Passing of Hiroshima Bomber Paul Tibbets

1 Nov 2007

When Colonel Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. of US XX Air Force 509th Composite Bombardment Group lifted off from Tinian Island of the Mariana Islands, he knew very well what his cargo, "Little Boy", could do. What he did not know was how destructive the bomb would be.

"A bright light filled the plane. The first shockwave hit us. We were eleven and a half miles slant range from the atomic explosion but the whole airplane cracked and crinkled from the blast.... We turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden by that awful cloud... mushrooming, terrible and incredibly tall."

Although Tibbets was disturbed by the 140,000 lives lost on 6 Aug 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan, until today when he passed away in his home in Columbus, Ohio, United States, he had no regrets. "Thousands of former soldiers and military family members have expressed a particularly touching and personal gratitude suggesting that they might not be alive today had it been necessary to resort to an invasion of the Japanese home islands to end the fighting", said Tibbets on the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

Obeying Tibbets' request, his family would hold no funeral nor putting up any headstone, so that Tibbets' final resting place would not be used by protesters.

For more info:

WW2DB: Paul Tibbets
WW2DB: Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The Washington Post: Paul Tibbets Jr.; Piloted Plane That Dropped First Atom Bomb

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. dave says:
7 Nov 2007 07:06:04 AM

I think it was not necessary to use the atomic bomb on the japanese, historical records prove that tokyo was 95%destroyed as were all other industrial cities, there were other options, a blockade would have been effective, we set a precedent by using a nuke,we shall reap what we sow someday...I fear.I wonder how much prejudice was involved in th decision to use a nuke, Truman was evil.

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