|Navy Nuclear Weapons
"Keepers of the Dragon"©™
Jack Hayes - First Deployment
E-Mail dated 12 February 2005
Reviewing January 2005 Winter Issue of NNWA Bulletin contained a couple of subjects that I may shed limited info. First, not sure how many of the 1233rd are still with us and or those that participated in the first Special Weapons Team to deploy. Be that as it may, the 1233rd "D" team deployed on the USS Roosevelt CVA42 from Albuquerque, NM to Norfolk, VA January 1950 boarding the ship then berthed at the Old NOB (Navy Operations Base Norfolk, VA).
As I recall we were aboard some 3 weeks prior to deployment to the Mediterranean Sea.
Originally the Roosevelt Special Weapon Spaces had been configured for the Fat Man (Mk3Mod 0) and Little Boy MK8 which included all of the test and handling equipment required to build, what I called then and now, DEVICES. The three Navy Units 471st, 802nd and 1233rd eighty one officers and men strong were trained in these early Devices which from the beginning MK3MOD0 to the end comprised some 80 hours to assemble. We were trained to do this in our "Palmer House" building or in an USAF aircraft, CY97A. Much of the installed handling equipment when we boarded the ship was still in place for the MK31 even though weapons loaded aboard were the MK4 MOD 0, The Little Boy MK8 MOD 1 and the MK7 MOD 0. Believe it or not, we even had training weapons for all these stockpiled weapons. (Digressing: Paul Williams and myself in the electrical section spent many hours assembling and disassembling the MK7 M0D 0 training weapon. Nothing else to do.....much boredom in that deployment.)
During our deployment in the Med the Special Weapons Team was isolated from ships company who had been informed prior to our arrival to leave just alone nor ask questions as to where were stationed and especially task assignment. An example, since our team was made up of 85 percent officers a special table was set up in the wardroom for us. We were restricted to our rooms, the spaces and the wardroom. In addition, were encouraged to adhere to the two man rule at all times, even ashore....
As to the subject related to Mercury, I do recall that we had mercury containers that was apart of our deployment equipment. Mercury was used for batteries used in the old MK3, MK8, MK31 and the MK4.
In those days all shipping containers we used were marked "Restricted Data" with no other marking as to contents.
Mike (Snyder - Historian): As you know in excess of fifty years has passed and memories dim. Perhaps some other members of that era could generate related stories that I've forgotten. Who knows? Am available to recount as possible the very beginning of ashore and shipboard experiences.
Regards, Jack Hayes
August 25, 2014
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