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BG Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr

BG Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr

Birth
Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, USA
Death 1 Nov 2007 (aged 92)
Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, Specifically: Ashes scattered across the English Channel
Memorial ID 22597206 · View Source
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United States World War II Army Officer. An officer in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, he was the pilot of the Boeing B-29 bomber nicknamed the "Enola Gay" which dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Born in Quincy, Illinois, he began his career as a medical student at the University of Florida before dropping out to purse his love of aviation. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1937 as a cadet, where he began his military training and career flying observation and bomber aircraft. The following year he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, finishing first in his graduating class. Shortly following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, he was promoted to the rank of Major and was assigned as commander of the 40th Squadron of the 97th Bomb Group in charge of B-17 operations. In August 1942 he participated in the first daylight bombing campaign by American forces over German occupied territories. Following a brief assignment in North Africa, he was transferred to the Boeing aircraft facility in Wichita, Kansas where he began instruction and training on the new B-29 Superfortress bomber. In September 1944 he was ordered to report to Colorado Springs where he was placed in charge of 509th bomb wing to head a top secret mission. As commander of the 509th he was given the task of organizing and hand selecting a crew to deliver the world's first atomic bomb on the mainland island of Japan. After successful crew selection, Tibbets chose Wendover Field, Utah, for training because of its isolation, the need for security, and the wide open spaces available for training. The 509th reported to Wendover for the next several months engaged in navigation training. In May 1945 Tibbets and the 509th bomb wing were transferred to the Pacific island of Tinian in the Marianas to continue training and await future orders. On July 26 the heavy cruiser "USS Indianapolis" delivered the atomic bomb to the island of Tinian minus the uranium core which was delivered by a separate B-29. In the early morning hours of August 6, 1945 the Enola Gay piloted by Tibbets began its long flight to the Japanese mainland. At 8:15 a.m. local time the bomber dropped a single 9,000 pound bomb with the equivalent explosive yield of 20,000 tons of TNT on the city of Hiroshima. The initial blast killed an estimated 65 to 80 thousand Japanese. Three days later a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, successfully bringing the Second World War to a close. Following the war Tibbets remained in the service advancing to the rank of Brigadier General before retiring from the military in 1966. His notable service awards include the Distinguished Service and Distinguished Flying Cross Medals, the Legion of Merit Medal, the European Campaign Medal, the American Service Defense Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the American Campaign Medal. Following his military service he joined Executive Jet Aviation in 1970 where he served in various capacities. He eventually rose to the position of Chairman of the Board in 1982 before retiring from the company in 1985. He died at his Columbus, Ohio home at the age of 92.

Bio by: Nils M. Solsvik Jr.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: A.J.
  • Added: 1 Nov 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22597206
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for BG Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr (23 Feb 1915–1 Nov 2007), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22597206, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea, who reports a Ashes scattered across the English Channel.