View Full Version : Another Hero Passes

11-01-2007, 10:24 AM
Full article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21578185/
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Paul Tibbets, who piloted the B-29 bomber Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Thursday. He was 92 and insisted almost to his dying day that he had no regrets about the mission and slept just fine at night.

Tibbets died at his Columbus home, said Gerry Newhouse, a longtime friend. He suffered from a variety of health problems and had been in decline for two months.

Tibbets had requested no funeral and no headstone, fearing it would provide his detractors with a place to protest, Newhouse said.
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Tibbets' historic mission in the plane named for his mother marked the beginning of the end of World War II and eliminated the need for what military planners feared would have been an extraordinarily bloody invasion of Japan. It was the first use of a nuclear weapon in wartime.

The plane and its crew of 14 dropped the five-ton "Little Boy"¯ bomb on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945. The blast killed 70,000 to 100,000 people and injured countless others.

Three days later, the United States dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing an estimated 40,000 people. Tibbets did not fly in that mission. The Japanese surrendered a few days later, ending the war.

'We had feelings'
"I knew when I got the assignment it was going to be an emotional thing,"¯ Tibbets told The Columbus Dispatch for a story on Aug. 6, 2005, the 60th anniversary of the bomb. "We had feelings, but we had to put them in the background. We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible."¯

Tibbets, then a 30-year-old colonel, never expressed regret over his role. He said it was his patriotic duty and the right thing to do.

"I'm not proud that I killed 80,000 people, but I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it and have it work as perfectly as it did,"¯ he said in a 1975 interview.

"You've got to take stock and assess the situation at that time. We were at war. ... You use anything at your disposal."¯

He added: "I sleep clearly every night."¯

Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr. was born Feb. 23, 1915, in Quincy, Ill., and spent most of his boyhood in Miami.

He was a student at the University of Cincinnati's medical school when he decided to withdraw in 1937 to enlist in the Army Air Corps.

Dogged by suicide rumors
After the war, Tibbets said in 2005, he was dogged by rumors claiming he was in prison or had committed suicide.

"They said I was crazy, said I was a drunkard, in and out of institutions,"¯ he said. "At the time, I was running the National Crisis Center at the Pentagon."¯

Tibbets retired from the Air Force as a brigadier general in 1966. He later moved to Columbus, where he ran an air taxi service until he retired in 1985.

But his role in the bombing brought him fame "” and infamy "” throughout his life.

In 1976, he was criticized for re-enacting the bombing during an appearance at a Harlingen, Texas, air show. As he flew a B-29 Superfortress over the show, a bomb set off on the runway below created a mushroom cloud.

He said the display "was not intended to insult anybody,"¯ but the Japanese were outraged. The U.S. government later issued a formal apology.

Tibbets again defended the bombing in 1995, when an outcry erupted over a planned 50th anniversary exhibit of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Institution.

The museum had planned to mount an exhibit that would have examined the context of the bombing, including the discussion within the Truman administration of whether to use the bomb, the rejection of a demonstration bombing and the selection of the target.

Called exhibit an 'insult'
Veterans groups objected that it paid too much attention to Japan's suffering and too little to Japan's brutality during and before World War II, and that it underestimated the number of Americans who would have perished in an invasion.

They said the bombing of Japan was an unmitigated blessing for the United States and its fighting men and the exhibit should say so.

Tibbets denounced it as "a damn big insult."¯

The museum changed its plan, and agreed to display the fuselage of the Enola Gay without commentary, context or analysis.

He told the Dispatch in 2005 he wanted his ashes scattered over the English Channel, where he loved to fly during the war.

11-01-2007, 10:34 AM
Salute General Tibbets.


11-01-2007, 10:42 AM
A fine pilot and officer, and a man with undoubted historical significance.

But "hero"?

11-01-2007, 10:44 AM
i must say he's quite a man to not regret anything
but yea i believe that the dropping saved alot of american and Japanese lives...More than it killed.


11-01-2007, 11:07 AM
=SALUTE= Sir, R.I.P.

11-01-2007, 11:49 AM
Originally posted by general_kalle:
i must say he's quite a man to not regret anything
but yea i believe that the dropping saved alot of american and Japanese lives...More than it killed.



though i'll admit that saving Japanese lives probaly wasnt a factor for him. non the less his mission did have that effect. an invasion or prolonged blockcade of japan would of been a unmitigated disaster for the japanese.

not to mention the american lives his mission saved.

this alone is enough to label him a hero.

imo re-enacting the bombing was in poor taste however.

im also old enough to remember those rumors about him, i guess he was made of sterner stuff than some people thought.

11-01-2007, 12:02 PM
S! rest in peace

11-01-2007, 12:08 PM

11-01-2007, 12:15 PM
R.I.P. Salute to another we owe so much too.

Edit: I best keep my mouth shut.

Ok so I guess, lets try real hard to keep this from going haywire, and just Salute the Man and move along without starting a small war here, among ourselves.

11-01-2007, 12:22 PM
One of the finest representatives of the generation in the U.S. which did the necessary without complaining and accepted the job and did it with remarkable humility. He took a lot of heat from my generation, but he never fell into our perennial vices incoherence, irrationalism, and hysteria. I will miss not having him around as a corrective to the nonsense said about the war by my contemporaries.

TgD Thunderbolt56
11-01-2007, 12:28 PM
I met him and I'm also proud to say he was personal friends with my Grandfather. They met on Tinian and stayed in contact with each other until my Grandfather passed in 1999.


11-01-2007, 12:28 PM
I will say S! to another soldier who has passed.That is all.

11-01-2007, 12:39 PM
May God Bless! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

11-01-2007, 12:55 PM

Had DOWNFALL gone ahead I might well not be here...

