The Manhattan Project

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

Special Engineer Detachment

James Cole's Interview

James S. Cole: I’ll put it this way. I was in Biloxi, Mississippi and getting ready to go overseas as a B-17 engineer. I was on the train getting ready to come here, not knowing I was coming here. An MP came on and said, “You’ve got another set of orders.” I figured I had done something bad, so I went in there and talked to the guy. He said, “You’ve got another set of orders.” He gave it to me. It was a telephone number, Knoxville, Tennessee.

I said, “What kind of orders are those?”

He says, “Get on a train.”

Victor Kumin

Victor Kumin was a young scientist when he was drafted to the U.S. Army in 1944. In September of that year, he was transferred to Los Alamos. Here he was part of the Special Engineer Detachment (SED). 

Felix DePaula's Interview (2008)

[Thanks to David Schiferl and Willie Atencio for recording this interview and providing a copy to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.]

David Schiferl: Tell us how you got here.

Felix DePaula: Well, let me start with being inducted into the service in 1944, October of ’44, into the Corps of Engineers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Then from there, I was sent to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and I spent a couple of months in the wintertime at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

William Ginell's Interview

Cindy Kelly: I’m Cindy Kelly, Atomic Heritage Foundation, and it is Wednesday, February 22, 2017. I’m in Encino, California. Maybe the first thing is say your name and spell it for us.

William Ginell: Okay. It’s William Seaman, S-E-A-M-A-N, Ginell, G-I-N-E-L-L.

Kelly: Great. Why don’t you start at the beginning? Tell us when you were born and where and a little bit about your childhood.

William Ginell

William Ginell is a physical chemist who worked on the Manhattan Project. In this interview he describes how he became interested in chemistry and his experiences working at Columbia University and Oak Ridge, TN on the gaseous diffusion process. He reflects on the Army, living conditions, and the intense secrecy and security during the project. He also discusses his life after the war, especially his work at Brookhaven, Atomics International, and Douglas Aircraft.

Hal Behl's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Okay. I am Cindy Kelly. I’m here in Albuquerque. It is Wednesday, October 12.

Hal Behl: Okay. I’m Harold Behl. B as in boy, e-h-l. Known as Hal.

Kelly: Okay. I just want to have you tell us when and where you were born and a little about your childhood.

Donald Ross's Interview

Donald Ross: My name is Donald Ross, and I am about to begin my eightieth year on this planet. I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and I left there with my parents at an early age. We moved to the southern tip of Texas, and had a little farm not too far from Edinburg, Texas, where I grew up.

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