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Paul Tibbets and Duty

Paul Tibbets

After receiving basic flight training at Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas in 1937, Tibbets quickly rose through the ranks to become commanding officer of the 340th Bombardment Squadron of the 97th Bombardment Group. After leading the first American daylight heavy bomber mission in Occupied France in August 1942, Tibbets was selected to fly Major General Mark W. Clark from Polebook to Gibraltar in preparation for Operation Torch, the allied invasion of North Africa. A few weeks later, Tibbets flew the Supreme Allied Commander, Lieutenant General Dwight D. Eisenhower, to Gibraltar. Tibbets quickly earned a reputation as one of the best pilots in the Army Air Force.

Paul Tibbets in New Mexico

Tibbets returned to the United States to help with the development of the B-29 Superfortress bomber. On September 1, 1944, Tibbets met with Lt. Col. John Lansdale, Captain William S. Parsons, and Norman F. Ramsey, who briefed him about the Manhattan Project. Tibbets, who had accumulated more flying time on the B-29 than any other pilot in the Air Force, was selected to lead the 509th Composite Group, a fully self-contained organization of about 1,800 hand-picked men that would be responsible for dropping the first atomic bomb on Japan.

Paul Tibbets

From September 1944 until May 1945, Tibbets and the 509th Composite Group trained extensively at Wendover Air Force Base in Wendover, Utah. Flight crews practiced dropping large “dummy” bombs modeled after the shape and size of the atomic bombs in order to prepare for their ultimate mission in Japan.

In late May 1945, the 509th was transferred to Tinian Island in the South Pacific to await final orders. On August 5, 1945 Tibbets formally named his B-29 Enola Gay after his mother. At 02:45 the next day, Tibbets and his flight crew aboard the Enola Gay departed North Field for Hiroshima. At 08:15 local time, they dropped the atomic bomb, code-named “Little Boy,” over Hiroshima.

The crew of the “Enola Gay”

Tibbets was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by Major General Carl Spaatz immediately after landing on Tinian. When news of the successful mission appeared in American newspapers the next day, Tibbets and his family became instant celebrities. To supporters, Tibbets became known as a national hero who ended the war with Japan; to his detractors, he was a war criminal responsible for the deaths of many thousands of Japanese civilians. Tibbets remains a polarizing figure to this day.

The book, “Duty”, by Bob Green, is a must read  Duty is the story of three lives connected by history, proximity, and blood; indeed, it is many stories, intimate and achingly personal as well as deeply historic. In one soldier’s memory of a mission that transformed the world—and in a son’s last attempt to grasp his father’s ingrained sense of honor and duty—lies a powerful tribute to the ordinary heroes of an extraordinary time in American life.

No regrets … Colonel Paul Tibbets, standing.

What Greene came away with is found history and found poetry—a profoundly moving work that offers a vividly new perspective on responsibility, empathy, and love. It is an exploration of and response to the concept of duty as it once was and always should be: quiet and from the heart. On every page you can hear the whisper of a generation and its children bidding each other farewell.

Warning leaflet dropped on 14 Japanese cities

“TO THE JAPANESE PEOPLE: America asks that you take immediate heed of what we say on this leaflet. We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate.” (American leaflet warning Japan to surrender)

With the end of the war in 1945, Tibbets’ organization was transferred to what is now Walker Air Force Base, Roswell, N.M., and remained there until August 1946. It was during this period that the Operation Crossroads took place, with Tibbets participating as technical adviser to the Air Force commander. He was then assigned to the Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from which he graduated in 1947. His next assignment was to the Directorate of Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, where he subsequently served as director of the Strategic Air Division.

BG Paul Tibbets

Brigadier General Paul W. Tibbets Jr. retired from the United States Air Force in 1966. He died in 2007, his ashes were scattered at sea. For more on Tibbets, see Manhattan Project Spotlight: Paul Tibbets. To watch his first-person account of the Hiroshima mission, click here.

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Leaflet dropped on Nagasaki

9 August, ‘Bock’s Car’ dropped the next atomic bomb, “Fat Man,” which was nicknamed after Churchill or Sidney Greenstreet’s character in “The Maltese Falcon,” there are two conflicting stories. The bomb killed 80,000 people. This second bomb was different in that it was a spherical plutonium missile, ten feet long and five feet in diameter. The plane made three unsuccessful runs over the city of Kokura, but due to the lack of visibility, they went on to Nagasaki.  Jake Beser, an electronics specialist, was the only crew member to make both atomic bomb runs.

From the collection of images taken by Yosuke Yamahata, a Japanese military photographer.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stellla Bender – Steubenville, OH; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Ian Cowan – Christchurch, NZ; NZ Army # 635101, WWII, J Force

Raymond Evans – Naashville, TN; US Army, WWII

Wilbur Grippen Jr. (99) – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII

Albert Hill – Nampa, ID; US Army, WWII, CBI

Floyd Kennedy – Tonasket, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 674/11th Airborne Division, Medical Corps (Ret. 21 y.)

Louis Mueller – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII

Clinton Phalen Sr. – Foster City, MI; US Navy, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

Raymond Shannon – Worchester, MA; US Air Force, Korea

Max Thomas – Calhoun, GA; US Army, WWII

 

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Personal Note – 

GP Cox had the pleasure – or should I say ‘best experience ever’ yesterday as I boarded a B-17 Flying Fortress.  If anyone has a chance to take a flight – DO IT!!

The Wings of Freedom Tour of the Collins Foundation is coming to a city near you!!  Tell them Pacific Paratrooper sent you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I was unable to download any of my videos, Pierre Lagace did this for me!  Actually for 6 years he has been helping me out – m Mentor!

