I was surfing the net this afternoon and came across the sad information that Paul Tibbets had died. For those of who whom are historically challenged, Paul Tibbets was the commander and pilot of the Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in the closing days of World War 2.
Below is an excellent post I found about Tibbets on the SonicBomb website.
Paul Tibbets, the commander of the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, has died at the age of 92 after several months of failing health. Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr died at his home in Columbus, Ohio..
The five-ton "Little Boy" bomb was dropped on the morning of 6 August 1945, killing about 140,000 Japanese, with many dying later from injury and disease.
Gen Tibbets had asked for no funeral nor headstone as he feared opponents of the bombing may use it as a place of protest, the friend, Gerry Newhouse, said.
On the 60th anniversary of the bombing, the three surviving crew members of the Enola Gay said they had "no regrets".
On the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, the surviving members of the Enola Gay crew - Gen Tibbets, Theodore J "Dutch" Van Kirk (the navigator) and Morris R Jeppson (weapon test officer) said: "The use of the atomic weapon was a necessary moment in history. We have no regrets".
Gen Tibbets said then: "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."
In a 1975 interview he said: "I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it and have it work as perfectly as it did... I sleep clearly every night."
In 1976, Gen Tibbets was criticised for re-enacting the bombing at an air show in Texas.
A mushroom cloud was set off as he over flew in a B-29 Superfortress in a stunt that outraged Japan. Gen Tibbets said it was not meant as an insult but the US government formally apologised.
In 1995, Gen Tibbets denounced as a "damn big insult" a planned 50th anniversary exhibition of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Institution that put the bombing in context of the suffering it caused.
He and veterans groups said too much attention was being paid to Japan's suffering and not enough to its military brutality.
I consider Tibbets to be one of the "true" heroes of World War 2. He was given a mission and carried it out to success. The dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan brought about the end to the war and saved countless American lives.
It has always bothered me that revisionists attempt to put a negative spin on the use of atomic bombs in WW2. It was a necessary action and brought and end to the war.
In the above quote from SonicBomb, Tibbets denounced as a "damn big insult" a planned 50th anniversary exhibition of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Institution that put the bombing in context of the suffering it caused.
I couldn't agree more. Hell, the Japanese started the war and we ended it. That is all that needs to be said.
Perhaps if we had some politicians of recent generations that had the balls to do something similar, we would not have the problems we have today.
Rest In Peace General Tibbets. I, for one, am thankful for what you did.