Hester Moore was a supervisor in the Communications Department at the Manhattan Project’s Hanford, Washington site during World War II.
As a communications and training supervisor, Moore was responsible for operating communications switchboards and training both charter members and employees to learn how to use the communications system within the Manhattan Project.
She used her knowledge from working at the DuPont company to organize the entire communications system at Hanford. When a new project location opened, Moore ran the area’s switchboard and trained the complete staff.
Moore was instrumental in scheduling the operator shifts. She was responsible for scheduling 100 operators to serve on three separate shifts. The communications department was extremely active throughout the Manhattan Project; about 1,600 local calls per hour would pass through the main office switchboard.
Within the Communications Department, she trained people from all over the United States, as well as, people from China, Puerto Rico and other foreign countries. The department was made up of girls and women of all ages, personality types and backgrounds.
While working in the communications department, Moore also got the opportunity to meet physicists Enrico Fermi and J. Robert Oppenheimer, Director of the Manhattan Project General Leslie Groves, and chemist Glenn Seaborg. At one point during her two years at Hanford, each of these well-known figures came through the communications offices at the Hanford facility.
Hester Moore was born in 1905 and grew up in Danville, Illinois. She worked for the nearby DuPont Company plant in Terre Haute, Indiana as a switchboard operator. After working for the company for just one year, she was asked to transfer to the company’s new project in the Northwest. This project turned out to be the development of the Manhattan Project’s Hanford site.
In January 1945, after two years at Hanford, Moore returned to Danville and worked a routine office job at DuPont until World War II ended. After the war, she had offers from Hanford’s Maintenance Department and DuPont, but she declined both of the offers to be closer to her family and friends. She began to work at Illinois Bell in her hometown of Danville.
Along with fellow Manhattan Project veterans, Moore was awarded a government-issued certificate for her contributions at Hanford. The certificate from the War Department, Army Service Forces, Corps of Engineers, Manhattan District certified the Moore “participated in work essential to the production of the Atomic Bomb, thereby contributing to the successful conclusion of World War II.”
Hester Moore passed away in 1998.
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