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.
|Birth name||Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr.|
|Born||23 February 1915|
Quincy, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||1 November 2007 (aged 92)|
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
|Service/|| United States Army Air Forces|
United States Air Force
|Years of service||1937–1966|
|Commands held||340th Bombardment Squadron|
509th Composite Group
308th Bombardment Wing
6th Air Division
|Battles/wars||World War II:|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Cross|
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Air Medal (4)
|Other work||Charter Pilot and President of Executive Jet Aviation|
Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. was born in Quincy, Illinois, on 23 February 1915, the son of Paul Warfield Tibbets Sr. and his wife, Enola Gay Tibbets. When he was five years old the family moved to Davenport, Iowa, and then to Iowa's capital, Des Moines, where he was raised, and where his father became a confections wholesaler. When he was eight, his family moved to Hialeah, Florida, to escape from harsh midwestern winters. As a boy he was very interested in flying. One day his mother agreed to pay one dollar to get him into an airplane at the local carnival. In 1927, when he was 12 years old, he flew in a plane piloted by barnstormer Doug Davis, dropping candy bars with tiny parachutes to the crowd of people attending the races at the Hialeah Park Race Track.
In the late 1920s, business issues forced Tibbets's family to return to Alton, Illinois, where he graduated from Western Military Academy in 1933. He then attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, and became an initiated member of the Epsilon Zeta chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity in 1934. During that time, Tibbets took private flying lessons at Miami's Opa-locka Airport with Rusty Heard, who later became a captain at Eastern Airlines. After his undergraduate work, Tibbets had planned on becoming an abdominal surgeon. He transferred to the University of Cincinnati after his second year to complete his pre-med studies there, because the University of Florida had no medical school at the time. However, he attended for only a year and a half as he changed his mind about wanting to become a doctor. Instead, he decided to enlist in the United States Army and become a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps.
Because he went to a military school, attended some college, and had some flight experience, Tibbets qualified for the Aviation Cadet Training Program. On 25 February 1937, he enlisted in the army at Fort Thomas, Kentucky, and was sent to Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas, for primary and basic flight instruction. During his training, he showed himself to be an above-average pilot. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and received his pilot rating in 1938 at Kelly Field in San Antonio.
After graduation, Tibbets was assigned to the 16th Observation Squadron, which was based at Lawson Field, Georgia, with a flight supporting the Infantry School at nearby Fort Benning. It was at Fort Benning that Tibbets met Lucy Frances Wingate, then a clerk at a department store in Columbus, Georgia. The two quietly married in a Roman Catholic seminary in Holy Trinity, Alabama on June 19, 1938. Tibbets did not inform his family or his commanding officer, and the couple arranged for the notice to be kept out of the local newspaper. They had two sons. Paul III was born in 1940, in Columbus, Georgia, and graduated from Huntingdon College and Auburn University. He was a colonel in the United States Army Reserves and worked as a hospital pharmacist. He died in West Monroe, Louisiana, in 2016. The younger son, Gene Wingate Tibbets, was born in 1944, and was at the time of his death in 2012 residing in Georgiana in Butler County in southern Alabama.
While Tibbets was stationed at Fort Benning, he was promoted to first lieutenant and served as a personal pilot for Brigadier General George S. Patton, Jr., in 1940 and 1941. In June 1941, Tibbets transferred to the 9th Bombardment Squadron of the 3d Bombardment Group at Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia, as the engineering officer, and flew the A-20 Havoc. While there he was promoted to captain. In December 1941, he received orders to join the 29th Bombardment Group at MacDill Field, Florida, for training on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. On 7 December 1941, Tibbets heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while listening to the radio during a routine flight. Due to fears that German U-Boats might enter Tampa Bay and bombard MacDill Field, the 29th Bombardment Group moved to Savannah. Tibbets remained on temporary duty with the 3d Bombardment Group, forming an anti-submarine patrol at Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, with 21 B-18 Bolo medium bombers. The B-18s were used as an intermediate trainer, which pilots flew after basic flight training in a Cessna UC-78 and before qualifying in the B-17.
