Operation Dominic I and II

Operation Dominic I and II
Operation Dominic
Dominic Chama 002.jpg
Dominic Chama
Country  United States
Test site Nevada Test Site (I) / Pacific Proving Grounds (II)
Period April–July 1962
Number of tests 40
Test type Atmospheric / Underwater
Max. yield 8.3 Mt
Previous test Operation Nougat
Next test Operation Storax

Operation Dominic was a series of 105 nuclear test explosions conducted in 1962 by the United States. Those conducted in the Pacific are sometimes called Dominic I. The blasts in Nevada are known as Dominic II. This test series was scheduled quickly, in order to respond in kind to the Soviet resumption of testing after the tacit 1958-1961 test moratorium. Most of these shots were conducted with free-fall bombs dropped from B-52 bomber aircraft. Twenty of these shots were to test new weapons designs; six to test weapons effects; and several shots to confirm the reliability of existing weapons. The Thor missile was also used to lift warheads into near-space to conduct high altitude nuclear explosion tests; these shots were collectively called Operation Fishbowl.[1]

Operation Dominic occurred during a period of high Cold War tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, since the Cuban Bay of Pigs Invasion had occurred not long before. Nikita Khrushchev announced the end of a three-year moratorium on nuclear testing on August 30, 1961, and Soviet tests recommenced on 1 September, initiating a series of tests that included the detonation of Tsar Bomba. President John F. Kennedy responded by authorizing Operation Dominic. It was the largest nuclear weapons testing program ever conducted by the United States, and the last atmospheric test series conducted by the U.S., as the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed in Moscow the following year.


Dominic I & II Test Blasts
Test Name Date Location Yield Note Image
Adobe 25 April 1962 Christmas Island 190 kilotons  
Aztec 27 April 1962 Christmas Island 410 kilotons  
Dominic Aztec 001.jpg
Arkansas 2 May 1962 Christmas Island 1090 kilotons  
Operation Dominic - Arkansas 001.jpg
Questa 4 May 1962 Christmas Island 670 kilotons  
Operation Dominic Questa 001.jpg
Frigate Bird 6 May 1962 Pacific Test Range 600 kilotons Polaris A2 Missile launched from the submarine USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608). Only operational test of a United States submarine launched ballistic missile with a live nuclear warhead.
FrigateBird nuke.pg.jpg
Yukon 8 May 1962 Christmas Island 100 kilotons  
Dominic Yukon 001.jpg
Mesilla 9 May 1962 Christmas Island 100 kilotons  
Arikaree 10 May 1962 Christmas Island Unknown  
Muskegon 11 May 1962 Christmas Island 50 kilotons  
Swordfish 11 May 1962 off San Diego <20 kilotons RUR-5 ASROC from USS Agerholm (DD-826) at a range of only 4,000 yards.
Dominic Swordfish 005.jpg
Encino 12 May 1962 Christmas Island 500 kilotons  
Operation Dominic Encino 001.jpg
Swanee 14 May 1962 Christmas Island 97 kilotons  
Dominic Swanee 001.jpg
Chetco 19 May 1962 Christmas Island 73 kilotons  
Dominic Chetco 001.jpg
Tanana 25 May 1962 Christmas Island "Fizzled"  
Nambe 27 May 1962 Christmas Island 43 kilotons  
Dominic Nambe 001.jpg
Bluegill 3 June 1962 Johnston Atoll "Failed" Operation Fishbowl, tracking electronics failure five minutes after launch, detonated manually 10 minutes later
Alma 8 June 1962 Christmas Island 782 kilotons  
Truckee 9 June 1962 Christmas Island 210 kilotons  
Dominic Truckee 001.jpg
Yeso 10 June 1962 Christmas Island 3 megatons  
Dominic Yeso 001.jpg
Harlem 12 June 1962 Christmas Island 1.2 megatons  
Rinconada 15 June 1962 Christmas Island 800 kilotons  
Dulce 17 June 1962 Christmas Island 52 kilotons  
Petit 19 June 1962 Christmas Island "Failed"  
Starfish 20 June 1962 Johnston Atoll "Failed" Operation Fishbowl, rocket motor failure
Otowi 21 June 1962 Nevada Test Site Unknown  
Bighorn 27 June 1962 Christmas Island 7.65 megatons  
Dominic Bighorn 001.jpg
Bluestone 30 June 1962 Christmas Island 1.27 megatons  
Dominic Bluestone 001.jpg
Sacramento 30 June 1962 Nevada Test Site Unknown  
Little Feller II 7 July 1962 Nevada Test Site Unknown  
Starfish Prime 9 July 1962 Johnston Atoll 1.4 megatons Operation Fishbowl, exoatmospheric at 400 km altitude, caused artificial aurora borealis and power outages in Hawaii
Operation Dominic Starfish-Prime nuclear test from plane.jpg
Sunset 10 July 1962 Christmas Island 1 megaton  
Dominic Sunset 002.jpg
Pamlico 11 July 1962 Christmas Island 3.88 megatons Successful advanced principles test of high-efficiency thermonuclear weapon, last Christmas Island airdrop
Johnnie Boy 11 July 1962 Nevada Test Site 500 tons  
Merrimac 13 July 1962 Nevada Test Site Unknown  
Small Boy 14 July 1962 Nevada Test Site Unknown  
Small Boy nuclear test 1962.jpg
Little Feller I 17 July 1962 Nevada Test Site Unknown  
Bluegill Prime 25 July 1962 Johnston Atoll "Failed" Operation Fishbowl, detonated on launch pad by range safety officers shortly after ignition due to rocket motor failure, destroyed the Thor launch facility and contaminated it with plutonium, requiring three months of repairs and decontamination
Bumping 6 October 1962 Johnston Atoll 11.3 kilotons  
Bluegill Double Prime 15 October 1962 Johnston Island "Failed" Operation Fishbowl, missile tumbled out of control due to failure of a booster rocket 86 seconds after launch, destroyed manually 156 seconds after launch with minor radioactive contamination of the island
Chama 18 October 1962 Johnston Atoll 1.59 megatons  
Dominic Chama 002.jpg
Checkmate 20 October 1962 Johnston Atoll 7 kilotons Operation Fishbowl, high altitude nuclear explosion, 147 km altitude, XM-33 Strypi rocket with an Army Recruit booster, XW-50X1 warhead, no fireball
Dominic Checkmate 001.jpg
Bluegill Triple Prime 26 October 1962 Johnston Atoll 410 kilotons Operation Fishbowl, high altitude nuclear explosion, 50 km altitude, Thor missile, W50 warhead, fireball formed, large disruption of ionosphere did not occur
Calamity 27 October 1962 Johnston Atoll 800 kilotons  
Housatonic 30 October 1962 Johnston Atoll 8.3 megatons  
Dominic Housatonic 002.jpg
Kingfish 1 November 1962 Johnston Atoll 410 kilotons Operation Fishbowl, high altitude nuclear explosion, 97 km altitude, Thor missile with W-50 warhead, dramatic aurora-like effects, extensive ionosphere disruption, radio communication over central Pacific disrupted for over three hours
Dominic Kingfish 001.jpg
Tightrope 4 November 1962 Johnston Atoll between 1–40 kilotons Operation Fishbowl, 21 km (69,000 ft) altitude, Nike Hercules missile with a W31 warhead, test of a missile defense system, regarded to be the last true U.S. atmospheric nuclear test


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