ORAL HISTORIES

Interviews with former K-25 workers and Wheat Community residents were conducted in 2005 through the K-25 Oral History Project, made possible by the U.S. Department of Energy. Video and audio quality varies based on recording conditions. To optimize viewing quality, it is recommended that site visitors use volume and video controls on their personal devices.

If you would like to view a transcript for an individual, click on the "View Transcript" link below his/her summary. Click on "Part 1," "Part 2," etc., to view oral history videos.

Visit the Center for Oak Ridge Oral History to view oral histories from other former K-25, Y-12, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory workers and local residents.

R. L. Ayers

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Carrolltown, Mississippi; Beginning 1943: K-25 Bldg. and Cafeteria Worker; moved to Oak Ridge Hospital and worked there for 56 years

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Keywords: Blacks; Buses; Contamination; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Secrecy; Segregation; X-10

Warren Bradshaw

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Loudon County, Tennessee; 1946-1982: Power House, Truck Driver, Maintenance Mechanic

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Contamination; Farming; Health; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Safety; Secrecy; Security; World War II

Alfred Brooks

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Summary: New York State; Columbia University: barrier development; 1956-1985: K-25 flow research

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Bootlegging; Cold War; Global Warming; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Nuclear Power; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); S-50; Schools; Secrecy; Security; Weapons Manufacturing; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Emily Clouse

Part 1

Summary: New Jersey; 1952-1947: Housewife and worked for the City of Oak Ridge for 22 years

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Churches; Health; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Schools; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Robert Clouse

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Graysville, Tennessee; 1946-1964: K-25; 1964-1968: X-10; 1968-1988: Y-12 (decontamination and radiation criticality)

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Keywords: Accidents; Atomic Bomb; Cold War; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Shift work; Y-12

Eula and Beulah Cooper

Part 1

Summary: Residence of Wheat prior to government acquisition

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Keywords: Buses; Churches; Farming; Oak Ridge (Tenn.)

Joseph Dooley

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: 1977-1995: Gas centrifuge program (back and forth between K-25, ORNL and Y-12)

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Secrecy; Security; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Joe Dykstra

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Iowa and Minnesota; 1943-1945: worked for Hooker Chemical Company in facility design and manufacturing of fluorocarbon compounds for K-25; 1945-1985: K-25 Cascade Operations, Chemical Operations; designed Feed Plants at K-25 and Paducah and equipment decontamination buildings at K-25, Paducah, and Portsmouth

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Keywords: Cold War; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Security; World War II; X-10; Y-12;

Cranor Elrod

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Middle Tennessee; 1944-1968: K-25 Power House and Gaseous Diffusion Cascade Process Operator

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); World War II; Y-12

Joanne Gailar

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: New Orleans, Louisiana; 1945-1982: Clerk; husband in Special Engineer Detachment; lived at Cove Lake and commuted to Oak Ridge

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Buses; Clearance; Cold War; Desegregation; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Security; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Lois Greene

Part 1

Summary: Lake County, Virginia; 1946-1978: Nurse at K-25 Medical Department

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Keywords: Cold War; Health; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Nursing; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Y-12

James Hackworth

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Summary: Anderson County, Tennessee; 1951-1994: Maintenance Mechanic, Supervisor, Manager in K-25 Bldg. and other buildings; Plant Shift Superintendent

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Boardwalks; Buses; Clearance; Cold War; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Mud; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; S-50; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Kattie Harris

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Montgomery, Alabama; 1945-1984: Janitor

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Keywords: Blacks; Buses; Churches; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Shift work

Gary Henderson

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Opelika, Alabama; Beginning 1949: Laborer; Animal Caretaker at Y-12; Technician at K-25; Technician at X-10

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Keywords: Blacks; Clearance; Housing; K-25; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; X-10; Y-12

Wayne Henderson

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Beginning 1945: Supervisor

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Keywords: Blacks; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); World War II; X-10; Y-12

Bonita Irwin

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Resident of Wheat prior to government acquisition

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Keywords: Farming; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation

Sheldon Jacobs

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Chicago, Illinois; 1944-1945: Houdaille Hershey making barrier; 1951–1991: Barrier Plant at K-25

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Clearance; Cold War; Housing; K-25; Nuclear Energy; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Shift work; X-10; Y-12