In February 1942, Tibbets reported for duty with the 29th Bombardment Group as its engineering officer. Three weeks later he was named the commanding officer of the 340th Bombardment Squadron of the 97th Bombardment Group, equipped with the B-17D. It was initially based at MacDill, and then Sarasota Army Airfield, Florida, before moving to Godfrey Army Airfield in Bangor, Maine.
In July 1942 the 97th became the first heavy bombardment group of the Eighth Air Force to be deployed to England, where it was based at RAF Polebrook. It had been hastily assembled to meet demands for an early deployment, and arrived without any training in the basics of high altitude daylight bombing. In the first weeks of August 1942, under the tutelage of Royal Air Force veterans, the group received intensive training for its first mission. The group commander, Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius W. Cousland, was replaced by Colonel Frank A. Armstrong Jr., who appointed Tibbets as his deputy.
Tibbets flew the lead bomber Butcher Shop for the first American daylight heavy bomber mission on 17 August 1942, a shallow-penetration raid against a marshalling yard in Rouen in Occupied France, with Armstrong as his co-pilot. This was not Tibbets's regular aircraft, Red Gremlin, nor his regular crew, which included bombardier Thomas Ferebee and navigator Theodore Van Kirk, who later flew with him in Enola Gay. On 9 October 1942, Tibbets led the first American raid of more than 100 bombers in Europe, attacking industrial targets in the French city of Lille. Poor bombing accuracy resulted in numerous civilian casualties and less damage to the rail installations than hoped, but the mission was hailed an overall success because it reached its target against heavy and constant fighter attack. Of the 108 aircraft in the raid, 33 were shot down or had to turn back due to mechanical problems.
On that first mission, Tibbets saw in real time that his bombs were falling on innocent civilians. At the time, he thought to himself, "People are getting killed down there that don't have any business getting killed. Those are not soldiers." But then he thought back to a lesson he had learned during his time at medical school from his roommate who was a doctor. This doctor explained to him about his former classmates who failed the program and ended up in drug sales. The reason why they had failed the program was because "they had too much sympathy for their patients", which "destroyed their ability to render the medical necessities". It dawned on Tibbets that:
I am just like that if I get to thinking about some innocent person getting hit on the ground. I am supposed to be a bomber pilot and destroy a target. I won't be worth anything if I do that ... I made up my mind then that the morality of dropping that bomb was not my business. I was instructed to perform a military mission to drop the bomb. That was the thing that I was going to do the best of my ability. Morality, there is no such thing in warfare. I don't care whether you are dropping atom bombs, or 100-pound bombs, or shooting a rifle. You have got to leave the moral issue out of it.
In the leadup to Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa, the commander of the Eighth Air Force, Major General Carl Spaatz was ordered to provide his best two pilots for a secret mission. He chose Tibbets and Major Wayne Connors. Tibbets flew Major General Mark W. Clark from Polebrook to Gibraltar while Connors flew Clark's chief of staff, Brigadier General Lyman Lemnitzer. A few weeks later Tibbets flew the Supreme Allied Commander, Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower, there. "By reputation", historian Stephen Ambrose wrote, Tibbets was "the best flier in the Army Air Force."
Tibbets had flown 25 combat missions against targets in France when the 97th Bomb Group was transferred to North Africa as part of Major General Jimmy Doolittle's Twelfth Air Force. For Tibbets, the war in North Africa introduced him to the realities of aerial warfare. He said that he saw the real effects of bombing civilians and the trauma of losing his brothers in arms. In January 1943, Tibbets, who had now flown 43 combat missions, was assigned as the assistant for bomber operations to Colonel Lauris Norstad, Assistant Chief of Staff of Operations (A-3) of the Twelfth Air Force. Tibbets had recently been given a battlefield promotion to colonel, but did not receive it, as such promotions had to be confirmed by a panel of officers. He was told that Norstad had vetoed the promotion, saying "there's only going to be one colonel in operations."
Tibbets did not get along well with Norstad, or with Doolittle's chief of staff, Brigadier General Hoyt Vandenberg. In one planning meeting, Norstad wanted an all-out raid on Bizerte to be flown at 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Tibbets protested that flak would be most effective at that altitude. When challenged by Norstad, Tibbets said he would lead the mission himself at 6,000 feet if Norstad would fly as his co-pilot. Norstad backed down, and the mission was successfully flown at 20,000 feet (6,100 m).
