Skip to comments.Photographer of atomic bomb destruction dies at 96
Posted on 12/18/2005 9:12:21 AM PST by NormsRevenge
LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (AP) - Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel A. McGovern, a combat photographer who filmed the aftermath of the atomic bomb detonations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, has died. He was 96.
McGovern died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Laguna Woods.
Weeks after the bombs were dropped in August 1945, McGovern began taking photographs that have since appeared in history books, newspapers, television shows and movies. Earlier during the war, McGovern photographed President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House.
In 1943, McGovern flew missions as a cameraman while stationed in Chelveston, England. He survived two crashes and shot footage used in William Wyler's 1944 wartime documentary, "The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress."
McGovern talked about his war experiences with the Los Angeles Times when Steven Spielberg's World War II film, "Saving Private Ryan," was released in 1998.
"Combat men don't like to talk about what they did," he said. "Airplanes crashing, headless bodies with helmets still on. Limbs here, limbs there. You say, 'There but for the grace of God,' but you don't talk about it. You relive it in your sleep. You go through recollections of pulling bodies out of airplanes - an experience you never forget."
He said he spoke about what he witnessed because of encouragement from his children and grandchildren.
McGovern and several colleagues founded the International Combat Cameramen Association to recognize photographers who risked their lives shooting combat footage.
After World War II, McGovern wrote, directed and produced classified films about nuclear weapons at Lookout Mountain, a secret Cold War-era government film lab and studio in the Hollywood Hills.
He is survived by his sister, four children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Cameraman Daniel McGovern prepares to begin documenting the destruction after the drop of the Atomic Bomb.
R.I.P. I assume the radiation didn't kill him.
Note that AP threw in cancer to imply exactly that.
can't place the quote, though. oh, well.
Go figure. The guy lives to be 96 and radiation killed him. Amazing.
The ray's probably zapped the bad bugs out. 96 good for him.
Well, the mineral waters with higher radiation levels were used for medicinal baths. So who knows - radiation might be even good, if applied judiciously and taken in moderation.
To me, this image is what comes to mind every time the President or one of the Mullahs speak from Iran. The bomb can never be a "toy" for Islamists.
Without all that radiation giving him cancer, the poor guy might have lived to 97.
When I was in graduate school, a number of the older professors
(some educated on the GI Bill post WWII and Korea) had done
at places like Rocky Mountain Arsenal, slinging radio-isotopes in
amounts that would send any sane person running for a very deep cave.
BUT...it was their fellow professors from depts. of Art or PoliSci that would
drop by to say "Well, I'm dying of cancer".
From what I could tell, it was far more dangerous to have a life of
wine, women, song and cigarettes...than pipetting radio-isotopes.
The radiation took a couple of months off. He surely would have lived to 96 1/2.
I heard that recently about home radon.
More lung cancer maybe, but less other stuff.
If the cause of death had not been reported, we'd be wallowing in speculation. It's basic reporting to give the "Why". I just wish the AP and other MSM would be consistent with it.
I went to the wrong poli sci school for undergrad. A few profs smoked, but wine, women and song were nonexistent. Some of the Peace Studies womyn would bare their breasts in protest every once in a while. /shudder/
I disagree. Most stories about the dead will almost always name the cause of death. Besides, it's no secret that atomic bombs put out lots of contamination in the form of radiation. The fact is, no one will probably ever know if being in that area after the fact, was the cause of his death, many years later.
Heard the same thing about George Burns (January 20, 1896 March 9, 1996) and his cigars.
It's all BS... there was only one guy that's gotten out alive, and he had to be stuck on a cross for a couple of hours.
Highly unlikely that the radiation contributed to his death in any way. The highest levels of radiation produced by atomic bombs tend to dissipate fairly quickly (short half life or are simply dispersed by win and rain) after detonation. Being near the detonation or around ground zero very shortly thereafter can cause serious radiation exposure. However, weeks or months later the radiation has already started to dissipate.
In December 1961, the United States detonated an atomic bomb in a salt dome about 40km south of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Six months later, crews drilled down and entered the cavity created by the detonation. While radiation still existed, the intense radiation created by the blast had long dissipated.
If you read my other posts, you'd realize that I was making that point. He died at 96. It is like blaming George Burns' death on cigars when he died at age 100.
Cancer or not, I'd take 96 years over anything.....how long does someone with HIV or AIDs have on their 'playlist'?
"Note that AP threw in cancer to imply exactly that."
