The Manhattan Project Heritage Preservation Association, Inc.

"Preserving, Exhibiting, Interpreting and Teaching the History of the Manhattan Project"

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In conjunction with our commitment to the Veteran History Project of the Library of Congress, we proudly present the Veterans of the Manhattan Project.  Below are the personal histories of 12 of these veterans.  Please "click" on a name below to go directly to that veteran's section or simply page down to view them all.  Please "click" here to go to the Veteran Archives Directory.

Manhattan Project Veteran Archives

     Archive Section 8 of 50    

Richard S. Claassen William W. Chandler Sanford N. McDonnell
Philipp H. Klein Albert Goldstein Robert Lyle
Abel DeHaan Jack Bivans Mary Lou Curtis
Raymond L. Hamilton Mary Olipra John G. Waugh


Name:  Richard S. Claassen | Table |

Location:  Columbia Univ. - SAM Lab

Assigned Unit:  Civilian - Scientific

Job/Position:  Physicist

Dates of Service (if Known):  6/44 to 5/46

Information Submitted By:    Richard S. Claassen

Archival Record #:  UP-CS-CLAR-0502

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Richard Claassen was a research assistant at the SAM Lab. While there, he built and used fluidic systems to test for unusual leaks in diffuser tubes.  He also worked on air bearing centrifuges.  Richard completed his MS in physics at Columbia, then a PhD at the Univ. of Minnesota, also in physics.  His career was spent at the Sandia National Laboratories where he managed the feasibility program for lay-down weapons.  Shortly thereafter, he established a new department to support fundamental research. He then managed component development departments, followed by an assignment to manage materials scientists and engineers.  His last 5 years he was vice president in charge of the Sandia California operation.  He has served on a number of national committees and was Chairman of the Solid State Sciences Committee in 1973.



Name:  William W. Chandler  | Table |

Location:  Oak Ridge, TN; & Wash. DC

Assigned Unit:  Military - SED

Job/Position:  Electrical Engineer - K25 Plant

Dates of Service (if Known):  5/45 to 9/46

Information Submitted By:  William W. Chandler

Archival Record #:  LA-SD-CHAW-0602

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William W. Chandler enlisted in the Army at the age of 17, was assigned to the AST(R)P at Univ of Ky and Purdue Univ.  After Infantry Basic Training at Camp Robinson, AR, he returned to ASTP for further studies at Penn State, where he was recruited for the Manhattan Project and assigned to Oak Ridge.  He worked at the Instrument Division in K-25 until WWII concluded.  As older veterans received discharges, he was appointed Assistant First Sergeant, SED, then transferred to Manhattan Project Headquarters in Washington in 1945.  He served on the USS Albemarle, JTF-1, during the Bikini bomb tests.  After discharge, he completed further studies at Ohio State Univ, where he received a commission through ROTC.  He re-entered the US Army as 2nd Lt, Signal Corps, in 1948 and retired as Colonel in 1975.  His service included tours in the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project and as Assoc Prof at West Point, and qualifications as Parachutist and Army Aviator.  He worked in the Washington, DC area as a civilian Communications and Systems Engineer until a second retirement in 1992.



Name:  Sanford N. McDonnell  | Table |

Location:  Los Alamos, NM

Assigned Unit:  Military - SED

Job/Position:  T/3 Mechanical Engineer

Dates of Service (if Known):  4/44 to 4/46

Information Submitted By:    Sanford N. McDonnell

Archival Record #:  LA-SD-MCDS-0602

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Born October 12, 1922 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Entered Princeton Univ. in 1940. Joined U.S. Army in March 1943. Received my BA in Economics from Princeton "in absentia" after getting six months of engineering in ASTP. Discharged from Army in April 1946 and entered Univ. of Colorado in Summer of 1946. Received a BS-Engineering from UC in August 1948 and went to work in St. Louis for my uncle, James S. McDonnell, the Chairman of McDonnell Aircraft Corp, which became McDonnell Douglas in 1967. While working at MDC, I earned a MS-Applied Mechanics at night school at Washington Univ. I became Chairman & CEO when my uncle died in 1980. In 1965 I became very active with our son, "Randy", in the Boy Scouts of America. I later became national president of the BSA 1984-1986. In 1988 I retired from MDC, and picked character education in the schools K-12 as my retirement career, i.e. teaching students to be honest, respectful, responsible and caring. Married Priscilla Robb in 1946 and have two children. Still very happily married.



