Enola Gay

The Enola Gay (/ɪˈnoʊlə/) is a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, named after Enola Gay Tibbets, the mother of the pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets. On 6 August 1945, during the final stages of World War II, it became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb. The bomb, code-named "Little Boy", was targeted at the city of Hiroshima, Japan, and caused the near-complete destruction of the city. Enola Gay participated in the second atomic attack as the weather reconnaissance aircraft for the primary target of Kokura. Clouds and drifting smoke resulted in a secondary target, Nagasaki, being bombed instead.

After the war, the Enola Gay returned to the United States, where it was operated from Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico. In May 1946, it was flown to Kwajalein for the Operation Crossroads nuclear tests in the Pacific, but was not chosen to make the test drop at Bikini Atoll. Later that year it was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution, and spent many years parked at air bases exposed to the weather and souvenir hunters, before being disassembled and transported to the Smithsonian's storage facility at Suitland, Maryland, in 1961.

In the 1980s, veterans groups engaged in a call for the Smithsonian to put the aircraft on display, leading to an acrimonious debate about exhibiting the aircraft without a proper historical context. The cockpit and nose section of the aircraft were exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in downtown Washington, D.C., for the bombing's 50th anniversary in 1995, amid controversy. Since 2003, the entire restored B-29 has been on display at NASM's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The last survivor of its crew, Theodore Van Kirk, died on 28 July 2014 at the age of 93.

Enola Gay
Paul Tibbets waving from the Enola Gay's cockpit before taking off for the bombing of Hiroshima
Type B-29-45-MO Superfortress
Manufacturer Glenn L. Martin Company, Omaha, Nebraska
Manufactured 18 May 1945
Serial 44-86292
Radio code Victor 12 (later changed to Victor 82)
Owners and operators United States Army Air Forces
In service 18 May 1945 – 24 July 1946
Preserved at National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

World War II

Early history

The Enola Gay (Model number B-29-45-MO,[N 1] Serial number 44-86292, Victor number 82) was built by the Glenn L. Martin Company (later part of Lockheed Martin) at its Bellevue, Nebraska, plant, located at what is now known as Offutt Air Force Base. The bomber was one of the 15 initial examples of B-29s built to the "Silverplate" specification—65 of these eventually being completed during and after World War II—giving them the primary ability to function as nuclear "weapon delivery" aircraft. These modifications included an extensively modified bomb bay with pneumatic doors and British bomb attachment and release systems, reversible pitch propellers that gave more braking power on landing, improved engines with fuel injection and better cooling,[2][3] and the removal of protective armor and gun turrets.[4]

Enola Gay (plane)
Enola Gay after Hiroshima mission, entering hardstand. It is in its 6th Bombardment Group livery, with victor number 82 visible on fuselage just forward of the tail fin.

Enola Gay was personally selected by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets Jr., the commander of the 509th Composite Group, on 9 May 1945, while still on the assembly line. The aircraft was accepted by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on 18 May 1945 and assigned to the 393d Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, 509th Composite Group. Crew B-9, commanded by Captain Robert A. Lewis, took delivery of the bomber and flew it from Omaha to the 509th's base at Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, on 14 June 1945.[5]

Thirteen days later, the aircraft left Wendover for Guam, where it received a bomb-bay modification, and flew to North Field, Tinian, on 6 July. It was initially given the Victor (squadron-assigned identification) number 12, but on 1 August, was given the circle R tail markings of the 6th Bombardment Group as a security measure and had its Victor number changed to 82 to avoid misidentification with actual 6th Bombardment Group aircraft.[5] During July, the bomber made eight practice or training flights, and flew two missions, on 24 and 26 July, to drop pumpkin bombs on industrial targets at Kobe and Nagoya. Enola Gay was used on 31 July on a rehearsal flight for the actual mission.[6]

The partially assembled Little Boy gun-type fission weapon L-11, weighing 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg), was contained inside a 41-inch (100 cm) × 47-inch (120 cm) × 138-inch (350 cm) wooden crate that was secured to the deck of the USS Indianapolis. Unlike the six uranium-235 target discs, which were later flown to Tinian on three separate aircraft arriving 28 and 29 July, the assembled projectile with the nine uranium-235 rings installed was shipped in a single lead-lined steel container weighing 300 pounds (140 kg) that was locked to brackets welded to the deck of Captain Charles B. McVay III's quarters.[N 2] Both the L-11 and projectile were dropped off at Tinian on 26 July 1945.[8]

Hiroshima mission

Atombombe Little Boy 2
Little Boy unit on trailer cradle in pit on Tinian, before being loaded into Enola Gay's bomb bay

On 5 August 1945, during preparation for the first atomic mission, Tibbets assumed command of the aircraft and named it after his mother, Enola Gay Tibbets, who, in turn, had been named for the heroine of a novel.[N 3] When it came to selecting a name for the plane, Tibbets later recalled that:

