All Gone

At 08:15:15L on 06 August 1945, the Enola Gay, dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima, and many things changed. Strangely, other than being the first use of an atomic weapon in war, there was actually little new about it. It wasn’t the deadliest raid of the war, that likely was the Tokyo fire raid, or perhaps the joint USAAF/RAF raids on Dresden, nor was it the first time an atomic weapon went off, that was Trinity, we spoke of that the other day. It was likely the most efficient, for whatever that is worth.

What Hiroshima did (along with Nagasaki, a few days later) was shock Japan, and perhaps give the Emperor the excuse he needed to end the war. Whatever the cause, the war did end, without the invasion of Japan that was reckoned would cost one million American casualties, at least.

But the reason I mention this today is that the crew of Enola Gay is all gone now. Theodore “Dutch” van Cleef, the crew’s Navigator, died the other day, and so BGEN Tibbetts’ crew have all passed now.

All gone: The crew of the Enola Gay is debriefed in Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands after returning from their mission over Hiroshima, Japan. At foreground left, seated at the corner of the table, is Capt. Theodore Van Kirk, navigaton. He died Monday at 93 Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2710104/Last-crew-member-Enola-Gay-dies-Georgia.html#ixzz399MlAZCz Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

One of the things that I always recall about these men, who remained friends, and got together all their lives, was just how committed they were to doing it right. Tibbets reportedly, for the rest of his life, gave van Cleef grief because they dropped the bomb 15 seconds late. On a mission of thousands of miles over open, enemy held, ocean. That was how the war was won, discipline, duty, and attention to detail. We succeed in great measure according to how well we learn that lesson. We also need to learn, as they knew, that the crew is greater than the sum of its parts, as well. There are other lessons from them as well.

But for the moment let’s just remember, and commemorate the passing, of a man who helped to save millions of lives. Although I do note that he, like many others, wished we could put this particular genie, back into the bottle. I honor that as well.

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

18 Responses to All Gone

  1. They sure chose the right man and pilot for this mission, with Col. Paul Tibbets! The Enola Gay being named after Tibbets mother! May that generation RIP, and especially all those who died in WW II.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enola_Gay

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    • NEO says:

      They surely did.

      Amen!

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      • Yes, I have heard about Tibbet’s and Van Kirk being at odds after the bombing, but Tibbet’s was a military man toward perfection, and never blinked about dropping the first Atomic Bomb! I am one of those that believes it actually saved lives, without the need to invade the homeland of Japan! This generation from WW II gave us the freedom we still enjoy! Both Japan and Germany are still effected by that War, i.e. the shape and aspects of both countries!

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        • NEO says:

          I have the impression that, at least after the war, it was mostly jocular. Bob Greene wrote about it in his “Duty” which I suspect made him rethink a few things. He found out that his father, an infantry major, was in the process of preparing to tranship for CORONET, and was convinced that he would die. He (MAJ Greene) almost considered the rest of his life a gift from BGEN (then COL) Tibbets. His liking for Tibbets stood out in nearly every line of that book.

          So often our perceptions change when we get a personal insight on events, I had a few uncles that were scheduled for that invasion as well, maybe that’s one of the reasons I grew up wanting to fly bombers.

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        • http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2000/may/25/enola-gay-crew-member-jeppson-remembers-famed-flig/

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        • NEO says:

          Outstanding article, thanks!

          And yes, it corroborates exactly with what I’ve always heard both about the aircrew and other service members. It’s sad that their heroic, yet mundane role has become so obscured by politics of the worst sort.

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        • Here is a very insightful article, and one few people really ever see or hear, about the Second and Last Atomic Bombing on of course Nagasaki, Japan. …

          http://www.historynet.com/world-war-ii-second-atomic-bomb-that-ended-the-war.htm

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        • NEO says:

          Incidentally, all of these B-29s were built in the Boeing plant, at Fort Crook, which is now Offutt AFB, the headquarters of SAC, and now Strategic Command. The plains are littered with really good airports and gunnery and bombing ranges from training the bomber crews.

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        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Force_Global_Strike_Command

          As an old Recon and Intell officer (RMC), I love the study of SAC and now the US Air Force Global Strike Command! Long may it live and protect!

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        • NEO says:

          Seen this
          SAC will be Back

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  2. the unit says:

    Picture of men in Quonset Hut brought back memories. Not of my service of course as before my time, but of the time and time past. I learned to drive at abandoned Gulfport Field, up and down the streets between the Quonset Huts and all around. Also some of them were moved to sites for Boy Scouts and other groups.
    http://photos.gulflive.com/photogallery/2012/09/gulfport_field_12.html
    One of many places where Americans joined together to win and not to just keep from losing.
    Those huts were there for years, there may even be a street now near the commercial airport that Gulfport Field became that could still have some. West side mostly swamp, east side became residential, but a street or two right next to runways didn’t and became commercial, so maybe a hut remains.
    Yep. God Bless all in heaven who served and died, then any yesterday and today and even yet tomorrow on their way to come to Beulah Land.
    Hope the Blessing makes sense. ?

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    • NEO says:

      Did to me, anyway. We have a couple of Quonsets for our shop, great buildings (and it’s nice to know we can tear them down and haul them around in a Gooneybird if we have to 🙂

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      • the unit says:

        Yeah. You know I don’t know if it was on this site or somewhere else as I googled Quonset Huts, as I tried to be sure I spelled Quonset correctly. It was a long time ago you know.
        But anyway a picture I saw showed a Quonset Hut picked up and moved by helicopter intact.
        The real “Yes we can.” 🙂

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        • NEO says:

          if we were to move them a reasonable distance, we’d consider that. I’ll bet those 70 odd year bolts (and their square nuts) are pretty rusty by now. 🙂

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        • the unit says:

          Square nuts. Interesting. I just took apart a cast iron single burner gas burner to clean. It was dad’s and probably older than 50 years. Getting ready for hurricane season. It good for making coffee and frying spam after a storm. Used for many storms.
          Vise Grips did a good job holding square nuts. Was able to unscrew lots of bolts. What didn’t give I twisted off. Had to put back together with what’s available now at hardware stores and big box. Works great, should make do for what I’ll ever need now. 🙂

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        • NEO says:

          Yep. it does work better with out the right tools, when square one are used. Last time I checked you could still get square one, from Fastenal and such, rarely in the boxes though. 🙂

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  3. Mrs. Enola Gay lived in Opa Locka which is a municipality here in Miami Dade County.

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    • NEO says:

      I didn’t know that but, am not overly surprised. Lot’s of Ohio folks retired down there, can’t say I blame them.

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