The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Hanford, WA

Walter S. Carpenter

Walter Samuel Carpenter, Jr. was a corporate executive at DuPont who oversaw the company's involvement in the Manhattan Project. In 1919, at the age of thirty-one, Carpenter was elected to DuPont's board of directors, the first member who was not from the du Pont family.

Phil Gardner's Interview

Stephane Groueff: So, you were in charge of recruiting for Hanford or generally for DuPont?

Phil Gardner: No, I had one section of it. The country was really split up into four parts at the time I became connected with it. That was in May of 1944 – four different people were sent out to head up recruitment in different sections. One was up on the Northeastern part, one was down in the Southwest. One was in here, and one was in the Chicago Area, that is right in the East here.

Phil Gardner

Phil Gardner was in charge of labor recruitment for the Hanford site in a region comprising seven states. He discusses how he worked nonstop to hire workers from of all fields across the country for a project he was told nothing about. Gardner recalls travelling over 100,000 miles by planes, buses, trains, and cars. He worked around bureaucratic obstacles in an effort to satisfy ever-increasing quotas.

Jack Hefner

Jack Hefner joined the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge in 1943. Hefner was a reactor engineer and helped supervise the construction of the X-10 Nuclear Reactor. Later, Hefner transferred to Hanford and worked as a shift engineer, where he monitored the B Reactor and ensured that its operation ran smoothly. Hefner also helped maintain Hanford’s sprawling facilities, including office buildings and houses in the 700 Area.

Jack Hefner's Interview

S. L. Sanger: This is Hefner on June 11, 1986, interviewed at his residence in Richland.

Jack Hefner: The plant at Oak Ridge was operating to make enough samples of plutonium, so they could learn how to separate here at Hanford. Very few people said a great deal about that and knew much about it. And we only had this manner of need to know. So all our job was keep the plant operating. And the operating people was crank the plutonium out the door.

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