You are the owner of this article.

Keith Richard Harsh was at Okinawa when atomic bombs were dropped

From the Stories from Frederick County's World War II veterans series
  • 0
  • 1 min to read

More than 6,000 miles separated Americans from the city of Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 6, 1945.

Keith Harsh was just over 600 miles from the bomb site, unloading supplies from a Navy cargo ship onto a beach on the west coast of Okinawa.

But unlike those at home, gathered around radios to listen to President Harry Truman’s announcement soon after the bomb was dropped, Harsh had no idea of the nuclear destruction tearing apart the Japanese cities to his north.

He learned days later, when he and his shipmates aboard the SS James D. Doty headed back to the United States for what would be their last trans-Pacific journey.

After he left the service, Harsh wrote a note, detailing his whereabouts at the time the bombs were dropped. He’s made multiple copies of it, which he shares with people who want to hear about his service.

Those questions come more frequently now, as fewer World War II veterans are left to tell their stories. For Harsh, now 93, the attention feels strange, and slightly uncomfortable.

“I don’t think much about it,” he said. “I was just doing my job. We [weren’t] in there for the thanks.”

— Nancy Lavin

Follow Nancy Lavin on Twitter: @NancyKLavin.

Nancy Lavin covers social services, demographics and religion for The Frederick News-Post.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.