When General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, the Chief of United States Army Air Forces, requested an experienced bombardment pilot to help with the development of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, Doolittle recommended Tibbets. Tibbets returned to the United States in February 1943. At the time, the B-29 program was beset by a host of technical problems, and the chief test pilot, Edmund T. Allen, had been killed in a crash of the prototype aircraft.
Working with the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas, Tibbets test-flew the B-29 and soon accumulated more flight time in it than any other pilot. He found that without defensive armament and armor plating, the aircraft was 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg) lighter, and its performance was much improved. In simulated combat engagements against a P-47 fighter at the B-29's cruising altitude of 30,000 feet (9,100 m), he discovered that the B-29 had a smaller turning radius than the P-47, and could avoid it by turning away.
After a year of developmental testing of the B-29, Tibbets was assigned in March 1944 as director of operations of the 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy), a B-29 training unit based at Grand Island Army Air Field, Nebraska, and commanded by Armstrong. Its role was to transition pilots to the B-29. Tibbets taught two Women Airforce Service Pilots, Dora Dougherty and Dorothea (Didi) Moorman, to fly the B-29 as demonstration pilots.
On 1 September 1944, Tibbets reported to Colorado Springs Army Airfield, the headquarters of the Second Air Force, where he met with its commander, Major General Uzal Ent, and three representatives of the Manhattan Project, Lieutenant Colonel John Lansdale Jr., Captain William S. Parsons, and Norman F. Ramsey Jr., who briefed him on the project. Tibbets was told that he would be in charge of the 509th Composite Group, a fully self-contained organization of about 1,800 men, which would have 15 B-29s and a high priority for all kinds of military stores. Ent gave Tibbets a choice of three possible bases: Great Bend Army Airfield, Kansas; Mountain Home Army Airfield, Idaho; or Wendover Army Air Field, Utah. Tibbets selected Wendover for its remoteness.
When the operation was still in its development stages, Armstrong and Colonel Roscoe C. Wilson were the leading candidates to command the group who was designated to drop the atomic bomb. Wilson was the Army Air Force project officer who provided liaison support to the Manhattan Project. Armstrong was an experienced combat veteran against German targets, but he was in his forties and had been severely injured in a fire in the summer of 1943. Wilson had no combat experience and was qualified primarily because of his engineering background and association with the project. Tibbets was considerably younger than both men and had experience in both staff and command duties in heavy bomber combat operations. He was already an experienced B-29 pilot, which made him an ideal candidate for the top-secret project.
Tibbets was promoted to colonel in January 1945 and brought his wife and family along with him to Wendover. He felt that allowing married men in the group to bring their families would improve morale, although it put a strain on his own marriage. In order to disguise all the civilian engineers on base who were working on the Manhattan Project, Tibbets was forced to lie to his wife; he told her that the engineers were "sanitary workers". At one point, Tibbets found that Lucy had co-opted a scientist to unplug a drain.
On 6 March 1945 (concurrent with the activation of Project Alberta), the 1st Ordnance Squadron, Special (Aviation) was activated at Wendover, again using Army Air Forces personnel on hand or already at Los Alamos. Its purpose was to provide "skilled machinists, welders and munitions workers" and special equipment to the group to enable it to assemble atomic weapons at its operating base, thereby allowing the weapons to be transported more safely in their component parts. A rigorous candidate selection process was used to recruit personnel, reportedly with an 80% rejection rate. The 509th Composite Group reached full strength in May 1945.
With the addition of the 1st Ordnance Squadron to its roster in March 1945, the 509th Composite Group had an authorized strength of 225 officers and 1,542 enlisted men, almost all of whom deployed to Tinian, an island in the northern Marianas within striking distance of Japan, in May and June 1945. The 320th Troop Carrier Squadron kept its base of operations at Wendover. In addition to its authorized strength, the 509th had attached to it on Tinian all 51 civilian and military personnel of Project Alberta. Furthermore, two representatives from Washington, D.C. were present on the island: the deputy director of the Manhattan Project, Brigadier General Thomas Farrell, and Rear Admiral William R. Purnell of the Military Policy Committee.