... my thoughts turned at this point to my courageous red-haired mother, whose quiet confidence had been a source of strength to me since boyhood, and particularly during the soul-searching period when I decided to give up a medical career to become a military pilot. At a time when Dad had thought I had lost my marbles, she had taken my side and said, "I know you will be all right, son."[10]

The name was painted on the aircraft on 5 August by Allan L. Karl, an enlisted man in the 509th.[5] Regularly-assigned aircraft commander Robert Lewis was unhappy to be displaced by Tibbets for this important mission, and became furious when he arrived at the aircraft on the morning of 6 August to see it painted with the now-famous nose art.[11]

Hiroshima was the primary target of the first nuclear bombing mission on 6 August, with Kokura and Nagasaki as alternative targets. Enola Gay, piloted by Tibbets, took off from North Field, in the Northern Mariana Islands, about six hours' flight time from Japan, accompanied by two other B-29s, The Great Artiste, carrying instrumentation, and a then-nameless aircraft later called Necessary Evil, commanded by Captain George Marquardt, to take photographs. The director of the Manhattan Project, Major General Leslie R. Groves, Jr., wanted the event recorded for posterity, so the takeoff was illuminated by floodlights. When he wanted to taxi, Tibbets leaned out the window to direct the bystanders out of the way. On request, he gave a friendly wave for the cameras.[12]

Atomic cloud over Hiroshima
Hiroshima explosion

After leaving Tinian, the aircraft made their way separately to Iwo Jima, where they rendezvoused at 2,440 meters (8,010 ft) and set course for Japan. The aircraft arrived over the target in clear visibility at 9,855 meters (32,333 ft). Captain William S. "Deak" Parsons of Project Alberta, who was in command of the mission, armed the bomb during the flight to minimize the risks during takeoff. His assistant, Second Lieutenant Morris R. Jeppson, removed the safety devices 30 minutes before reaching the target area.[13]

The release at 08:15 (Hiroshima time) went as planned, and the Little Boy took 43 seconds to fall from the aircraft flying at 31,060 feet (9,470 m) to the predetermined detonation height about 1,968 feet (600 m) above the city. Enola Gay traveled 11.5 mi (18.5 km) before it felt the shock waves from the blast.[14] Although buffeted by the shock, neither Enola Gay nor The Great Artiste was damaged.[15]

The detonation created a blast equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT (67 TJ).[16] The U-235 weapon was considered very inefficient, with only 1.7% of its fissile material reacting.[17] The radius of total destruction was about one mile (1.6 km), with resulting fires across 4.4 square miles (11 km2).[18] Americans estimated that 4.7 square miles (12 km2) of the city were destroyed. Japanese officials determined that 69% of Hiroshima's buildings were destroyed and another 6–7% damaged.[19] Some 70,000–80,000 people, 30% of the city's population, were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm,[20] and another 70,000 injured.[21] Out of those killed, 20,000 were soldiers.[22]

Enola Gay2-PS
Enola Gay landing at its base

Enola Gay returned safely to its base on Tinian to great fanfare, touching down at 2:58 pm, after 12 hours 13 minutes. The Great Artiste and Necessary Evil followed at short intervals. Several hundred people, including journalists and photographers, had gathered to watch the planes return. Tibbets was the first to disembark, and was presented with the Distinguished Service Cross on the spot.[15]

Nagasaki mission

The Hiroshima mission was followed by another atomic strike. Originally scheduled for 11 August, it was brought forward by two days to 9 August owing to a forecast of bad weather. This time, a Fat Man nuclear weapon was carried by B-29 Bockscar, piloted by Major Charles W. Sweeney.[23] Enola Gay, flown by Captain George Marquardt's Crew B-10, was the weather reconnaissance aircraft for Kokura, the primary target.[24] Enola Gay reported clear skies over Kokura,[25] but by the time Bockscar arrived, the city was obscured by smoke from fires from the conventional bombing of Yahata by 224 B-29s the day before. After three unsuccessful passes, Bockscar diverted to its secondary target, Nagasaki,[26] where it dropped its bomb. In contrast to the Hiroshima mission, the Nagasaki mission has been described as tactically botched, although the mission did meet its objectives. The crew encountered a number of problems in execution, and had very little fuel by the time they landed at the emergency backup landing site Yontan Airfield on Okinawa.[27][28]


Atomic bomb 1945 mission map
The mission runs of August 6 and 9, with Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Kokura (the original target for August 9) displayed

Hiroshima mission

Bombardier Thomas Ferebee with the Norden Bombsight on Tinian after the dropping of Little Boy

Enola Gay's crew on 6 August 1945, consisted of 12 men.[29][30] The crew was:

Source: Campbell, 2005, p. 30. Asterisks denote regular crewmen of the Enola Gay.

