Preparedness Notes for Thursday — July 16, 2020

July 16th is the anniversary of the first successful atomic bomb test in Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1945. This portentous event heralded the advent of the age of nuclear weapons. Plans for the creation of a uranium bomb by the Allies were established as early as 1939. In 1940 the federal government granted a total of $6,000 for research, but in early 1942, with the United States at war, the limits on spending were removed. The total cost was in excess of $2 billion. Germany was also feared to be working on a bomb as was Japan, though neither of those nations could bring the requisite resources to bear in time before their defeat. With that, the nuclear age was born.

o o o

July 16th is the anniversary of the death of American volunteer Hugh John McCall, in Rhodesia, in 1979.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 89 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A gift certificate from Quantum Harvest LLC (up to a $2,200 value) good for 12% off the purchase of any of their sun-tracking models, and 10% off the purchase price of any of their other models.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any of their one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership, providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes. This prize is courtesy of a SurvivalBlog reader who prefers to be anonymous.
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  4. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).
  5. An assortment of products along with a one hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).

Third Prize:

  1. Three sets each of made-in-USA regular and wide-mouth reusable canning lids. (This is a total of 300 lids and 600 gaskets.) This prize is courtesy of Harvest Guard (a $270 value)
  2. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  3. Naturally Cozy is donating a “Prepper Pack” Menstrual Kit.  This kit contains 18 pads and it comes vacuum sealed for long term storage or slips easily into a bugout bag.  The value of this kit is $220.
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. A transferable $150 purchase credit from Elk Creek Company, toward the purchase of any pre-1899 antique gun. There is no paperwork required for delivery of pre-1899 guns into most states, making them the last bastion of firearms purchasing privacy!

Round 89 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. They open the White Sands Missile Test Range in NM twice a year for one day. I had the opportunity to go, and it was worth the drive. The tour guide said the green glass was a couple of feet thick at the detonation point.

  2. I pulled 2 30 day rotations there. I got to see many things. It’s a great piece of history. That desert is tough and I enjoyed everything I learned from the military exercise, the animals and the people.

  3. In looking at the link provided about Hugh John McCall, there are a number of highlighted names that provide more information about the individuals. What is surprising is the number of US and Canadian members of the unit, along with those from other countries.

  4. Many years ago I read a book about the building and testing of the bomb at White Sands. One incident I remember from the book is that they had some of the U-235 on a lead table covered by a lead “bowl”. There were 3 or 4 scientists standing around and one used a knife or something to pry up the lead cover a few inches which caused a buzzing sound and he immediately dropped it back in place. Maybe two seconds of exposure max and he died within two weeks from radiation poisoning. I think one of the others present died within a few months as well.

    My cousin was a radio operator in WW II and was stationed on Tinian when the bomb was delivered and loaded on the Enola Gay for delivery to Japan. He remembers that the had to dig a hole in the runway but they told everyone it was for installing a large camera on the plane for reconnaissance. I specifically asked if he had heard anything on the radio transmissions or otherwise that in retrospect gave any indication of what was going on. He said no one knew anything about it, no hint of what was planned.

    1. Your account about the U-235 Uranium sounds like it was based upon a real occurrence. Events are discussed and written about by people with personal knowledge. Sometimes the observation and recall is similar to witness accounts of accidents. There are accounts about a similar event. =

      Wikipedia has an article about Louis Slotin, =
      “As part of the Manhattan Project, Slotin performed experiments with uranium and plutonium cores to determine their critical mass values. After World War II, Slotin continued his research at Los Alamos National Laboratory. On 21 May 1946, Slotin accidentally began a fission reaction, which released a burst of hard radiation. Slotin was rushed to the hospital, and died nine days later on 30 May, the victim of the second criticality accident in history, following the death of Harry Daghlian, who had been exposed to radiation by the same core that killed Slotin.

      Slotin was hailed as a hero by the United States government for reacting quickly enough to prevent the deaths of his colleagues. Some physicists argue that this was a preventable accident. The accident and its aftermath have been dramatized in several fictional and non-fiction accounts.”

      Atomic Accidents = atomicheritage[dot]org on June 4, 2014.
      “On Tuesday, May 21, 1946, Louis Slotin was demonstrating a criticality experiment that involved gradually bringing together two beryllium-coated halves of a sphere that held plutonium at its core- without allowing the halves to touch- and recording the increasing rate of fissioning. Then, in one fateful moment, the screwdriver slipped.”
      The Third Core’s Revenge, August 16, 2013. blog[dot]nuclearsecrecy[dot]com
      Pictures of the ’round bowl’ are at all three sites.

      Sometimes very smart people have a ‘screw loose’ in their brain. … Something to remember, when politicians brag about their elite school education, rather than their real world accomplishments. [Did they gain their wealth through payoffs, or did they have a real Tax-Paying job in the private sector.]

      For prepping, actual >skills are better than parchment degrees.

  5. If you are in Las Vegas, make sure to visit the Museum of Atomic Testing. I was there for work and saw an ad for it. I thought it would be a tourist trap like much of Las Vegas. When I got there, I found out it is a joint operation of the Bechtel Corporation, the Department of Energy, and the Smithsonian Institution. A first class operation where you can learn a lot.

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