Friday, November 2, 2007

The Enola Gay

You may have noticed that yesterday (Nov. 1st), Paul W. Tibbets died. Tibbets was the captain of the Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber that left Tinian island in the Pacific on August 6th, 1945 and delivered the 'Little Boy' atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. Tibbets stated in 1975, "I sleep clearly every night," and maintained that if given the same assignment, he'd do it over again without question.

While Tibbets organized, planned, and flew the mission, there were 11 other men on board the Enola Gay that day. In particular, Thomas Ferebee was the bombadier - when all is said and done, this guy was the one who actually pulled the trigger on the first atomic bomb. Think about being asked to do that.

Robert A. Lewis was the plane's regular commander, and served as the co-pilot on the Hiroshima mission. Theodore Van Kirk was the navigator, William Parsons was the weaponeer (bomb mechanic), Jacob Beeser worked the radio countermeasures (and fulfilled the same role during the Nagasaki mission, the only man to fly both). Morris Jeppson was the assistant weaponeer, George Caron was the tail gunner, Wyatt Duzenberry was the flight engineer, Joe Stiborik was the radar operator, Robert Shumard was the assistant flight engineer, and Richard Nelson was the radio operator.