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Truman Diary – July 1945

 

Churchill – Truman – Stalin

From: The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

Entry:

25 Jul 1945

We met at 11 A.M. today. [That is Stalin, Churchill and the U.S. President.  Clement Attlee was also there.] But I had a most important session with Lord Mountbatten & General Marshall before that. We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world.  It may be the fire destruction prophesied in the Euphrates Valley Era, after Noah and his fabulous Ark.

Anyway we think we have found the way to cause a disintegration of the atom.  An experiment in the New Mexican desert was startling – to put it mildly. Thirteen pounds of the explosive caused the complete disintegration of a steel tower 60 feet high, created a crater 6 feet deep and 1200 feet in diameter, knocked over a steel tower 1/2 mile away and knocked men down 10,000 yards away. The explosion was visible for more than 200 miles and audible for 40 miles and more.

This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop this terrible bomb on the old Capitol or the new.

He & I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and save lives. I’m sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler’s crowd or Stalin’s did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.

At 10:15 I had Gen. Marshall come in and discuss with me the tactical and political situation. He is a level headed man – so is Mountbatten.

Gen. George Marshall, US Army Chief of Staff and Gen. Henry ‘Hap’ Arnold, Commanding General US Army Air Corps (NARA pic)

At the conference Poland and the Bolsheviki land grant came up. Russia liked herself to a slice of Poland and gave Poland a nice slice of Germany taking also a good slice of East Prussia for herself. Poland has moved in up to the Oder and the west Niesse, taking Stettin and Silesia as a fact accomplished. My position is that according to commitments made at Yalta by my predecessor Germany was to be divided into four occupation zones, one each for Britain, Russia and France and the U.S. If Russia chooses to allow Poland to occupy a part of her zone I am agreeable but title to territory cannot and will not be settled here. For the fourth time I’ve stated my position and explained that territorial sessions had to be made by treaty and ratified by the Senate.

We discussed reparations and movement of populations from East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy and elsewhere. Churchill said Maisky had so defined war booty as to include the Russi German fleet and Merchant Marine. It was a bomb shell and sort of paralyzed the Ruskies, but it has a lot of merit.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Potsdam Political Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Brownsey – TX; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Roger Cannon Jr. – UT; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea

Code talkers’ Monument

Edward Dietsch – Towson, MD; US Army, WWII, ETO, 12th Armored Division, Medic

James Hampton – Springfield, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Fraser (DD-607)

Ronnie Knopp – WY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Interpreter

Conway Lewis – Memphis, TN; USMC, WWII, Purple Heart / US Army, Korea, OCS Interpreter

John Montgomery – Franklin, KY; US Army, WWII

Leonard Nace – Quakerstown, PA; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class

Harry Preston = Kitchener, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII, Galt Highland Light Infantry

Gary White – Miami, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 2 Bronze Stars

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The Bomb Babysitter

Donald Hornig

Donald Hornig was a year out of graduate school when he received a mysterious job offer.  No one would even tell him what or even where the job was, so he declined – until the President of Harvard University called and convinced him to take it.

Soon after, Hornig bought an old car and headed for Los Alamos, New Mexico.   He would become one of the youngest leaders of the team that developed the first atomic bomb and the last surviving witness of the detonation on July 16, 1945.

Albert Einstein & Julius Robert Oppenheimer

Born in Milwaukee, Hornig “was the first in his family to go to college,” said the Associated Press.  He studied physical chemistry at Harvard, earning his Doctorate in 1943.  In Los Alamos, the head of the Manhattan Project, J. Robert Oppenheimer, gave him the job of developing the firing unit that triggered the detonation.


The Trinity tower. “At 9 p.m., I climbed the 100-foot tower to the top, where I baby-sat the live bomb,” Dr. Hornig recalled in a 2005 NPR interview. Credit Los Alamos National Laboratory

On the eve of the blast, Hornig “was assigned another task,” said The Washington Post.  Oppenheimer decided that someone should be at the site to babysit the bomb, he later remembered.

As lighting and thundered raged outside, Hornig sat by the bomb reading a book of humorous essays.  In the morning, “he took his place beside Oppenheimer in a control room more than 5 miles away.”

When the bomb exploded, at 5:29:45 a.m., Hornig recalled, “My first reaction, having not slept for 48 hours, was, ‘Boy am I tired.’  My second was, We sure opened a can of worms.”  He later described the massive orange fireball as, “one of the most aesthetically beautiful things I have ever seen.”

Hornig went on to teach at Brown and Princeton universities, said the New York Times, before becoming science adviser to President Lyndon Johnson.  “Working for Johnson was reportedly not easy; the president disdained scientists because many of them opposed the Vietnam War.

Hornig was named president of Brown University in 1970, where his budget cuts restored the institution’s finances.  Upon his resignation in 1976, he described his tenure as “bittersweet.”    He returned to Harvard and to teaching to end his career.

Donald Hornig was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 17 March 1920 and the world lost him on 21 January 2013 in Providence, Rhode Island.

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Military HALLOWEEN Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence Brown – Yale, OK; US Navy, WWII & Korea, submarine service

Jesus Cepeda – Lawrenceville, GA; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor

Adrian Dunt – Howard County, IA; US Army Air Corps, Japan Occupation, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Frear – Whangamata, NZ; NZEF # 76618, WWII

Robert Kost – Williamsport, PA; US Navy, WWII, boat mechanic

Maurice McCarthy – WV; US Merchant Marine, WWII, ETO / US Navy

Ethel Orr – VT & HI; US Army WAC, WWII, PTO, Operating nurse

James Slape – Morehead City, NC; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt., KIA

Henry Suverkrup – Dubuque, IA; US Navy, WWII, USS Saratoga

Charlie Wolfers – Canon City, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, communications

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Last Crew Member of Enola Gay Dies in Georgia

As this site begins to retell the story of WWII – A part of history passes….

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