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9 Responses to "1962 Operation Dominic"

  1. Film badges were issued to everyone who was stationed on Christmas and
    Johnston islands and all Navy ships directly involved with the tests. Persons
    on remote islands monitoring for radiation or conducting experiments were not
    badged. Of the over 28,000 participants in DOMINIC, over 25,000 were badged.
    Badges were issued for extended periods to ensure that all possible exposure
    was recorded.
    Because all but one of the shots were airbursts, there was little or no
    fallout problem and no residual radiation area around the surface zero. Although
    SWORDFISH, the underwater shot, produced no fallout it did create a
    short-lived radioactive base surge and a pool of radioactive water around the
    detonation. The base surge dissipated in less than an hour, and the pool dissipated
    after a few days.
    In general, film badge readings were low. Only 842 (3 percent) of the
    25,399 badged participants had an exposure greater than 0.5 roentgens (RI. Of
    these, 56 exposures were over 3.0 R: 2 Army, 4 Navy and Navy civilians, 49 Air
    Force, and 1 other civilian. The established JTF 8 Maximum Permissible Exposure
    (MPE) was 3.0 R.
    The two Army men with over 3.0 R exposure served with the unit that decontaminated
    the aircraft involved in cloud sampling and as such were authorized
    an MPE of 20.0 R. All the Air Force personnel over 3.0 R were asscciated with
    cloud sampling (crew, maintenance, sample removal , or decontamination) and were
    also authorized an WPE of 20.0 R before the operation started. The highest
    total exposure recorded in this group was 17.682 R: this was also the highest
    for the entire operation. There were 19 other Air Force exposures over 10.0 R.
    The Navy personnel recording over 3.0 R were on USS Sioux (ATF-751, which
    was involved in collecting samples of weapon debris from the radioactive pool
    of water created by the underwater SWORDFISH shot. This group was allowed an
    MPE of 7.0 R.
    Evidence exists that many of the badges worn by personnel’during DOMINIC
    were defectively sealed and recorded density changes due to moisture, light,
    and heat in addition to nuclear radiation. A 1979-1980 reevaluation of 1,349
    UOMINIC I film badges showed that 45 percent exhibited some damage related to
    light, heat, and age due to defective wax seals. Environmental damage was observed
    on 98 percent of the badges, which had a developed density equivalent
    Of over 0.4 R (gasana).T hese findings show, for example, that one-third of the
    higher -USS Princeton (LPH-5) exposures should actually read zero. The lack Of
    any known activity during DOMINIC I that would result in exposures over 3.0 R
    except for Sioux and the high correlation between environmental damage and high
    dose readings indicate most of these readings are higher than the exposure actually
    received. Nevertheless, all personnel have been assigned the recorded
    exposure reading’in records maintained by the Navy.
    One of the Thor rockets being launched at Johnston Island with a nuclear
    payload burned on the launch pad. The high explosives in the nuclear warhead
    detonated spreading alpha contamination around the launch complex. It took
    several weeks to decontaminate and rebuild the launch complex. Stringent personnel
    safety measures were enforced during the cleanup. No one received significant
    contamination from this accident.


    It’s nice to know all this crap, 55yrs later. Reads like a CYA ,press release.


    this is a bunch of crap understand this is only your dosimeter readings of gamma rays there are many radionuclides from fallout that have years of half life before they decay . We were exposed to more than they say. I have started a face book page called operation dominic 1 to try to find people who were there and their stories.

  4. Chaplain Ron Hoak

    I have been revisiting the Operation Dominic sources. Much is still classified and we won’t ever know the truth. We were seated on the Flight Deck in rows and rows. I don’t remember how we were selected to observe the tests, but as a 20 year old Marine I was excited to be there. The initial flash was so bright, that those without goggles with their faces buried in their arms could see light through the arms. Once allowed to look it was awe inspiring to see that raw power generated by the detonation. I recall for the remainder of the night the aurora swept across the skies in blues and greens and reds. much later I remembered this as I watched the Aurora Borealis i Alaska’s winter sky. Like Arthur and Briner, when we were told that our badges were defective, I was super sceptical. I remember wondering later if we got to watch the tests, or were we the test? I am blessed at 78 to have nothing more than prostate cancer, while I lost my first Crew Leader Cliff Hemphill who died of multiple cancers without ever getting the benefits he deserved. For those of the Princeton who were at Operation Dominic, I would like to recommend joining the NAAV, (National Association of Atomic Veterans). The Association pushes for recognition and benefits for those affected by the Atomic Tests where ever they occurred.
    October 23, 2020

    • I was aboard with Ron Hoak I can say that every thing was all I saw too!
      I hope for all man kind that we never have to use these BOOMBS .
      It was some thing I will never forget !
      Red (G.L. Smith)


      I finally received my 5×8 radiation card from the DTRA and it is joke covers period from 22 sep 62 thru 10 dec 62 only one entry under dosage it says .92(mr) accumulated dose is (92mr) so which is right. there also should be a DD1141 form that was filled out. This is only the gamma reading does not include the other radionuclides we were exposed to from the fallout of previous tests.


    received another set of supposed 5×8 cards from DTRA one is filled in with one entry and the other is blank I was told by LTCMDR FRANKS that they are copies of each other, no way there are obvious differences and when I ask for an explanation they just ignore me. My guess is the blank one is so they can put whatever number so the VA can disqualify you from your claim.


    In am looking for an article in the ships newspaper from Feb. 2001 written by Roy Longaker about operation dominic this was a two part story and I need the second half of the story if anyone has it contact me at


    I witnessed several of these blasts too. I could see the bones in my arm and wrist when the overhead blast went off. I also remember the aurora Ron Hoak describes. Those film badges were a hoax. So were the so called “pocket dosameters”.

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