AUTHORAbrahamson, James L. / Carew, Paul H.
TITLEVanguard of American Atomic Deterrence: The Sandia Pioneers, 1946-1949
PUBLISHERPraeger Publishers
CITYWestport, CT

This book describes the activities of the Sandia Pioneers, a group of U.S. Army engineers and technicians who assumed responsibility for maintaining the nation’s nuclear weapons from the Manhattan Project scientists who built the first three atomic bombs. This group, commanded by Colonel Gilbert M. Dorland, was indispensible in testing new weapons designs and developing the infrastructure required to deliver nuclear weapons to U.S. bases worldwide. An introductory chapter describes the uncertain period following the end of World War II and the impact of the U.S. nuclear monopoly on both its domestic and international policies. The next chapters detail the design of both uranium and plutonium bombs and problems encountered in transporting and assembling those weapons for delivery by B-29 bombers. The final chapter describes the Pioneers' participation in nuclear tests at Eniwetok Atoll in 1948. The authors credit the Pioneers with maintaining the nascent U.S. nuclear weapons program in the critical period after Japan’s surrender until the time when the U.S. was able to develop a strong nuclear arsenal.

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