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Thread: Last Living Crew Member of Enola Gay dies at age 93

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mark's Avatar
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    Default Last Living Crew Member of Enola Gay dies at age 93

    ATLANTA The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, hastening the end of World War II and forcing the world into the atomic age, has died in Georgia.

    Theodore VanKirk, also known as "Dutch," died Monday of natural causes at the retirement home where he lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, his son Tom VanKirk said. He was 93.

    VanKirk flew nearly 60 bombing missions, but it was a single mission in the Pacific that secured him a place in history. He was 24 years old when he served as navigator on the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb deployed in wartime over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

    He was teamed with pilot Paul Tibbets and bombardier Tom Ferebee in Tibbets' fledgling 509th Composite Bomb Group for Special Mission No. 13.

    The mission went perfectly, VanKirk told The Associated Press in a 2005 interview. He guided the bomber through the night sky, just 15 seconds behind schedule, he said. As the 9,000-pound bomb nicknamed "Little Boy" fell toward the sleeping city, he and his crewmates hoped to escape with their lives.

    They didn't know whether the bomb would actually work and, if it did, whether its shockwaves would rip their plane to shreds. They counted -- one thousand one, one thousand two -- reaching the 43 seconds they'd been told it would take for detonation and heard nothing.

    "I think everybody in the plane concluded it was a dud. It seemed a lot longer than 43 seconds," VanKirk recalled.

    Then came a bright flash. Then a shockwave. Then another shockwave.

    The blast and its aftereffects killed 140,000 in Hiroshima.

    Last living crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia at age 93 | Fox News

    Americas greatest generation is fading. God bless them all.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last Living Crew Member of Enola Gay dies at age 93

    The Enola Gay is on display at Udvar Hazeey center at Dulles airport. UULC has some photos of it.

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    Senior Member daman1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last Living Crew Member of Enola Gay dies at age 93

    The generation raised in the Depression era knew the meaning of survival. The value of hard work and money earned. They understood the threat of going broke and hungry. Fighting for what's right. Four generations later and what they accomplished still hasn't been torn down. I wander how many more generations will get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
    Mark likes this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member UULC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last Living Crew Member of Enola Gay dies at age 93

    Enola Gay photos
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img_0645.jpg   img_0639.jpg   img_0640.jpg   img_0641.jpg   img_0642.jpg  

    img_0643.jpg   img_0644.jpg   img_0646.jpg   img_0647.jpg   img_0648.jpg  

    Mke, Mark and daman1 like this.

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