Name:   Philipp H. Klein | Table |

Location:  Columbia Univ. - SAM Lab

Assigned Unit:  Civilian - Other

Job/Position:  Switchboard Operator

Dates of Service (if Known): 

Information Submitted By:  Philipp H. Klein

Archival Record #:  UP-CO-KLEP-0502

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Born September 14, 1926, worked as part-time switchboard operator at S.A.M. Laboratory while a chemical engineering student at Columbia.  Had been a student at Bard College, returned there after leaving Columbia.  Served in U.S. Navy 1945-46, then attended Syracuse University: B.S. in Chemistry (1948), M.S. (in physical chemistry, 1951) and Ph.D. (physical chemistry, 1953) degrees.  Employed by GE's Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, Sperry Rand Research Center, NASA Electronics Research Center, and Naval research Laboratory, specializing in radiation effects in solids, energy conversion, and crystal growth.  Retired in 1990, consults occationally in materials science, also serves as Advertising Director of "The Senior Beacon", a senior-citizens' monthly newspaper.  



Name:  Albert Goldstein  | Table |

Location:  Los Alamos, NM; Chicago Met Lab

Assigned Unit:  Civilian - Scientific

Job/Position:  ???

Dates of Service (if Known):  1943 to 1946

Information Submitted By:  Aurlene Andrews, Wife

Archival Record #:  LA-CS-GOLA-0502

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Name:   Robert Lyle | Table |

Location:  Oak Ridge, TN

Assigned Unit:  Military - SED

Job/Position:  Chemist

Dates of Service (if Known):  9/44 to 12/45

Information Submitted By:  Robert Lyle, Son

Archival Record #:  OR-SD-LYLR-0502

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Born Sept 5, 1921, Died Jan 13 2002
Robert Lyle was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 5, 1921,.graduating from Hyde Park High School, Hyde Park, Massachusetts in 1939.  He was refused enlistment in December 1941 as being too short.  In January, 1943 Bob received his BS degree with Honors in Chemistry from Boston University and went to work for Simplex Wire and Cable Co., Cambridge, Massachusetts, as an Applications Engineer in their Research Laboratory until drafted.




Name:  Abel DeHaan  | Table |

Location:  UC Berkeley; Oak Ridge, TN

Assigned Unit:  Civilian - Scientific

Job/Position:  Chemist

Dates of Service (if Known):  1/42 to 3/47

Information Submitted By:  Abel DeHaan

Archival Record #:  OR-CS-DEHA-0502

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Hired for Manhattan Project by Glenn Seaborg while in last year of B.S. degree at U of C Berkeley.  Worked on uranium chemistry at Berkeley and Davis.  Went to Oak Ridge in 43.  Supervised beta salvage operations.  Participated in design and shakedown of chemical plant.  Went to X-10 in 45 to work on purification of irradiated uranium under "Pete" Peterson.  Left project in 47 to work on detection of foreign bomb tests.  Headed group that detected Joe-1 and subsequent explosions (Tracerlab).  Ended career developing lithium batteries for pacemaker application.  Married Frances Golemon in 46.  Three children, 7 grandchildren.  Widowed in 99.  Enjoy travel and photography



Name:  Jack Bivans  | Table |

Location:  Wendover, UT / Tinian Island

Assigned Unit:  509th CG - 393rd BS

Job/Position:  Asst. Flight Engineer - "Straight Flush"

Dates of Service (if Known):  1944 to 1946

Information Submitted By:    Jack Bivans

Archival Record #:  CG-MO-BIVJ-0602

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Assistant Flight Engineer on the "Straight Flush" B-29 crew that participated in the first Atomic bombing over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, August 30, 1925. At the age of 13 he became a juvenile radio actor. Before enlisting in the Air Corps, in 1943 he had starred in over 6000 network radio programs aired from coast to coast. After returning to civilian life in 1946, he went to Northwestern University, got married, had 3 children, kept on acting until dramatic radio was replaced by television. He then started selling radio commercial airtime. Later he moved to television station management for several years. He retired in 2002, after working as an account executive at a Chicago advertising agency and, later, in television production.