The ground support echelon of the 509th Composite Group received movement orders and moved by rail on 26 April 1945, to its port of embarkation at Seattle, Washington. On May 6 the support elements sailed on the SS Cape Victory for the Marianas, while the group's materiel was shipped on the SS Emile Berliner. An advance party of the air echelon flew by C-54 to North Field, Tinian, between May 15 and 22, where it was joined by the ground echelon on 29 May 1945. Project Alberta's "Destination Team" also sent most of its members to Tinian to supervise the assembly, loading, and dropping of the bombs under the administrative title of 1st Technical Services Detachment, Miscellaneous War Department Group.
On 5 August 1945, Tibbets formally named his B-29 Enola Gay after his mother. Enola Gay had been personally selected by him while it was still on the assembly line at the Glenn L. Martin Company plant in Bellevue, Nebraska. The regularly assigned aircraft commander, Robert A. 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 August 6 to see the aircraft he considered his painted with the now-famous nose art. Lewis would fly the mission as Tibbets's co-pilot.
At 02:45 the next day—in accordance with the terms of Operations Order No. 35—the Enola Gay departed North Field for Hiroshima, Japan, with Tibbets at the controls. Tinian was approximately 2,000 miles (3,200 km) away from Japan, so it took six hours to reach Hiroshima. The atomic bomb, code-named "Little Boy", was dropped over Hiroshima at 08:15 local time. Tibbets recalled that the city was covered with a tall mushroom cloud after the bomb was dropped.
Tibbets was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by Spaatz immediately after landing on Tinian. He became a celebrity, with pictures and interviews of his wife and children in the major American newspapers. He was seen as a national hero who had ended the war with Japan. Tibbets later received an invitation from President Harry S. Truman to visit the White House. The 509th Composite Group was awarded an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in 1999.
Tibbets was interviewed extensively by Mike Harden of the Columbus Dispatch, and profiles appeared in the newspaper on anniversaries of the first dropping of an atomic bomb. In a 1975 interview he said: "I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it and have it work as perfectly as it did ... I sleep clearly every night." "I knew when I got the assignment," he told a reporter in 2005, "it was going to be an emotional thing. We had feelings, but we had to put them in the background. We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible."
The 509th Composite Group returned to the United States on 6 November 1945, and was stationed at Roswell Army Airfield, New Mexico. Colonel William H. Blanchard replaced Tibbets as group commander on 22 January 1946, and also became the first commander of the 509th Bombardment Wing, the successor to the 509th Composite Group. Tibbets was a technical advisor to the 1946 Operation Crossroads nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, but he and his Enola Gay crew were not chosen to drop another atomic bomb.
Tibbets then attended the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. On graduating in 1947 he was posted to the Directorate of Requirements at Air Force Headquarters at the Pentagon. When the head of the directorate, Brigadier General Thomas S. Power, was posted to London as air attaché, he was replaced by Brigadier General Carl Brandt. Brandt appointed Tibbets as director of Directorate of Requirements's Strategic Air Division, which was responsible for drawing up requirements for future bombers. Tibbets was convinced that the bombers of the future would be jet aircraft and thus became involved in the Boeing B-47 Stratojet program. He subsequently served as B-47 project officer at Boeing in Wichita from July 1950 until February 1952. He then became commander of the Proof Test Division at Eglin Air Force Base in Valparaiso, Florida, where flight testing of the B-47 was conducted.
Tibbets returned to Maxwell Air Force Base, where he attended the Air War College. After he graduated in June 1955, he became Director of War Plans at the Allied Air Forces in Central Europe Headquarters at Fontainebleau, France. He left Lucy and his sons behind in Alabama, and he and Lucy divorced that year. During his posting to France, he met a French divorcee named Andrea Quattrehomme, who became his second wife. He returned to the United States in February 1956 to command the 308th Bombardment Wing at Hunter Air Force Base, Georgia, and married her in the base chapel on 4 May 1956. They had a son, James Tibbets.
In January 1958, Tibbets became commander of the 6th Air Division at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. and was promoted to brigadier general in 1959. This was followed by another tour of duty at the Pentagon as director of Management Analysis. In July 1962, he was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff as deputy director for operations, and then, in June 1963, as deputy director for the National Military Command System. In 1964, Tibbets was named military attaché in India. He spent 22 months there on this posting, which ended in June 1966. He retired from the United States Air Force (USAF) on 31 August 1966.
