men and the day shift was putting three togeth- this.” He told me the size the building was to be. I hadn’t ever built

er with 20 men. We got up to ten a shift, all outdoors, and I was a building. It wasn’t possible to buy welding machines and welding

put in charge. Because of our production, I was especially picked rods. It was 11pm before I got through with the list. He ordered all

for the Silver Plate Project.                                          of the equipment and supplies that night. The next afternoon at

                                                                       4:30pm a C-54 landed with everything on that list.”

I got orders to report to Wendover, Utah. My wife and two children

had just arrived, and I refused to move. About three days later, I Patten was sent to Tinian on June 7, 1945. The island had just

went to the commanding officer and told him I preferred to be in been taken and dead Japs were still lying around before they were

the guard house than leave. He said, “Patten, this is not an           picked up and put in caves. Patten, the welder and friend and the

ordinary shipping order to Utah. I have to get you there if I have to mechanic did not know what they were working on.

send you with MPS.”

                                                                       Young George Allen, of Alexandria, had just gone into service. His

So I put my wife and two children on a bus that night. She had to first assignment was at Alamogordo, NM where he was stationed

stand holding the baby heading back home. That was the saddest as a navigator on a B-29. They were ready for flight, but were

night of my life.                                                      detained. While on the tarmac that July 16, 1945, they saw the

                                                                       bright flash originating 35 miles away.

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