Students from the Nuclear Issues class at the Air War College in Alabama visited Trinity Site Sept. 22.
The group was composed of 15 Air Force senior leaders who meet twice a month to discuss nuclear deterrents, issues, and strategy.
“We saw history come alive where (the testing) actually happened. It’s a unique opportunity,” said retired Col. Dr. Melvin Deaile, the course professor.
According to Deaile, it was important for his students to visit the location where the first atomic bomb was tested because most of his students are Air Force officers working in the nuclear enterprise.
“A few out of the 15 students have been to the site. It’s the first time for some of those in the enterprise to see the site,” said Deaile.
It was the first time Lt. Col. Curtis Hernandez, a student from Colorado Springs, visited Trinity Site.
“It gives you good perspective on how to manage the nuclear force and good appreciation for the power of nuclear weapons,” Hernandez said.
Deaile said he not only appreciated the historical significance of the atomic bomb test, but also the effort the scientists made to complete the project. He spoke about the difficulty to access the testing location. The class traveled over 100 miles from Albuquerque to ground zero and Deaile imagined the scientists traveling a similar distance from Los Alamos in 1945. He said the then unpaved roads and the vehicles they drove probably would not have let them travel faster than 50 miles per hour.
After visiting ground zero, the class traveled about two miles to the McDonald ranch house where the assembly of the bomb core took place.
The visit to Trinity Site was part of a weeklong educational trip. During their stay in Albuquerque, the class plans to visit the Nuclear Weapons Center at Sandia National Laboratories and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.