Tommy Jones

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Rogersville, Tennessee; 1946-1948: Construction in Oak Ridge: beginning 1948: re-tubing, barrier testing, gas centrifuge

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Boardwalks; Churches; Health; Housing; K-25; Mud; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Rationing; Recreation; Y-12

Donald Kellogg

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: St. Louis, Missouri; 1952-1986: Test Loop; 1974-1983: Manager; three-site Cascade Expansion Management Team (CEMT)

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Keywords: Blacks; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Y-12

Ed Kirtowsky

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Saginaw, Michigan; 1944-1984: Equipment Testing and Inspection; Process Division; Engineering Division; Maintenance Division

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Churches; Dormitories; Engineering; Great Depression; K-25; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); X-10; Y-12

Marigrace Kirtowsky

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Clarksdale, Mississippi; 1944-1962: Secretary at K-25; 1962-1984: Executive Secretary to Presidents of Union Carbide Nuclear Company/Union Carbide Corporation-Nuclear Division

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Cattle cars; Dormitories; Engineering; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Secrecy; X-10; Y-12 (Plant Managers Division)

Seymour Levin

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: New York; Worked at Columbia University in Operations Analysis; 1946-1989: K-25

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Keywords: Blacks; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.)

Helen Lowery

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Hamblen County, Tennessee; Began working for Roane Anderson, then came to K-25 in Electrical Engineering

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Keywords: Blacks; Clearance; Dormitories; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Keith Lowery

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Summary: Morristown, Tennessee; 1943-1991: worked in laboratory; K-25 Pilot Plant; Industrial Hygiene

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Keywords: Blacks; Buses; Contamination; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Secrecy; Segregation; X-10

Mike Lundin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Summary: New York, New York; Began in Columbia University in vacuum testing and engineering operations; 1944-1991: K-25 (Carbide/Martin Marietta Energy Systems)

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Bootlegging; Cold War; Dormitories; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Vacuum Testing; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Margene Lyon

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Abbeville, South Carolina; 1944-1956: Secretary in Medical Department

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Keywords: Churches; Clearance; Cold War; Dormitories; Farming; Health; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Mud; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Y-12

Richard Macklin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: New York, New York; 1944-1952: Physics Laboratory in K-1004-A

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Clearance; Dormitories; Health; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); World War II; X-10; Y-12

Virginia Macklin

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Nutley, New Jersey; 1945-1946: Nurse

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Keywords: Blacks; Buses; Churches; Dormitories; Farming; Health; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Secrecy

Joe Magill

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Resident of Bear Creek Valley prior to government acquisition

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Farming; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); X-10; Y-12

L. C. Manley

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Tuscaloosa, Alabama; 1958-1962: Oak Ridge Hospital; 1962-1992: X-10

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Keywords: Blacks; Cold War; K-25; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Schools; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Guinn Marrow

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Tellico Plains, Tennessee; 1945-1990: construction of railroad, Maintenance Mechanic

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Cattle cars; Dormitories; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); X-10; Y-12

John McLaughlin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Tyrone, Pennsylvania; 1955-1971: K-25 Development Division; 1971-1992: Y-12 Development Division

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Keywords: Blacks; Clearance; Cold War; Health; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Oak Ridge (Tenn.); X-10; Y-12 Vaccines

Madge Newton

Part 1

Summary: Powell, Tennessee; 1944-1965 and 1976-1985; Purchasing Agent

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Keywords: Dorms; Recreation; Healthcare; Carbide Girls

William Northcutt

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Savannah, Tennessee; 1945-1985: Process Operator in K-25 Bldg.

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Cold War; Dormitories; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Secrecy; Shift work; Y-12

George Reed

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Talladega, Alabama; 1946-1981: Laborer at X-10

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Keywords: Blacks; Boardwalks; Buses; Cold War; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Mud; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Security; X-10; Y-12

Eliza Robinson

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Mississippi; K-25 Cafeteria Worker and Taxis Driver

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Keywords: Blacks; Buses; Farming; Knoxville (Tenn.); Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Y-12

Joseph Sawicki

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Chester, Pennsylvania; 1944-1985: Vacuum testing and Operator in K-25 Bldg.

