Articles

Boxobituaries: General Paul Tibbets, in charge of Enola Gay dies at the age of 92.

In Celebrities, Cold War, History, obituaries on November 3, 2007 by Editor Z

General Paul Tibbets, the man who flew the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb,which marked the end of the second World War, has died at the age of 92 at his residence in Ohio Thursday.

In his twenties, like so many men his age, he served his country valiantly in World War II. At the age of 29, he was summoned to drop the first atomic bomb on the japanese city of Hiroshima, America and the world would change forever with the thundering blast, as well as the smoke and the fire that devoured the Japanese city.

Washington Post:

In late 1944 then Col Tibbets was selected–for the top secret bombing mission over Japan. The culmination of the Manhattan Project— because of the plotting skill he showed early in the war during bombing runs over Europe and North Africa.

The Enola Gay, a B-29 Super fortress he named after his mother, took off from Tinan island, near the Pacific island of Guam, in the pre-dawn hours of August 6, 1945. The crew carried an atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy”, that devastated Hiroshima, a city chosen because it was a military center and had no prisoner of war camps.

Before the bombing, Gen Tibbets had meetings with J Robert Oppenheimer and other scientists and military leaders working on the Manhattan Project. But he said that he had no clear idea of the bomb’s potential besides the description that it would explode with the force of 20,000 tons of dynamite, a concept he could only vaguely grasp.

He later said of the blast: “If Dante had been with us on the plane he would have been terrified. The city we had seen so clearly in the sunlight a few minutes before was now an ugly smudge. It had completely disappeared under this awful blanket of smoke and fire.”

Tibbets continued to work in areas related to the military until he retired in 1967.

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