Academic journal article Military Review

Target Hiroshima

Academic journal article Military Review

Target Hiroshima

Article excerpt

TARGET HIROSHIMA, Albert B. Christman, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1998, 305 pages, $29.95.

In Target Hiroshima, Albert B. Christman reveals the true story of an unsung hero-Rear Admiral William "Deak" Parsons-a man of honor, uncommon selfless service and intense commitment to mission. Using factual accounts from key figures and public and private documents, Christman conclusively shows Parsons as the prime force linking civilian scientists, military developers and advanced technologies and high-technology weapons. This synergy preserved US military strength and brought World War II to an end in the Pacific.

Parsons was a zealous advocate of microwave radar for naval gunfire control and air defense. As liaison between the Navy Research Laboratory and the Navy Bureau of Ordnance, he actively championed the limited results of previous tests to secure further testing. But, because of ignorance, bureaucracy or compartmentalization, additional testing was not approved. Years later, Parsons stated that the Navy's two-year delay in pursuing radar technology cost many lives at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

As an experimental officer at Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, Virginia, Parsons skillfully led a team of scientists who developed the "smart" fuze-a weapon advance that was ready in time for prosecuting war. Admiral Arleigh Burke later said that if it had not been for those fuzes, ship losses and casualties in the last half of the war would have been much higher. …

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