Of mission commander Parsons, it was said: "There is no one more responsible for getting this bomb out of the laboratory and into some form useful for combat operations than Captain Parsons, by his plain genius in the ordnance business."[31]

Nagasaki mission

For the Nagasaki mission, Enola Gay was flown by Crew B-10, normally assigned to Up An' Atom:

  • Captain George W. Marquardt – aircraft commander
  • Second Lieutenant James M. Anderson – co-pilot
  • Second Lieutenant Russell Gackenbach – navigator
  • Captain James W. Strudwick – bombardier
  • First Lieutenant Jacob Beser – radar countermeasures
  • Technical Sergeant James R. Corliss – flight engineer
  • Sergeant Warren L. Coble – radio operator
  • Sergeant Joseph M. DiJulio – radar operator
  • Sergeant Melvin H. Bierman – tail gunner
  • Sergeant Anthony D. Capua, Jr. – assistant engineer/scanner

Source: Campbell, 2005, pp. 134, 191–192.

Subsequent history

Enola Gay Storage Smithsonian
Cockpit section of Enola Gay in the Smithsonian storage facility at Suitland, 1987

On 6 November 1945, Lewis flew the Enola Gay back to the United States, arriving at the 509th's new base at Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico, on 8 November. On 29 April 1946, Enola Gay left Roswell as part of the Operation Crossroads nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific. It flew to Kwajalein Atoll on 1 May. It was not chosen to make the test drop at Bikini Atoll and left Kwajalein on 1 July, the date of the test, reaching Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Field, California, the next day.[32]

The decision was made to preserve the Enola Gay, and on 24 July 1946, the aircraft was flown to Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona, in preparation for storage. On 30 August 1946, the title to the aircraft was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution and the Enola Gay was removed from the USAAF inventory.[32] From 1946 to 1961, the Enola Gay was put into temporary storage at a number of locations. It was at Davis-Monthan from 1 September 1946 until 3 July 1949, when it was flown to Orchard Place Air Field, Park Ridge, Illinois, by Tibbets for acceptance by the Smithsonian. It was moved to Pyote Air Force Base, Texas, on 12 January 1952, and then to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, on 2 December 1953,[33] because the Smithsonian had no storage space for the aircraft.[34]

It was hoped that the Air Force would guard the plane, but, lacking hangar space, it was left outdoors on a remote part of the air base, exposed to the elements. Souvenir hunters broke in and removed parts. Insects and birds then gained access to the aircraft. Paul E. Garber of the Smithsonian Institution, became concerned about the Enola Gay's condition,[34] and on 10 August 1960, Smithsonian staff began dismantling the aircraft. The components were transported to the Smithsonian storage facility at Suitland, Maryland, on 21 July 1961.[33]

Enola Gay remained at Suitland for many years. By the early 1980s, two veterans of the 509th, Don Rehl and his former navigator in the 509th, Frank B. Stewart, began lobbying for the aircraft to be restored and put on display. They enlisted Tibbets and Senator Barry Goldwater in their campaign. In 1983, Walter J. Boyne, a former B-52 pilot with the Strategic Air Command, became director of the National Air and Space Museum, and he made the Enola Gay's restoration a priority.[34] Looking at the aircraft, Tibbets recalled, was a "sad meeting. [My] fond memories, and I don't mean the dropping of the bomb, were the numerous occasions I flew the airplane ... I pushed it very, very hard and it never failed me ... It was probably the most beautiful piece of machinery that any pilot ever flew."[34]

Restoration of the bomber began on 5 December 1984, at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland-Silver Hill, Maryland. The propellers that were used on the bombing mission were later shipped to Texas A&M University. One of these propellers was trimmed to 12.5 feet (3.8 m) for use in the university's Oran W. Nicks Low Speed Wind Tunnel. The lightweight aluminum variable-pitch propeller is powered by a 1,250 kVA electric motor, providing a wind speed up to 200 miles per hour (320 km/h).[35] Two engines were rebuilt at Garber and two at San Diego Air & Space Museum. Some parts and instruments had been removed and could not be located. Replacements were found or fabricated, and marked so that future curators could distinguish them from the original components.[36]


Exhibition controversy

Enola 0079
Under the cockpit window of the Enola Gay, while in storage 1987

Enola Gay became the center of a controversy at the Smithsonian Institution when the museum planned to put its fuselage on public display in 1995 as part of an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.[37] The exhibit, The Crossroads: The End of World War II, the Atomic Bomb and the Cold War, was drafted by the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum staff, and arranged around the restored Enola Gay.[38]

Critics of the planned exhibit, especially those of the American Legion and the Air Force Association, charged that the exhibit focused too much attention on the Japanese casualties inflicted by the nuclear bomb, rather than on the motivations for the bombing or the discussion of the bomb's role in ending the conflict with Japan.[39][40] The exhibit brought to national attention many long-standing academic and political issues related to retrospective views of the bombings. As a result, after various failed attempts to revise the exhibit in order to meet the satisfaction of competing interest groups, the exhibit was canceled on 30 January 1995. Martin O. Harwit, Director of the National Air and Space Museum, was compelled to resign over the controversy.[41][42] He later reflected that:

The dispute was not simply about the atomic bomb. Rather, the dispute was sometimes a symbolic issue in a "culture war" in which many Americans lumped together the seeming decline of American power, the difficulties of the domestic economy, the threats in world trade and especially Japan's successes, the loss of domestic jobs, and even changes in American gender roles and shifts in the American family. To a number of Americans, the very people responsible for the script were the people who were changing America. The bomb, representing the end of World War II and suggesting the height of American power was to be celebrated. It was, in this judgment, a crucial symbol of America's "good war", one fought justly for noble purposes at a time when America was united. Those who in any way questioned the bomb's use were, in this emotional framework, the enemies of America.[43]

The forward fuselage went on display on 28 June 1995. On 2 July 1995, three people were arrested for throwing ash and human blood on the aircraft's fuselage, following an earlier incident in which a protester had thrown red paint over the gallery's carpeting.[44] The exhibition closed on 18 May 1998, and the fuselage was returned to the Garber Facility for final restoration.[45]

Complete restoration and display

Restoration work began in 1984, and would eventually require 300,000 staff hours. While the fuselage was on display, from 1995 to 1998, work continued on the remaining unrestored components. The aircraft was shipped in pieces to the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia from March–June 2003, with the fuselage and wings reunited for the first time since 1960 on 10 April 2003[3] and assembly completed on 8 August 2003. The aircraft has been on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center since the museum annex opened on 15 December 2003.[45] As a result of the earlier controversy, the signage around the aircraft provided only the same succinct technical data as is provided for other aircraft in the museum, without discussion of the controversial issues. It read:

Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated propeller-driven bomber of World War II, and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments. Although designed to fight in the European theater, the B-29 found its niche on the other side of the globe. In the Pacific, B-29s delivered a variety of aerial weapons: conventional bombs, incendiary bombs, mines, and two nuclear weapons.

On August 6, 1945, this Martin-built B-29-45-MO dropped the first atomic weapon used in combat on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, Bockscar (on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio) dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Enola Gay flew as the advance weather reconnaissance aircraft that day. A third B-29, The Great Artiste, flew as an observation aircraft on both missions.

Enola Gay on Display at Udvar-Hazy
The Enola Gay on display at the National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Transferred from the U.S. Air Force

Wingspan: 43 m (141 ft 3 in)
Length: 30.2 m (99 ft)
Height: 9 m (27 ft 9 in)
Weight, empty: 32,580 kg (71,826 lb)
Weight, gross: 63,504 kg (140,000 lb)
Top speed: 546 km/h (339 mph)
Engines: 4 Wright R-3350-57 Cyclone turbo-supercharged radials, 2,200 hp
Crew: 12 (Hiroshima mission)
Armament: two .50 caliber machine guns
Ordnance: “Little Boy” atomic bomb
Manufacturer: Martin Co., Omaha, Nebr., 1945

Enola Gay on Display at Udvar-Hazy
The Enola Gay on display at the National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Enola Gay nose
Enola Gay nose, port side, at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

The display of the Enola Gay without reference to the historical context of World War II, the Cold War, or the development and deployment of nuclear weapons aroused controversy. A petition from a group calling themselves the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy bemoaned the display of Enola Gay as a technological achievement, which it described as an "extraordinary callousness toward the victims, indifference to the deep divisions among American citizens about the propriety of these actions, and disregard for the feelings of most of the world's peoples".[47] It attracted signatures from notable figures including historian Gar Alperovitz, social critic Noam Chomsky, whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg, physicist Joseph Rotblat, writer Kurt Vonnegut, producer Norman Lear, actor Martin Sheen and filmmaker Oliver Stone.[47][48]



  1. ^ The block number was a one- to three-digit number, followed by a two-letter code that represented the aircraft built to the same engineering specification. The two-letter code represented the plant at which the aircraft was built, in this case, Martin in Omaha. This was combined with the aircraft model designation (B-29) to form the model number [1]
  2. ^ The atomic bombs were euphemistically known as the "gadgets", a tag given to them by scientists at the Los Alamos test facility.[7]
  3. ^ Enola; or Her Fatal Mistake (1886), by Mary Young Ridenbaugh is the only novel of the period to use "Enola".[9]


