The Trinity Test Site

Life at Base Camp

Despite the high level of security things ran well. Captain Bush was given credit for efficiency, smooth operations, cooperation, and running a “happy camp.” He was highly commended for keeping his troops focused on task and their morale high during the difficult months at Trinity. After Trinity, he transferred to the Regular Army and reached full Colonel before his retirement.

The MPs worked 12-hour shifts, one week on days, one week on nights, and the third week off, during which they pulled other details at the site. Although they usually used jeeps due to the large area to patrol, they had 16 horses. They had stables, and in an old mining shack they skidded up from Mockingbird Gap, they set up a blacksmith and saddle shop known as the Lazy MP Ranch. Their horses were more often used for recreation than patrolling, including polo with a soccer ball and broomsticks.

Ernest Wallis with the photo team collected rattlesnakes and drove a jeep with a snake box in the back. The snakes escaped through a hole in the box and infested the camp. Someone, possibly a young engineer named Felix De Paula, flicked a bull snake into the mess hall, creating a panic among the men lined up for chow inside. Captain Bush put an end to snake collecting.

Occasionally, a few lucky soldiers could go into town for supplies. It was said that those that did brought back a gallon of whiskey on each trip. Most did not leave Trinity for over seven months.

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