If you live long enough you will die of cancer if something doesn't get you first, radiation or no radiation.
Here's a site and some links put together with the help of atomic test veterans. Are you referring to the Nougat test in 1961 by chance, not sure if that was the Carlsbad one..
Quite a few blasts were set off over the years here in the homeland.
Atmospheric Atomic Weapons Tests
Atomic Veterans History Project
"It's no secret", huh? Well, FYI, the nuclear detonations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were air bursts above 5,000 Ft, AGL. There was very little nuclear contamination in the debris at these sites. The initial Gamma Ray exposure is what killed many people after a few days or weeks. The destruction that you see in these photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are from the blast of the explosion, not anything related to "atomic" other than that was the process used to create a destructive pressure wave. The same way that conventional explosives "kill people and break things".
Unless McGovern was at Hiroshima on the day the bomb was dropped, his exposure to nuclear radiation was next to nil.
When McGovern photographed the destruction on the ground, there was very little nuclear contamination. It's the "Dirty Bombs" that one needs to worry about. And anthrax scares me more.
I was kinda hoping the common cold got him at his age, or that he just went gentle into that good night.
Instictively I knew that the cause was gonna be cancer. I'm glad he lived as long as he did.
There is a link to a movie (Quicktime viewer) at this web address:
Jesus actually died on the cross. He rose from the dead.
Elijah(sp, the prophet, was taken in a flaming chariot. He may not have died.
Right on. That 'radioactive' myth was generated by these anti- nuke nutz, and silly Hollywood movies like 'black rain'.
Those were baby bombs, we have some better ones now that are far more efficient, and 100's of times more powerfull. We need to flash a few off over Iran.
There's an "e" and maybe also a hyphen missing in there somewhere.
My little bro was born in 1949 and shortly thereafter developed pneumonia*. At the age of forty, he developed a fibrous chest tumor, which necessitated the removal of a perfectly good lung.
*Thinking back, my mother recalled that the "treatment" for his pneumonia was to put him on a table and zap his torso with an unknown dose from something like an X-Ray machine.
Who knows if there was any tie-in...
Ummm... maybe, just maybe, the AP "threw in cancer" because he died of cancer. Sheesh, people can be so paranoid.
Now as far as Elijah....don't know what that means... riding up in a flaming chariot. Is it that he got on a chariot and rose up into the sky...I guess. I don't know. But there's a lot of stuff in the Bible that makes me scratch my head. Especially in the Old Testament
Like I said, we'll never know.
Not so!! There are two others God called out early, Rumor is since the bible says it's appointed unto each man a time to die, that they will be the prophets at the wailing wall during the tribulation whom the anti-christ will strike down and they will lay in the open for three days then rise again!!!
Looks like atomic weapons are good for business.
Clears out the dead wood.
Brings about peace.
Encourages people to live in peace as opposed to opening their yaps about ruling the world or wiping this or that country off the face of the earth.
I say, "Peace through superior firepower".
The sites were still contaminated with radiation. You may want to read a little more carefully. I never said to what degree. There is nothing to argue about here
But thanks for all those details.
Agreed. I've had more than cursory military training regarding tactical nuclear weapons. That said, I would rather have a 5kt. warhead as a coffee table support in my living room, than an attorney over for dinner. I know the warhead is safe.
Yes, Elijah was one, can't remember the other's name (I remembered Elijah's name but not how to spell it so I left him un-named...)
Lazarus got an awakening from the dead as well or so I heard.
OK, I will.
Q. Is there still radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
Answer: "Atomic bombs differ from conventional bombs in emitting explosive energy on an entirely different order of magnitude and radiation. Of the emitted energy, 5% was initial radiation and 10% was residual radiation."
"The initial radiation emitted at the moment of detonation inflicted great damage to human bodies. Most of those exposed to direct radiation within a one-kilometer radius died. Residual radiation was emitted later. Roughly 80% of all residual radiation was emitted within 24 hours. Research has indicated that 24 hours after the bombing the quantity of residual radiation a person would receive at the hypocenter would be 1/1000th of the quantity received immediately following the explosion. A week later, it would be 1/1,000,000th. Thus, residual radiation declined rapidly."
The radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki today is on a par with the extremely low levels of background radiation (natural radioactivity) present anywhere on Earth. It has no effect on human bodies."
Text in quotation marks are from:
I reckon that this site is about as well read on the subject as one can get!
This wasn't my question, but thanks for the info.