11-01-2007, 02:28 PM
Sleep well.


11-01-2007, 03:06 PM
~S~! to the man who took part in a history changing moment. Theres an old saying, "Dont shoot the messenger"

-HH- Beebop
11-01-2007, 03:24 PM
SALUTE General!
He lived with the terrible burden of what the bomb had done while understanding how many lives it saved. For that he paid a mighty due. May he now rest in peace.

"Oh I Have Slipped
The Surly Bonds of Earth...
Put Out My Hand
And Touched the Face of God"
-John Gillespie Magee

11-01-2007, 04:00 PM
S! Rest in Peace

11-01-2007, 04:12 PM
He killed more than 140.000 people - what a hero ...

I'm sure he would have been the first to say he wasn't a hero but not for the reason that you insinuate sitting in your comfortable free world because of the efforts of men greater than you. The man was part of a team responsible for winning a war against barbarism. That war against Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany had to be won at all costs or we would be living in a much darker and crueler world. Once engaged in the conflict the job of the commander in chief, Truman, was to defeat the enemy while minimizing the loss of life on our own side. If that means nuking 100,000 Japanese civilians to save the life of a single US soldier you do it.

11-01-2007, 04:31 PM

I salute you sir. May your next flight be peaceful.

They are all going away so fast, I am watching my father's generation evaporate before my eyes.


It's so damn sad.

11-01-2007, 05:21 PM
S! Rest in Peace


11-01-2007, 05:27 PM

11-01-2007, 05:37 PM
A Great Loss. <S>

Thanks Steve, sorry bout that!

11-01-2007, 05:37 PM
~!S!~ RIP...

I deleted every single post and references thereto in this thread that was contrary to the spirit of the thread save one.. and that one only because it was a post by another mod and he can edit it himself if he wants...

Keep it straight or don't bother posting. Keep your politics and second guessing to yourself.

11-01-2007, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by Bearcat99:

I deleted every single post and references thereto in this thread that was contrary to the spirit of the thread save one.. and that one only because it was a post by another mod and he can edit it himself if he wants...

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

As for Tibbets, and keeping it straight, I cannot mourn his passing as regardless of all the potential arguments (about the bombing) he caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The best I can say is that he had the courage to do what he had to do, so rest in peace.

11-01-2007, 05:44 PM
=Salute= Sir! Blue Skies, safe journey.

11-01-2007, 08:21 PM
Mrs. Choctaw broke this very sad news to me today. She and I met him several times in the past. Another hero is gone and will be greatly missed.

11-01-2007, 08:35 PM
Anyone may freely quote me as saying that "ANY person who fights, or helps to combat tyranny and/or oppression is a hero". Tibbets and so many others from many wars and conflicts are, in my eyes, heroes.

11-01-2007, 08:37 PM
What amazes me is how it's the soldier, sailor, and airmen who always get the blame. He didn't order the program, nor issue the operational directives. Simply a combat pilot implementing the war plan of his nation the best he knew how.

How is it the political leadership always gets a free pass on these issues.

You got to admire him and the crews, going into hostile airspace alone, they put their lives on the line. Unlike the typical leaders who so easily wash their hands of these type of incidents.

11-01-2007, 09:37 PM
Since my Late Dad was in the occupation force and the Japanese surrendered a few weeks after his 18th b-day when he enlisted, I can only assume that I may very well not be here if not for the General's willingness to carry such a huge burden. My Dad always considered him a hero for that, along with President Truman.

Another one of the guys who was there when he was needed has left us. Thank you General for ensuring that I could exist.

11-02-2007, 02:00 AM
May he lie in peace and fly on forever. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

-HH- Beebop
11-02-2007, 10:52 AM
Originally posted by Bearcat99:
~!S!~ RIP...

I deleted every single post and references thereto in this thread that was contrary to the spirit of the thread save one.. and that one only because it was a post by another mod and he can edit it himself if he wants...

Keep it straight or don't bother posting. Keep your politics and second guessing to yourself.

Thank you Sir.

11-02-2007, 11:01 AM
Not a man I would call a hero at all. Droppig the first atomic bomb in history may have been nesseary or not, but certainly it was not a heroic deed to kill mostly women, children and old men, in many cases over making thems uffer over decades.

But I recon he did his job, a job that had to be done in the eyes of his superiours, and he had to live with that for the rest of his life. He stood up for what he believed in, and that earns him my respect and an S! nevertheless. Not for beeing a hero, but for beeing man who did what he had to do.

11-02-2007, 03:11 PM
The spirit of this thread is good, but as we can all see from the above, it is inherently bad.

I'm sad to hear this great man passed, but I'd just as soon have this thread locked because there's a number of people who clearly can't keep their fingers off the keyboard.

11-02-2007, 03:33 PM
S! [Paul Tibbets]

11-02-2007, 04:41 PM
I think any man, who goes forth into the uninmaginable fear of doing something at great personal risk, Because it's his duty or job or just because it's the right thing to do,
is a Hero.
That nameless soul who was first out the ramp at Normandy, The One who stood their ground while all around him fell. The first to go up the stairs at ground zero. Even one who dropped the most devastating Bomb to save the lives of all those who would be slaughtered had he not.
That still says Hero to Me.

11-02-2007, 08:04 PM
~S~ and Godspeed....

11-11-2007, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by Viper2005_:

Had DOWNFALL gone ahead I might well not be here...

Same here, and nearly all my cousins etc.

"The best B-29 pilot that ever flew" Gen Curtiss Lemay.

He handeled the whole thing like a pro.

He will be missed.


11-11-2007, 07:02 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif <S>!! God bless Him!!