After his retirement from the Air Force, Tibbets worked for Executive Jet Aviation (EJA), an air taxi company based in Columbus, Ohio, and now called NetJets. He was one of the founding board members and attempted to extend the company's operations to Europe, but was unsuccessful. He retired from the company in 1968, and returned to Miami, Florida, where he had spent part of his childhood. The banks foreclosed on EJA in 1970, and Bruce Sundlun became president. Sundlun lured Tibbets back to EJA that year. Tibbets succeeded Sundlun as president on 21 April 1976, and remained in the role until 1986. He served for a year as a consultant before his second and final retirement from EJA in 1987.
Barry Nelson played Tibbets in the film The Beginning or the End (1947). Above and Beyond (1952) depicted the World War II events that involved Tibbets; Robert Taylor starred as Tibbets and Eleanor Parker played the role of his first wife Lucy. Tibbets was also the model for screenwriter Sy Bartlett's fictional character "Major Joe Cobb" in the film Twelve O'Clock High (1949), and for a brief period in February 1949 was slated to be the film's technical advisor until his replacement at the last minute by Colonel John H. deRussy. Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb, a 1980 made-for-television movie, somewhat fictionalized, told the story of Tibbets crew. Patrick Duffy played Tibbets and Kim Darby played Lucy.
In other fictional portrayals, Nicholas Kilbertus was Tibbets in the film Day One (1989), David Gow played him in the TV movie Hiroshima (1995), and Ian Shaw played the part in the BBC's TV docudrama Hiroshima (2005), for which Tibbets was also interviewed on camera. An interview with Tibbets also appeared in the movie Atomic Cafe (1982), as well as was in the 1970s British documentary series The World at War, and the "Men Who Brought the Dawn" episode of the Smithsonian Networks' War Stories (1995). Tibbets figured largely in the 2000 book Duty: A Father, His Son and the Man Who Won the War by Bob Greene of the Chicago Tribune.
In 1976, the United States government apologized to Japan after Tibbets re-enacted the bombing—complete with a mushroom cloud—in a restored B-29 at an air show in Texas. He said that he had not intended for the re-enactment to insult the Japanese people. In 1989, he published his memoir "Flight of the Enola Gay" which chronicles his life to that date. In 1995, he denounced the 50th anniversary exhibition of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Institution, which attempted to present the bombing in context with the destruction it caused, as a "damn big insult", due to its focus on the Japanese casualties rather than the brutality of the Japanese government. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996.
Tibbets's grandson Paul W. Tibbets IV graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1989, and in April 2006 became commander of the 393d Bomb Squadron, flying the B-2 Spirit at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. The squadron was one of the two operational squadrons that had formed part of the 509th Composite Group when Tibbets commanded it. Paul Tibbets IV was promoted to brigadier general in 2014, and became Deputy Director for Nuclear Operations at the Global Operations Directorate of the United States Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. As such, he was responsible for America's strategic nuclear forces. On 5 June 2015, he assumed command of the 509th Bomb Wing.
Tibbets died in his Columbus, Ohio, home on 1 November 2007, at the age of 92. He had suffered small strokes and heart failure during his final years and had been in hospice care. He was survived by his French-born wife, Andrea, and two sons from his first marriage, Paul III and Gene as well as his son, James, from his second marriage. Tibbets had asked for no funeral or headstone, because he feared that opponents of the bombing might use it as a place of protest or destruction. In accordance with his wishes, his body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered over the English Channel; he had flown over the Channel many times during the war.
|Distinguished Service Cross|
|Legion of Merit|
|Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster|
|Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters|
|Joint Service Commendation Medal|
|Army Commendation Medal|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with "V" Device and one bronze oak leaf cluster|
|American Defense Service Medal|
|American Campaign Medal|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three service stars|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two service stars|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal with one service star|
|Air Force Longevity Service Award with a silver and oak leaf cluster|
|Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon|
Source: Ohio History Central.
The 320th Troop Carrier Squadron (320th TCS) is a former United States Air Force (USAF) unit designation. It was constituted on 17 December 1944, and later inactivated on 19 August 1946 at Roswell Army Airfield, New Mexico. The squadron was later consolidated with the 302d Transport Squadron and 302d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron by the Air Force Historical Research Agency. It was last inactivated in on 20 June 1959 at Laon-Couvron Air Base, France.
