Wilbert “Walt” Meyers (1921-2013) served in the Special Engineer Detachment (SED) at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project.
Meyers was born in McPherson, Kansas. During World War II, he served in the Army and was sent to Los Alamos as part of the Special Engineer Detachment. During his time there, his work included the loading and assembly of the “Gadget” tested at Trinity and the “Fat Man” plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
On October 1, 1945, Meyers received a letter from J. Robert Oppenheimer:
You are to be especially commended for the excellence of your work and for the qualities of leadership which you have shown throughout your work with the project during the last eighteen months… In the last two months before Trinity, you worked on problems associated with explosives. Military security prevents our describing the details of that work, except to say that your individual contribution was significant in achieving the success of our program at Trinity and Nagasaki. You more than anyone else helped to organize the production of this one component of the bomb.
After the war, Meyers stayed to work on the postwar nuclear program at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He witnessed several nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, and often piloted the “sample plane” used to fly through the debris and collect samples to be analyzed at Los Alamos.
Walt Meyers died on December 13, 2013, in Los Alamos.