I had lunch with my father today, and the subject of the anniversary of dropping the A-Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki came up. My father was an 18 year old sargeant in the Counter Intelligence Corps stationed in Tokio immediately after the War. The CIC was a precursor of the CIA. His barracks was in the old Japanese Secret Police Headquarters, where the Japanese did their interrogations of captured US airmen. He had a desk on the 8th floor of the Taekoko building, which was across the street from MacArthur's HQ in the Dai Ichi Building. Each day he could look down as the Japanese gathered in the street to watch Mac drive off for lunch in his motorcade like some new emperor.

One day a couple of army buddies and he decided they wanted to see what an A-Bomb could do. My father was a clerk typist and had the travel authorization forms. He made out passes for himself and his two friends to go to Hiroshima. His CO gave him a little grief but signed off on it and off they went. Hiroshima was in the Australian sector. One of his friends was a Staff Sargeant and got to sleep in NCO quarters while my father and the other friend slept in cots in the enlisted barracks. This was about 9 months after the blast, but everything was still flat as a pancake (or vaporized). The people had to use "honey pots" to go to the bathroom as there was no running water. The people there did not seem to hate him. They were passive, maybe still in a daze. It was a surreal place. They looked around for a while then turned around and went back to Tokio.

Hopefully something as horrible as an atomic attack never will happen again. We should never forget the victims of the Hiroshima bomb. We also should remember the people like my father who would have had to land on the beaches of the Japanese home islands. How to weigh the right thing to do when in either case thousands of people will lose their lives? Certainly the leaders are charged to do what is best for their own people, and that often means overwhelming force and destruction of innocent lives. The A-Bomb saved American lives, and that is enough justification for me. That is a another tragedy of war. So much of the cost is borne by people who have no say in starting it.

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Comment by Lewis Goldberg on August 14, 2008 at 6:26pm
My father in law was earmarked for Olympic, so were the bomb not dropped, I wouldn't have my wonderful wife.
Comment by Bill Speer on August 12, 2008 at 10:22am
"The Allies may have well killed more Japanese attacking the Japanese home islands with conventional forces than what happened with the WMDs used."

The fire bombing of Japanese cities did far more damage and killed far more people than the H-bomb did. I was born in 1950 and as a small child we used to drop rocks or spit on bugs and stuff. We would always say, "Bombs over Tokyo!" The bombing of Japan was, imho, the only way to bring the war to a successful conclusion without an invasion and over a million more American causalities.
Comment by Skip Franklin on August 10, 2008 at 4:24pm
The Allies may have well killed more Japanese attacking the Japanese home islands with conventional forces than what happened with the WMDs used. Many of the civlians were being trained to attack the Allied soldiers with any means possible. This would have made all Japanese subject to rifle and artillery fire. The loss of life would have been horrendous. Hopefully one day someone smarter than me can truly answer the question concerning the dropping of these terrible weapons as puny as they are to what is available today.
Comment by John Buck on August 9, 2008 at 10:40am
My dad joined the USN as the war in Europe ended. I sure if the war draged on in the Pacific the USS Portsmouth CL-102 would have been sent from the Med to the Pacific. So I for one am glad of the atomic bombs use. After reading three fictional acounts of the invasion of Japan, I believe even if the landing on Kyushu (Olympic) had ended the war the navy would have taken a lot of heavy hits from the suicide units.
Comment by Mike O'Brien on August 9, 2008 at 2:43am
I am glad for you father and the hundreds of thousands and possibly more people on both sides who were saved by the use of the bombs. The Japanese try and claim some moral superiority because they are the only nation to suffer an atomic bomb attack. Of course, they tortured civilians and used chemical and biological weapons but that's different. The bomb is the only thing that kept the Cold War from turning hot. Thank ghod for the bomb!

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