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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Captain Richard “Dick” Alexander Larkin (USN) was Deputy to William Parsons at Los Alamos, beginning in June of 1945, in preparation for Parsons’ deployment to Tinian. Larkin also witnessed the Trinity Test from the “coordinating council” viewing area, located about 20 miles from ground zero.

Early Life

Larkin was born to Robert Blackwood Larkin and Mary Mable Hevenor Larkin, in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a 1925 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Following post graduate studies at the Academy, he served as Naval Inspector of Ordinance in Brooklyn, until 1941.

During World War II, he commanded Destroyer Division Sixteen and Destroyer Squadron Ten, in escort of convoy operations in support of the invasion of southern France. He was reassigned to the Pacific, where he commanded Mine Squadron Twenty, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for operations in support of the assault and capture of Okinawa.

Manhattan Project

In June 1945, Larkin was selected to serve as Deputy (Alternate Officer in Charge) to Parsons at Los Alamos, while Parsons was deployed to Tinian with Project Alberta. Larkin came aboard at Site Y in time to witness the Trinity Test at Alamogordo. Parsons was viewing the shot from about the same range, although airborne aboard a Silverplate B-29. Shortly after the Trinity Test, Larkin excelled in his position at Los Alamos, receiving a commendation for his efforts.

After the War

Larkin continued to work with Parsons. He served as Deputy to Parsons through Operation Crossroads, conducted in the Marshall Islands, in 1946. During the Korean War, he served as a Commanding Officer of the USS Yosemite (AD-19). He was later awarded the Legion of Merit Medal.

Later Life

After 30 years of active duty, he retired in 1955, with the rank of Rear Admiral. Following naval service, Larkin moved to Hampton where he held a position in computer programming with the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. He retired in 1969, and spent most of the next twenty years sailing on his 30-ft sailboat, “EchappE”. Larkin passed away at the age of 104 on September 6, 2008.

Richard A. Larkin's Timeline
1925 Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.
1945 Jun Arrived at Los Alamos.
1945 Jul 16th Witnessed the Trinity Test.
1950 Sep 15th1951 Jan 19th Served in the Korean War.
1955 Retired from Active Duty.
1969 Retired.

Larkin, 1925.

On his sailboat, post retirement.

Larkin's Description of the Trinity Test.

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