The 320th TCS is notable as a support squadron for the 509th Composite Group during World War II. It was formed as the transport unit for the 509th, and due to the highly secret nature of the group, carried all supplies and equipment for Project Silverplate Atomic Bomb activities. It also functioned as a special air transport squadron for high-ranking officers, nuclear scientists and for the group's commander, Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets to meetings concerning Silverplate. The squadron later served as a transport squadron for atomic tests in the Marshall Islands in 1946.340th Weapons Squadron
The 340th Weapons Squadron is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the USAF Weapons School. It is stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The 340th is assigned to the 57th Wing, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The mission of the squadron is to provide Boeing B-52 Stratofortress instructional flying.
On 3 February 1942, Captain Paul Tibbets (of Enola Gay fame) was given command of a new squadron that would later become the 340th Bombardment Squadron. The 340th Bomb Squadron was involved in combat missions in both the European and Mediterranean theaters from 1942 through 1945. The most notable of these were the Operation Tidal Wave raids on Hitler’s largest oil refinery in Ploiești, Romania. During the Vietnam War, B-52 crews from the 340th BS participated in the Linebacker offensives over the skies of North Vietnam. In August 1990 the 340th deployed aircrews for Operation Desert Storm.Charles Sweeney
Charles W. Sweeney (December 27, 1919 – July 16, 2004) was an officer in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II and the pilot who flew Bockscar carrying the Fat Man atomic bomb to the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Separating from active duty at the end of World War II, he later became an officer in the Massachusetts Air National Guard as the Army Air Forces transitioned to an independent United States Air Force, eventually rising to the rank of major general.Enola; or, Her fatal mistake
Enola; or, Her fatal mistake is an 1886 book written by Mary Young Ridenbaugh. It is notable for being the inspiration, indirectly, for the naming of the Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber airplane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Its commanding pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets, named the aircraft after his mother, Enola Gay Tibbets (1893–1983), who was named after the title character of Ridenbaugh's book.Enola Gay
The Enola Gay () 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.Gathering of Eagles Program
The Gathering of Eagles Program is an annual aviation event that traces its origin back to 1980, when retired Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets was invited to visit the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base to share some of his experiences with the students. Tibbetts' visit became the genesis for Gathering of Eagles. The first official Gathering of Eagles, known at the time as, "Great Moments in Aviation History," was held in 1982 when a small faculty and student group was chartered to develop an aviation heritage program. This initial cadre designed a program encouraging the study of aviation history, and the contributions of aviation pioneers. The Gathering of Eagles program at ACSC at Maxwell AFB, Alabama was started by Lt. Col. David L. McFarland in 1982, and he was the principal advisor of this program from 1982 through 2000. Each academic year, students (with rank of major) could apply and be selected to help plan this annual project, under the guidance of Lt. Col. McFarland and other faculty members. Dave McFarland personally traveled all over the world to meet and invite famous aviators to participate and be honored in the program, and his name is referenced in the annual booklet that was published for each gathering.International Order of Characters
The International Order of Characters (IOC) is an organization dedicated to improving the fields of Aviation and Aerospace. The IOC also provides financial assistance to persons and organizations in fields related to Aviation and other technology industries.List of people from Cedar Rapids, Iowa
The following is a list of notable people from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This list includes people who were born, have lived, or worked there.Manhattan Project (song)
"Manhattan Project" is a 1985 song by Canadian progressive rock band Rush, named for the WWII project that created the first atomic bomb. The song appeared on Rush's eleventh studio album Power Windows in 1985. "Manhattan Project" is the third track on the album and clocks in at 5:07. Despite not being released as a single, it did reach #10 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart.Lyricist Neil Peart read "a pile of books" about the Manhattan Project before writing the lyrics so that he had a proper understanding of what the project was really about. The song consists of four verses, addressing the following:
1) A time, during the era of World War II,
2) A man, representing J. Robert Oppenheimer and other scientists around the world who were engaged in nuclear weapons research,
3) A place, the Los Alamos facility in New Mexico at which American scientists carried out their work,