  1. ^ Mann 2004, p. 100.
  2. ^ Campbell 2005, pp. 14–15.
  3. ^ a b March, Peter R. "Enola Gay Restored". Aircraft Illustrated, October 2003.
  4. ^ "Boeing B-29 Enola Gay Superfortress bomber, Aircraft history, facts and pictures". aviationexplorer.com. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Campbell 2005, pp. 191–192.
  6. ^ Campbell 2005, p. 117.
  7. ^ Hoddeson et al. 1993, p. 2.
  8. ^ Hoddeson et al. 1993, p. 258.
  9. ^ Ridenbaugh, Mary Young (1886). Enola; or Her fatal mistake. St Louis, Missouri: Woodward & Tiernan.
  10. ^ Tibbets 1998, p. 203.
  11. ^ Thomas & Morgan-Witts 1977, pp. 382–383.
  12. ^ Polmar 2004, pp. 31–32.
  13. ^ "Timeline #2 – the 509th; The Hiroshima Mission". The Atomic Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 5 May 2007.
  14. ^ "The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, Aug 6, 1945". United States Department of Energy. Archived from the original on 24 June 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  15. ^ a b Polmar 2004, p. 33.
  16. ^ "Section 8.0 The First Nuclear Weapons". Nuclear Weapons Archive. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  17. ^ "The Bomb-"Little Boy"". The Atomic Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 5 May 2007.
  18. ^ "Radiation Dose Reconstruction U.S. Occupation Forces in Hiroshima And Nagasaki, Japan, 1945–1946 (DNA 5512F)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 June 2006. Retrieved 9 June 2006.
  19. ^ "U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey: The Effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, June 19, 1946. President's Secretary's File, Truman Papers". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. p. 9. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
  20. ^ "U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey: The Effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, June 19, 1946. President's Secretary's File, Truman Papers". Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. p. 6. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
  21. ^ "Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey: The Effects of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, June 19, 1946. President's Secretary's File, Truman Papers". p. 37. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
  22. ^ "Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombing: Facts about the Atomic Bomb". Hiroshima Day Committee. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  23. ^ Polmar 2004, pp. 35–38.
  24. ^ Campbell 2005, p. 32.
  25. ^ Sweeney, Antonucci & Antonucci 1997, pp. 210–211.
  26. ^ Sweeney, Antonucci & Antonucci 1997, pp. 213–215.
  27. ^ "Boeing B-29 Superfortress". National Museum of the United States Air Force. Archived from the original on 24 January 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  28. ^ Rossenfeld, Carrie (2005). "The Story of Nagasaki: The Missions". hiroshima-remembered.com. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  29. ^ Cooper, Sgt. Jean. "Photo: P-574 (Enola Gay Crew Members)". Atomic Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  30. ^ "Atom Bomber Crew From Eight States". The Miami News. AP. August 8, 1945. Retrieved July 8, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  31. ^ Dvorak, Darrell F. (Winter 2013). "The First Atomic Bomb Mission: Trinity B-29 Operations Three Weeks Before Hiroshima" (PDF). Air Power History. 60 (4): 4–17. ISSN 1044-016X.
  32. ^ a b Campbell 2005, p. 193.
  33. ^ a b Polmar 2004, p. 66.
  34. ^ a b c d Harwit, Martin. "An Exhibit Denied: Lobbying the History of Enola Gay". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  35. ^ "Enola Gay". Solarnavigator.net. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  36. ^ Polmar 2004, p. 60.
  37. ^ Sanger, David E. (6 August 1995). "Travel Advisory: Correspondent's Report; Enola Gay and Little Boy, Exactly 50 Years Later". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  38. ^ Gallagher, Edward. "History on Trial: The Enola Gay Controversy". Lehigh University. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  39. ^ "Enola Gay Archive: The Enola Gay and the Smithsonian". Air Force Association. 1996. Archived from the original on 26 October 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  40. ^ Doyle, Debbie Ann (December 2003). "Historians protest new Enola Gay exhibit". Perspectives on History. 41 (9). ISSN 0743-7021. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  41. ^ "Head of Air, Space Museum Quits Over Enola Gay Exhibit". Los Angeles Times. 3 May 1995. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  42. ^ Meyer, Eugene L. (3 May 1995). "Air and Space Museum Chief Resigns: Harwit Cites Furor Over A-Bomb Exhibit". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  43. ^ Bernstein 1995, p. 238.
  44. ^ Correll, John T. (August 1995). "Enola Gay Archive: Presenting the Enola Gay". Air Force Association. p. 19. Archived from the original on 13 October 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  45. ^ a b "Boeing B-29 'Superfortress': Enola Gay". National air and Space Museum. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  46. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Exhibition of B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay" (Press release). National Air and Space Museum. 17 May 2005. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  47. ^ a b "Statement of Principles". Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy. Archived from the original on 2 February 2005.
  48. ^ Doyle, Debbie Ann (December 2003). "Historians Protest New Enola Gay Exhibit". American History Association. Retrieved 20 February 2018.


