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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Clyde Stanley Shields

Commanding Officer, 216th Flight Test SectionWendover, UT

Trinity Site
Manhattan Project VeteranMilitary VeteranProject Worker/StaffTrinity Test Eyewitness
Clyde Stanley Shields

Clyde Stanley Shields was born on December 28, 1918 in Wichita, Kansas. After graduating from Mitchell High School in South Dakota, in May of 1936, Shields enlisted in the South Dakota National Guard. Then, in 1939, he began attending classes at Northern States Teachers College in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Shields married Vaughn Ruth Larson on August 16, 1941 just before beginning pilot training in Brooks Field, Texas. In December of 1941, he was stationed at Bellows Field. He and his new wife witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.

In December of 1943, Shields became involved in the Manhattan Project and served as the Chief Test Pilot and Commanding Officer of the 216th Flight Test Section of the 216th Army Air Forces Base Unit at Wendover Field, Utah. He drop tested all three Atomic Bomb prototypes, and flew as the pilot of the first prototype B-29 Silverplate. He also flew in one of the two B-29s that witnessed the Trinity test.

Shields continued to serve in the Air Force after World War II. He retired in 1961 with the rank of Colonel.

Shields passed away on May 2, 1977 in Dallas, Texas. 



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Silverplate B-29 Crew, Photo Courtesy of Keith Shields, 2/1944.

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