TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ) – It was 66 years ago today that the U.S. dropped the second of two atomic bombs on Japan.
The Michigan man who helped design the atomic bomb, 101-year old Carroll Dick, who lives near Traverse City, said he hopes it’s never used again. Dick designed the special “proximity fuze” for the A-bomb. A proximity fuze is designed to automatically detonate an explosive device when the distance to target becomes smaller than a predetermined value.
“I think it ended the war very quickly and I think now we realize what a terrible weapon it is and I hope it may never be used again.”
On August 9, 1945, a nuclear bomb code-named “Fat Man” was dropped over the Japanese city of Nagasaki. It was the second in a series of bombs by the U.S. on Japanese soil. The first was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Did Dick realize at the time that his work forever changed history?
“Not really. We were so pressed and busy, all you could think of was how to solve problems, you know.”
Dick, a Navy reservist who spent most of his working years at the University of Michigan and the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab, once even dined with Albert Einstein, where the two discussed Dick’s super-secret work.
“I asked him if he knew about the proximity fuze and no, he didn’t know about that because I worked on that in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan.”
If the U.S. had used a third bomb, Dick would have likely been part of the flight team.
On this day in 1945, President Harry S. Truman said: “I realize the tragic significance of the atomic bomb… It is an awful responsibility which has come to us… We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.”