  • Bernstein, Barton (1995). "The Struggle Over History: Defining the Hiroshima Narrative". In Nobile, Philip. Judgment at the Smithsonian. New York: Marlowe & Co. pp. 127–256. ISBN 978-1-56924-841-6. OCLC 32856425.
  • Campbell, Richard H. (2005). The Silverplate Bombers: A History and Registry of the Enola Gay and Other B-29's Configured to Carry Atomic Bombs. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-7864-2139-8.
  • Hoddeson, Lillian; Henriksen, Paul W.; Meade, Roger A.; Westfall, Catherine L. (1993). Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos During the Oppenheimer Years, 1943–1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-44132-2.
  • Mann, Robert A. (2004). The B-29 Superfortress: A Comprehensive Registry of the Planes and Their Missions. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-1787-0.
  • Polmar, Norman (2004). The Enola Gay: The B-29 that Dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. Dulles, Virginia: Brassey's. ISBN 1-57488-859-5.
  • Sweeney, Charles; Antonucci, James A.; Antonucci, Marion K. (1997). War's End: an Eyewitness Account of America's Last Atomic Mission. New York: Avon Books. ISBN 0-380-97349-9.
  • Thomas, Gordon; Morgan-Witts, Max (1977). Ruin from the Air: The Enola Gay's Atomic Mission to Hiroshima. London: Hamilton. ISBN 0-8128-8509-0.
  • Tibbets, Paul W. (1998). Return of the Enola Gay. New Hope, Pennsylvania: Enola Gay Remembered Inc. ISBN 0970366604.

Further reading

  • Dubin, Steven C. (2001). Displays of Power: Controversy in the American Museum from the Enola Gay to Sensation. New York: NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-1890-2.
  • Haggerty, Forrest (2005). 43 Seconds to Hiroshima: The First Atomic Mission. An Autobiography of Richard H. Nelson, "Enola Gay" Radioman. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse. ISBN 1-4208-4316-8.
  • Harwit, Martin (1996). An Exhibit Denied: Lobbying the History of Enola Gay. New York: Copernicus. ISBN 0-387-94797-3.
  • Hogan, Michael J. (1996). Hiroshima in History and Memory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-56682-7.
  • Krauss, Robert; Krauss, Amelia (2005). The 509th Remembered: A History of the 509th Composite Group as Told by the Veterans Themselves, 509th Anniversary Reunion, Wichita, Kansas, 7–10 October 2004. Wichita, Kansas: 509th Press. ISBN 0-923568-66-2.
  • Mayr, Otto (1998). "The 'Enola Gay' Fiasco: History, Politics, and the Museum". Technology and Culture. 39 (3): 462–473. JSTOR 1215894.
  • O'Reilly, Charles T. and William A. Rooney (2005). Enola Gay and the Smithsonian Institution. New York: McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-2008-1.
  • Rhodes, Richard (1986). The Making of the Atomic Bomb. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-81378-5.
  • Newman, Robert P. (2004). Enola Gay and the Court of History. New York: Peter Lang Publishing. ISBN 0-8204-7457-6.
  • Wheeler, Keith. (1982). Bombers over Japan. Virginia Beach, Virginia: Time-Life Books. ISBN 0-8094-3429-6.

External links

Coordinates: 38°54′39″N 77°26′39″W / 38.9108°N 77.4442°W

509th Composite Group

The 509th Composite Group (509 CG) was a unit of the United States Army Air Forces created during World War II and tasked with the operational deployment of nuclear weapons. It conducted the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945.

The group was activated on 17 December 1944 at Wendover Army Air Field, Utah. It was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Paul W. Tibbets. Because it contained flying squadrons equipped with Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers, C-47 Skytrain, and C-54 Skymaster transport aircraft, the group was designated as a "composite", rather than a "bombardment" formation. It operated Silverplate B-29s, which were specially configured to enable them to carry nuclear weapons.

The 509th Composite Group began deploying to North Field on Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands, in May 1945. In addition to the two nuclear bombing raids, it carried out 15 practice missions against Japanese-held islands, and 12 combat missions against targets in Japan dropping high-explosive pumpkin bombs.

In the postwar era, the 509th Composite Group was one of the original ten bombardment groups assigned to Strategic Air Command on 21 March 1946 and the only one equipped with Silverplate B-29 Superfortress aircraft capable of delivering atomic bombs. It was standardized as a bombardment group and redesignated the 509th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on 10 July 1946.

Enola Gay (song)

"Enola Gay" is an anti-war song by the British synth-pop group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) and the only single from the band's 1980 album, Organisation. The track addresses the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, toward the conclusion World War II. It was written by vocalist/bass guitarist Andy McCluskey.

"Enola Gay" has been described – along with 1986's "If You Leave" – as OMD's signature song. The single was an international success, selling more than 5 million copies, while the track became an enduring hit.

Gary Frank (actor)

Gary Frank (born October 9, 1950, Spokane, Washington) is an American actor who won an Emmy Award for his performances on the TV series Family (which also starred James Broderick, Sada Thompson, Meredith Baxter, and Kristy McNichol).