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Dormitories; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Mud; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Shift work; Vacuum Testing

John Shacter

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Part 5 | Part 6

Summary: Vienna, Austria; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1944-1955: Engineering design of diffusion equipment; 1966-1983: Assistant to President of Union Carbide Nuclear Division at Y-12

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Cold War; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); S-50; Safety; Schools; Security; X-10; Y-12

Ruby Shanks

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Morgan County, Tennessee; Beginning 1943: father raised chickens for Oak Ridge operations

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Coal Mining; Farming; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Mud; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Rationing; Y-12

Herman Snyder

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Slatington, Pennsylvania; 1945-1961: K-25 Cascade Services and Power House Operations

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Buses; Churches; Dormitories; Gate opening, 1949; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Shopping; Vacuum Testing; World War II; Y-12

Horace Stanley

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Durham, North Carolina ; 1943-1946 : Y-12 ; 1946-1983: K-25 Clerk tracking uranium product

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Clearance; Cold War; Computers, History of; Dormitories; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Mud; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Secrecy; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Jim Steele

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Knoxville, Tennessee; 1958-1987: Animal Caretaker and Laboratory Technician in Biology Division at Y-12

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Keywords: Blacks; Housing; Knoxville (Tenn.); Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Schools; Segregation; X-10; Y-12

Henry Stoner

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Pottsville, Pennsylvania; Columbia University in barrier development; 1944-1958: K-25 Building startup and barrier design, construction, operation of barrier plant

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Keywords: Blacks; Cold War; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Y-12

Jane Teasley

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Summary: Pine Bluff, Arkansas; 1944-1985: Laboratory Analyst

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Keywords: Accidents; Blacks; Bootlegging; Buses; Cafeterias; Cattle cars; Cold War; Dormitories; Health; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Mud; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); World War II; X-10; Y-12

William Tewes

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Jersey City, New Jersey; 1944-1945: Member of Special Engineer Detachment (SED) at Special Alloy Materials Laboratory (SAM); 1946: K-25 Vacuum Tester; 1946-1985: Y-12

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Safety; X-10; Y-12

Donald Trauger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Exeter, Nebraska; 1945: Barrier development at Columbia University; 1946-1950: K-25 Research Assistant; 1950-1993: research at ORNL, ORNL Associate Director

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Farming; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); X-10; Y-12

Lois Van Wie

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Washington, D.C.; 1945-1946: Maintenance Division and Laboratory Analyst

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Keywords: Blacks; Buses; Clearance; Cold War; Health; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Safety; Schools; X-10; Y-12

Nelson Van Wie

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1944-1982: Mechanical Engineer in heat transfer and fluid flow

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Blacks; Buses; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Vacuum Testing; World War II; Y-12

Paul Vanstrum

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Summary: Minneapolis, Minnesota; 1944-1982: worked at Columbia University in barrier development; K-25 Chemical Engineer; K-25 Plant Technical Director, becoming Vice president of Union Carbide Corporation, Nuclear Division

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Keywords: Blacks; Cold War; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Y-12

Don Watson

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: Wheat resident

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Churches; Dormitories; Farming; Great Depression; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.)

Leroy White

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: ORNL Medical Department

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Keywords: Blacks; Health; K-25; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; World War II

William (Bill) Wilcox

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Summary: Allentown, Pennsylvania; 1943-1949: Chemist at Y-12; 1949-1985: Technical Assistant in Research and Development Department at K-25: Technical Director of Y-12 and K-25 Plant

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Keywords: Atomic Bomb; Cold War; Farming; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); S-50; Shift work; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Hal Williams

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Summary: Talahaskay, Mississippi; 1943-1949: K-25; 1959-1981: X-10 Concrete worker

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Keywords: Blacks; Bootlegging; Buses; Cafeterias; Churches; Dormitories; Health; Housing; K-25; Knoxville (Tenn.); Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Recreation; Safety; Secrecy; Shopping; World War II; X-10; Y-12

Robert Winkel

Part 1 | Part 2

Summary: St. Louis, Missouri; 1944-1979: began with startup of K-25 Bldg.; became Plant Manager of Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and of K-25 Plant

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Keywords: Cold War; Dormitories; Housing; K-25; Manhattan Project, 1942-1945; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); Shift work; Y-12

Ken Ziehlke

Coming Soon

Summary: Medford, Wisconsin; 1950-1985: Metallurgy Department

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Keywords: Clearance; K-25; Oak Ridge (Tenn.); World War II