Bombers’ mushroom cloud mascot causing controversy

There is no shortage of nuclear history in the Tri-Cities, but a survey circulating social media is asking people to weigh in on how they feel about the Richland High School Bombers logo, a mushroom cloud reminiscent of the atom bomb dropped on Japan in World War II.

The survey states the logo is “offensive and makes light of an unimaginable atrocity,” while others believe its source of pride for the community.

Richland High 1959 Alum, Burt Pierard, is one person who believes the mascot is tradition.

“The reality of this thing was that it was first devised as something to honor our parents,” said Pierard, whose father worked at Hanford during the war.

When he rolls back his sleeve, the Bombers logo, known as the “R-Cloud,” can be seen tattooed on his upper shoulder. He has been fighting to keep the logo since the original controversy sparked back in the 1980s.

“If you’re going to take my R-Cloud away from me, you’re going to have to scrape it off my dead body,” said Pierard proudly displaying his body art dedicated to the community that he grew up in.

Though there are people who share Pierard’s beliefs, there are others who view the logo as divisive and insensitive.

“Having that mascot be symbolizing all that, it’s just downright disrespectful,” said Richland High Senior Ryan Wagstaff, in reference to the thousands of lives lost after the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.

Both the Richland High School Administration and the Richland School District said they are unaware of the survey and that there is no intent to change the school’s logo or mascot any time soon.