He also starred with Glynnis O'Connor in the short-lived 1974 CBS series Sons and Daughters, a drama about young people in a changing society.

Frank appeared in the film Deadly Weapon. He starred in three episodes of Remington Steele as well as episodes of The Streets of San Francisco, T.J. Hooker, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, Magnum PI., Murder She Wrote, L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues, Friday the 13th: The Series, and guest starred on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Yedrin Dax in the episode "Children of Time".

He played bombardier Major Thomas Ferebee in the TV film Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb,TV Christmas film The Gift: opposite Actor Glen Ford, and appeared on two episodes of Matlock (Season 1, Episode 3, "The Stripper", September 30, 1986; Season 4, Episode 6, "The Clown", October 24, 1989).

George R. Caron

Technical Sergeant George Robert "Bob" Caron (October 31, 1919 – June 3, 1995) was the tail gunner, the only defender of the twelve crewmen, aboard the B-29 Enola Gay during the historic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Facing the rear of the B-29, his vantage point made him the first man to witness the cataclysmic growth of the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima.

Caron was also the only photographer aboard, and took photographs as the mushroom cloud ascended. Of the four 509th Composite Group aircraft assigned to the Hiroshima bombing, Caron's camera and two others captured the explosion on film. Immediately before the mission, the 509th's photography officer, Lieutenant Jerome Ossip, asked then Staff Sergeant Caron to carry a handheld Fairchild K-20 camera. After the mission, Ossip developed photos from all the aircraft, but found that the fixed cameras failed to record anything. Film from another handheld was mishandled in developing, making Caron's the only official still photographs of the explosion. 2nd Lt. Russell Gackenback, Navigator aboard then unnamed Necessary Evil, took two still photographs of the cloud about one minute after detonation using his personal AFGA 620 camera. A handheld 16 mm film camera on The Great Artiste captured the only known motion film of the explosion. Caron's photographs of the explosion were printed on millions of leaflets that were dropped over Japan the next day.

Caron graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School (Brooklyn, New York) in 1938.In May 1995, he published the book Fire of a Thousand Suns, The George R. "Bob" Caron Story, Tail Gunner of the Enola Gay about his "eye-witness account of the momentous event when the world was catapulted into the Atomic Age, the introduction of atomic capability, the technical development of the B-29, and the events that put him into the tail gun turret of the Enola Gay."

Mark Levine (poet)

Mark Levine (born 1965, New York) is an American poet and non-fiction writer.

He grew up in Toronto, attended Brown University, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

He taught at the University of Montana, and at the University of Iowa. His books of poetry include Capital, Debt, Enola Gay, The Wilds, and Travels with Marco. His book of

non-fiction is titled F5. "Debt" was a selection in the National Poetry Series, and he has been the recipient of a Whiting Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). He has also written journalism for The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and numerous other publications.

Martin Harwit

Martin Harwit (born 9 March 1931) is a Czech-American astronomer, author, and was director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. from 1987 to 1995. He is known for his scientific work on Infrared astronomy, as a professor at Cornell University.

Morris R. Jeppson

Morris Richard Jeppson (June 23, 1922 – March 30, 2010) was a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. He served as assistant weaponeer on the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark discography

The discography of English synthpop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) includes 13 studio albums and 39 singles, among other releases. Since the late 1970s, the group have cultivated a legacy as innovators within popular music, with sales of more than 40 million records to date.

Organisation (album)

Organisation is the second album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), released in 1980. "Enola Gay" was the only single taken from the record. Malcolm Holmes had played drums with OMD before, notably on "Julia's Song" which was featured on the band's debut album, and for Organisation he was recruited as a full-time member replacing the TEAC tape recorder affectionately named "Winston". "The More I See You" is a cover of a song written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren in 1945, and popularised by Chris Montez in 1966. The record was remastered and re-released in 2003, with several bonus tracks.

Organisation has received generally favourable reviews. Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson has hailed the record as the finest of OMD's career.

Paul Tibbets

Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. (23 February 1915 – 1 November 2007) was a brigadier general in the United States Air Force. He is best known as the pilot who flew the B-29 Superfortress known as the Enola Gay (named after his mother) when it dropped Little Boy, the first of two atomic bombs used in warfare, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

Tibbets enlisted in the United States Army in 1937 and qualified as a pilot in 1938. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he flew anti-submarine patrols over the Atlantic. In February 1942, he became the commanding officer of the 340th Bombardment Squadron of the 97th Bombardment Group, which was equipped with the Boeing B-17. In July 1942, the 97th became the first heavy bombardment group to be deployed as part of the Eighth Air Force, and Tibbets became deputy group commander. He flew the lead plane in the first American daylight heavy bomber mission against Occupied Europe on 17 August 1942, and the first American raid of more than 100 bombers in Europe on 9 October 1942. Tibbets was chosen to fly Major General Mark W. Clark and Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower to Gibraltar. After flying 43 combat missions, he became the assistant for bomber operations on the staff of the Twelfth Air Force.