Name:  Mary Lou Curtis  | Table |

Location:  Dayton, Ohio

Assigned Unit:  Monsanto's Mound Project

Job/Position:  Physicist

Dates of Service (if Known):  12/43 to 1945

Information Submitted By:  Bill Curtis, Son

Archival Record #:  CP-CS-CURM-0602

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In December 1943, I was one of about 20 people starting to work at Unit III of Monsanto, under the Manhattan Project.  Our work place was the former Bonebrake Seminary, at 1st and Euclid Streets in Dayton.  The building was in the process of being renovated.  There was no central heating, no air conditioning, and no stairs to the third floor.  We nearly froze the first winter, with only one small electric heater for our large lab.  In summer, the heat was stifling.  Our windows were sealed shut, I presume for security reasons.

The people I remember who were there that first winter, were Dr. James Lum (laboratory director) and Evelyn Sands, his secretary, and Dr. Malcolm Haring, later plant manager at Mound. 



Name:  Raymond L. Hamilton  | Table |

Location:  Los Alamos, NM

Assigned Unit:  Military - Other

Job/Position:  Explosives Research

Dates of Service (if Known): 

Information Submitted By:  Raymond F. Hamilton, Son

Archival Record #:  LA-MO-HAMR-0502

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The photo of Raymond L. Hamilton was taken while he was with the U.S. Army in India in 1943.  He served  in the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps 705th Machine Gun Battery, which was a separate unit defending airfields in the China-Burma-India theatre.  He was at New Malir, Allalabad, Dinjan, Tezgon, Jorhat, and the Ledo Road.  The unit was absorbed into the 87th Anti Aircraft Command, in which he served as S2 intelligence.  He developed malaria, was treated and sent back to the U.S.. He was sent to Los Alamos in 1944 after recuperation and served doing explosives research in the x6, m6, and gmx6 groups at  "R" site near "S" building, and later at Ancho Canyon.  Their office was in the Gamma Bldg.  He was later re assigned to the Carpenty Shop at the Lab.  He married Mary Olipra, (See 8-11 Below) a WAC also at Los Alamos, and stayed on as a civilian employee until about 1954.   He is retired in Sebring, FL.



Name:  Mary Olipra  | Table |

Location:  Los Alamos, NM

Assigned Unit:  WAAC

Job/Position:  Mess Hall & PX

Dates of Service (if Known): 

Information Submitted By:  Raymond F. Hamilton, Son

Archival Record #:  LA-MO-OLIM-0502

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Mary Olipra was with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, and was assigned to Los Alamos, NM where she worked in one of the mess halls.  While there she met and married Raymond L. Hamilton (See 8-12 Above).



Name:   John G. Waugh | Table |

Location: Los Alamos, NM; Trinity Site

Assigned Unit:  Civilian - Scientific

Job/Position:  Physicist

Dates of Service (if Known):  1945

Information Submitted By:   Elizabeth Waugh Leonard, Ed.D.; Sister

Archival Record #:  LA-CS-WAUJ-0402

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John George Waugh received his BS and MS degrees from the Univ. of Missouri in the early 30's.  He received his PhD from Cornell in 1935.  From 1941 until 1945, we worked at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena on behalf of the Manhattan Project.  He made numerous trips to Los Alamos and was present at the Trinity test on July 16, 1945. After the war he was employed by the U.S. Navy involved in Naval Ordnance Research.  He was named chairman of the BuWeps Hydroballistics Advisory Committee when he was a physicist with the Propulsion Division of the Underwater Ordnance Dept.  His sister recalls: "He was always guarding his briefcase with his life and would not leave it anywhere.  I thought he was getting a bit "balmy" because I had no inkling of what he was working on!"