General Paul Tibbets, Pilot Of The Enola Gay, Dies At 92November 01, 2007 11:24 Brigadier General Paul Tibbets Jr., the commander and pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in the final days of World War II, died Thursday at his home in Columbus, Ohio. He was 92. His death was announced by a friend, Gerry Newhouse, who said Tibbets had been in decline with a variety of ailments. Newhouse said Tibbets had requested that there be no funeral or headstone, fearing it would give his detractors a place to protest.
In the hours before dawn on Aug. 6, 1945, the Enola Gay lifted off from the island of Tinian carrying a uranium atomic bomb assembled under extraordinary secrecy in the vast endeavor known as the Manhattan Project.
Six and a half hours later, under clear skies, Tibbets, who was then a colonel in the Army Air Forces, guided the four-engine plane he had named in honor of his mother toward the bomb's aiming point, the T-shaped Aioi Bridge in the center of Hiroshima, the site of an important Japanese army headquarters.
At 8:15 a.m. local time, the bomb known to its creators as Little Boy dropped free at an altitude of 31,000 feet. Forty-three seconds later, at 1,890 feet above ground zero, it exploded in a nuclear inferno that left tens of thousands dead and dying and turned much of Hiroshima, a city of some 250,000 at the time, into a scorched ruin.
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