Tibbets returned to the United States in February 1943 to help with the development of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. In September 1944, he was appointed the commander of the 509th Composite Group, which would conduct the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, he participated in the Operation Crossroads nuclear weapon tests at Bikini Atoll in mid-1946, and was involved in the development of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet in the early 1950s. He commanded the 308th Bombardment Wing and 6th Air Division in the late 1950s, and was military attaché in India from 1964 to 1966. After leaving the Air Force in 1966, he worked for Executive Jet Aviation, serving on the founding board and as its president from 1976 until his retirement in 1987.

Project Alberta

Project Alberta, also known as Project A, was a section of the Manhattan Project which assisted in delivering the first nuclear weapons in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

Project Alberta was formed in March 1945, and consisted of 51 United States Army, Navy, and civilian personnel, including one British scientist. Its mission was three-fold. It first had to design a bomb shape for delivery by air, then procure and assemble it. It supported the ballistic testing work at Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, conducted by the 216th Army Air Forces Base Unit (Project W-47), and the modification of B-29s to carry the bombs (Project Silverplate). After completion of its development and training missions, Project Alberta was attached to the 509th Composite Group at North Field, Tinian, where it prepared facilities, assembled and loaded the weapons, and participated in their use.

Pyote Air Force Base

Pyote Air Force Base was a World War II United States Army Air Forces training airbase. It was on 2,745 acres (1,111 ha) a mile from the town of Pyote, Texas on Interstate 20, twenty miles west of Monahans and just south of U.S. Highway 80, 230 miles (370 km) east of El Paso.

It was nicknamed "Rattlesnake Bomber Base" for the numerous rattlesnake dens that were uncovered during its construction.

At the height of its use in 1944, the base had over 6,000 officers and enlisted men either permanently assigned or temporarily attached. In addition, there were hundreds of civilians that came from all over the United States to work on the base.

After World War II, thousands of reserve aircraft were stored there, one of which was the B-29 "Enola Gay".

Today, most of the base is gone. Other than the concrete runways, taxiways and ramp, virtually nothing remains that would tell the casual observer that this was once a major training center responsible for turning out highly trained flying crews. In later years. the West Texas State School was situated on the site; it was closed in 2010. Located on I-20 at exit 66.

Robert A. Lewis

Robert Alvin Lewis (October 18, 1917 – June 18, 1983) was a United States Army Air Forces officer serving in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. He was the co-pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress bomber which dropped the atomic bomb Little Boy on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, also called the Udvar-Hazy Center, is the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM)'s annex at Washington Dulles International Airport in the Chantilly area of Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. It holds numerous exhibits, including the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Enola Gay.

The 760,000-square-foot (71,000 m2) facility was made possible by a $65 million gift in October 1999 to the Smithsonian Institution by Steven F. Udvar-Házy, an immigrant from Hungary and co-founder of the International Lease Finance Corporation, an aircraft leasing corporation. The main NASM building, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C, had always contained more artifacts than could be displayed, and most of the collection had been stored, unavailable to visitors, at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Silver Hill, Maryland. A substantial addition to the center encompassing restoration, conservation and collection-storage facilities was completed in 2010. Restoration facilities and museum archives were moved from the museum's Garber facility to the new sections of the Udvar-Hazy Center.

The OMD Singles

The OMD Singles is a singles compilation album by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, released in 1998. It reached No. 16 in the UK charts. Originally, the compilation was to include a second disc of new remixes; however, this idea was abandoned due to budget limitations. The few remixes that were produced were released separately as The OMD Remixes. In 2003, The OMD Singles was reissued in France with the remix disc finally included, comprising the 1998 remixes as well as additional remixes. In the same year Virgin also released a two-disc box set comprising The OMD Singles and Navigation: The OMD B-Sides.

Theodore Van Kirk

Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk (February 27, 1921 – July 28, 2014) was a navigator in the United States Army Air Forces, best known as the navigator of the Enola Gay when it dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Upon the death of fellow crewman Morris Jeppson on March 30, 2010, Van Kirk became the last surviving member of the Enola Gay crew.

Wendover Air Force Base

Wendover Air Force Base is a former United States Air Force base in Utah now known as Wendover Airport. During World War II, it was a training base for B-17 and B-24 bomber crews. It was the training site of the 509th Composite Group, the B-29 unit that carried out the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the war, Wendover was used for training exercises, gunnery range and as a research facility. It was closed by the Air Force in 1969, and the base was given to Wendover City in 1977. Tooele County, Utah, assumed ownership of the airport and base buildings in 1998, and the County continues to operate the airfield as a public airport. A portion of the original bombing range is now the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) which is used extensively by the Air Force with live fire targets on the range.

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