|Born||21 Aug 1915|
|Died||14 Oct 2008|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseRobert Ralph Furman was born in Trenton, New Jersey, United States to bank teller William Furman and Leila Ficht Furman. He graduated from Princeton University in 1937 with a degree in civil engineering, and went on to work for the Pennsylvania Railroad and a New York-based construction company. He was a member of the United States Army Reserve, and in Dec 1940 he was called into active service with the Quartermaster Corps at the rank of captain for the construction of the Pentagon, which was under overall command of Colonel Leslie Groves from 1941 and on. As the third-ranking supervisor of the Pentagon project, he was among those responsible for completing the large construction project in the short 17-month time span. When Groves, now general, was given charge of the Manhattan Project, the American efforts for an atomic bomb, he kept Furman, now major, on his staff as the head of the intelligence unit. To find out German progress in their own effort to build the atomic bomb, Furman worked with physicist Luis Alvarez to study water samples from the Upper Rhine River and Lake Constance for signs of German nuclear activity. As pressure heightened, his efforts took him to the front lines, participating in a commando raid into Belgium to seize a sample of German uranium under sniper fire and directing efforts to kidnap German physicists, including Werner Heisenberg. As Germany neared defeat, he oversaw the effort to move captured German physicists westward to avoid their capture by the Russians. He personally escorted half the uranium necessary for the atomic bomb "Little Boy" to Tinian in the Mariana Islands aboard cruiser USS Indianapolis, arriving on 26 Jul 1945; on 6 Aug 1945, he watched the B-29 bomber "Enola Gay" as the aircraft took off to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Furman founded the construction company Furman Builders, Inc. in Rockville, Maryland, United States; Furman Builders was responsible for many important buildings including the US embassy building in Nicaragua. He was married in 1952 and had four children. He retired from his company in 1993. He passed away at his residence, Buckingham's Choice retirement community, from metastatic melanoma, a skin cancer, in his home in 2008 in Adamstown, Maryland at the age of 93.
ww2dbaseSource: New York Times.
Last Major Revision: Oct 2008
Robert Furman Timeline
|21 Aug 1915||Robert Furman was born.|
|14 Oct 2008||Robert Furman passed away.|
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