Ted Rockwell arrived in Oak Ridge in 1943 after graduating from Princeton with a degree in engineering. After three months, Rockwell joined the "Process Improvement Team", a group of engineers tasked with monitoring and fixing problems at various plants across the site.
William E. Tewes worked on the gaseous diffusion process at the Nash Garage Building under Dr. Francis Slack, testing the barrier material. He recalls the Nazi invasion of Poland and how the attack on Pearl Harbor brought the country together. In July 1945 Tewes was transferred from New York, where he was working on gaseous diffusion, to Oak Ridge. He worked on the leak testing operation at K-25.
Richard Shepard: I’m Richard Shepard, S-H-E-P-A-R-D.
Cindy Kelly: Okay. And now why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you came to the Manhattan—come into the Manhattan Project, and how that happened.
Richard Shepard joined the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, working in the K-25 Plant as a member of the Special Engineer Detachment. With many family members serving overseas in the military, he explains his personal reaction to the end of the war. He discusses his later work in nuclear science, including the Bikini Test.
John Shacter: John Shacter, S-H-A-C-T-E-R.
Interviewer: And your age?
Shacter: My age? Eighty-four. Eighty-four and a half, going on 85!
Interviewer: And how did you end up in Oak Ridge, in the Secret City?
John Shacter was born in Austria and immigrated to the United States after Hitler came to power in Germany. He first worked on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University, then was transferred to the K-25 Plant in Oak Ridge in 1943. He explains how the innovative design of the uranium enrichment process facilitated the design and construction of nuclear reactors around the country. He recalls the urgency the workers felt to beat Nazi Germany in making an atomic bomb.
Carolyn Stelzman: Carolyn Stelzman and from Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Interviewer: And have you always lived here in Oak Ridge?
Stelzman: No. I came from Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
Interviewer: And do you just want to tell your story of how you came here to Oak Ridge? And what you did?
Carolyn Stelzman worked at the K-25 Plant in Oak Ridge as an operator and leak-detector. She recalls Oak Ridge’s excellent bus system, the rain and mud, and the stress on secrecy.
Cindy Kelly: This is Cindy Kelly at Atomic Heritage Foundation. It is March 20, 2013 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. And we are delighted to have Larry O’Rourke. His first question is to tell us your name and spell it, please.
Lawrence S. O’Rourke: I am Lawrence S. O’Rourke, L-A-W-R-E-N-C-E S-for Stephen O’Rourke, O-’-R-O-U-R-K-E. And, I like to be known as Larry.
Kelly: Perfect, Larry. Please tell us your birthdate and where you were born.
Alexandra Levy: All right, we are here on December 28, 2012 with Max Gittler. Please say your name and spell it.
Max Gittler: Max Gittler, M-a-x G-i-t-t-l-e-r.
Levy: Where are you from?
Gittler: New York, New York City, the Bronx.
Levy: So how did you become involved in the Manhattan Project?