4) A man, Paul Tibbets, pilot of the bomber Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
The chorus refers to the explosion as "the big bang", in allusion to the start of a new universe following the singular event, although the absolute reference is the use of Fat Man and Little Boy, America's two nuclear bombs to bring an end to the Pacific conflict with Japan ("shot down the rising sun"), which only happened after both were dropped, repeating the theme of the verses marking when and/or where "it all began." The remaining lines refer to the start of the Atomic Age and the reactions of different segments of the global population ("the big shots," "the fools," "the hopeful," "the hopeless").NetJets
NetJets Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, is an American company that sells part ownership or shares (called fractional ownership) of private business jets. NetJets was founded in 1964 as Executive Jet Aviation. It was the first private business jet charter and aircraft management company in the world.Paul W. Tibbets IV
Paul Warfield Tibbets IV (born November 21, 1966) is a former United States Air Force brigadier general. He is the grandson of Paul W. Tibbets Jr., the pilot of the aircraft that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. He was the Deputy Director for Nuclear Operations in the Global Operations Directorate of the United States Strategic Command, where he was responsible for the nuclear mission of the nation's ballistic missile submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers. During his career he participated in Operation Allied Force in the Balkans, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and is one of the few pilots qualified to fly all three of the USAF's strategic bombers: the Rockwell B-1 Lancer, Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. In June 2015, he assumed command of the 509th Bomb Wing. In July 2017, he became Deputy Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.Straight Flush
Straight Flush was the name of a B-29 Superfortress (B-29-36-MO 44-27301, Victor number 85) that participated in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
Assigned to the 393d Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group, it was used as a weather reconnaissance plane and flew over the city before the attack to determine if conditions were favorable for a visual drop. Pilot Claude Eatherly later expressed remorse, received psychiatric hospitalization, and engaged in anti-nuclear activism, which may be the origin of urban legends that Eatherly, Enola Gay pilot Paul Tibbets, or other members of the two planes' crews went insane after the bombings.The Final Storm (Shaara novel)
The Final Storm (2011) is a historical novel by Jeff Shaara based on the Pacific Theater of World War II. It follows roughly chronologically after his European World War II trilogy ending with No Less Than Victory. It was published on May 17, 2011.
The story opens in February 1945 when an American submariner witnesses the shock of getting ambushed by two Japanese ships. The story then cuts toward late March and early April, where the novel covers the Battle of Okinawa, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the surrender of Japan. The first part of the narrative is told primarily from the viewpoints of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Private Clay Adams (brother of Jesse Adams, a character in The Rising Tide and The Steel Wave), and Japanese General Mitsuru Ushijima. The second part of the narrative is told primarily from the viewpoints of President Harry S. Truman, Colonel Paul Tibbets, and Dr. Okiro Hamishita, a doctor living near Hiroshima.Uzal Girard Ent
Uzal Girard Ent was an American Army Air Forces officer who served as the commander of the Second Air Force during World War II.Weaponry (radio program)
Weaponry was the only regularly scheduled, radio broadcast program about weapons in the United States. Devoted to military and aviation technology, history, hardware, policy, news, reviews, and analysis, from 1982-2013 Weaponry aired on WBAI radio, 99.5 FM in the New York City metropolitan area Wednesday mornings from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. A 90-day archive of the program was also available on the station's website.
Guests on the program included historians and specialists in the fields of military and aviation science, history, and technology, among them Eric Foner and Albert Nofi. Other guests included Generals William Westmoreland and Paul Tibbets, the Captain of the USS Vincennes (CG-49) following the Iran Air shoot-down, medical evacuation helicopter pilot Michael Novosel, Wake Island battle veterans, the sole survivor of Torpedo Squadron 8 at Midway.
Tom Wisker, the sole host of Weaponry throughout its production, is a member of the New York Military Affairs Symposium, and of several other military and aviation historical organizations. Wisker's particular topics of scholarly interest are the United States Army Air Forces and the Israeli Air Force.Western Military Academy
Western Military Academy was a private military preparatory school located in Alton, Illinois, in the United States. Founded in 1879, Western Military Academy closed in 1971. The campus is located in the National Register of Historic Places District (ID.78001167). The school motto was Mens Sana in Corpore Sano ("A sound mind in a sound body").