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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from New York University, Hal Behl registered with the National Roster of Scientific and Specialized Personnel and was drafted into the Army. Although he was first placed in an infantry training unit, he was ultimately assigned to the Army Special Engineer Detachment (SED) and stationed at Oak Ridge.

He served as the Assistant Supervisor of the Engineering Department at the K-25 Laboratory. They focused mainly on designing and building laboratory, process, health physics, and quality assurance equipment such as an adjustable mass Spectrometry tube and a high vacuum selector valve. While at Oak Ridge, he enjoyed exploring rural life while living in many rented rooms on base with his art teacher wife, Reggie Behl. The couple went on to have three sons together.

At the conclusion of the war, the SED received two noncombat unit citations from the Army for their work. Behl was given the opportunity to go to Bikini Atoll for nuclear testing, but opted for discharge from the military, going to work at Boeing on jet propulsion research. He worked for several major companies and as an independent consultant, specializing in aerospace and weapon technology activities for over forty years.

Today, Behl is retired. He continues to serve as a Trustee Emeritus of the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, the Chairman of the Board of the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, and as a Board Member of the New Mexico Academy of Science.

Harold “Hal” Behl's Timeline
1922 Born in the Bronx, New York.
1944 May Graduated from New York University with a bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
1944 Aug 18th Began induction processing for the United States Military at Camp Upton, Long Island, NY.
1944 Nov1945 Jan Assigned to Ohio State University while waiting for technical assignment.
1945 Assigned to the Special Engineering Detachment at Oak Ridge, TN.
1946 Discharged from the United States Military.
1944 Married to Reggie Behl.

Hal Behl's War Department certificate. Courtesy of Hal Behl.

Hal Behl (left) and other SED members outside their barracks. Photograph courtesy of Hal Behl.

721 Raccoon Avenue in Oak Ridge, where the Behls lived. Photograph courtesy of Hal Behl.

Hal Behl's photograph in the Oak Ridge SED Yearbook. Image courtesy of Hal Behl.

Reggie and Hal Behl at Oak Ridge. Photograph courtesy of Hal Behl.

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