The First Atomic Bomb
Two Weeks Through the Panama Canal
"We just bust this outfit up, and I ended up with a unit -- a different unit called a 1333rd Engineer Regimen going to the Panama Canal on the way to the Pacific. About half the men in my unit ended up coming back to the states.
Well, I got on a boat, another big boat, over 600 people on it. I think it was the USS Grant, originally the cruise ship of the Constitution or the Constellation, and we had 8,000 on that ship. And it ended up going through the Panama Canal, and we were about two weeks out of the Panama Canal when the first atomic bomb was dropped.
So we were kind of happy, because we already considered we were on our way for the invasion of Japan, because they piled 2,000 troops on this ship and we were unescorted. We were traveling at a max, we understood, could get up to 32 knots, and we zigzagged on out."