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Tibbets file photo [5216]

Paul Tibbets

Given NamePaul
Born23 Feb 1915
Died1 Nov 2007
CountryUnited States


ww2dbasePaul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. was born in Quincy, Illinois, United States to Paul Tibbets, Sr. and Enola Gay Haggard Tibbets. He was raised in Cedar Rapid and Des Moines, Iowa, United States where his father was a confections wholesaler. In the 1930s, he attended the University of Florida. On 25 Feb 1937, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps as a flying cadet at Fort Thomas, Kentucky, United States. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1938. By Mar 1942, he was the commanding officer of the 340th Bomb Squadron of the 97th Heavy Bomb Group. On 17 Aug 1942, from RAF Polebrook in the United Kingdom, he flew the lead bomber of 8th Air Force's first bombing mission in Europe. He also flew several missions in the Mediterranean Theater. His reputation as a pilot was superb, resulting in him serving as General Dwight D. Eisenhower's personal pilot on several occasions.

ww2dbaseIn Sep 1944, Tibbets was assigned to command a group based at Wendover Army Air Field in Utah, United States, which later became the 509th Composite Group selected to deliver the resulting bomb from the Manhattan Project. On 5 Aug 1945, he formally named his B-29 Superfortress bomber "Enola Gay" after his mother. At 0245 on the next day, Colonel Tibbets lifted off from Tinian Island in the Mariana Islands ever so carefully with the atomic bomb "Little Boy". Two specialists assembled the weapon mid-flight, and bombardier Thomas Ferebee dropped the bomb over Hiroshima, Japan at 0815 local time. The bomb took 43 seconds to fall. After the long 43 seconds, Tibbets saw something he could never have imagined:

"A bright light filled the plane. The first shockwave hit us. We were eleven and a half miles slant range from the atomic explosion but the whole airplane cracked and crinkled from the blast.... We turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden by that awful cloud... mushrooming, terrible and incredibly tall."

ww2dbaseThe blast killed about 140,000 people, with many more dying later.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Tibbets remained in the military, joining the newly formed United States Air Force. Eventually reaching the rank of brigadier general in 1959, he retired from active service on 31 Aug 1966. After retirement, he worked for the civilian air line Executive Jet Aviation based in Columbus, Ohio, United States; between 1976 and 1987, he served as the president of the company. In 1976, he re-enacted the Hiroshima bombing, which was viewed by many as inappropriate; the US government issued an official apology for the re-enactment. Although apologetic about the 1976 re-enactment, he consistently noted that he had no regrets of using the atomic bomb. "If you give me the same circumstances, hell yeah, I'd do it again", he said. "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."

ww2dbaseTibbets passed away in 2007 in his home in Columbus, Ohio at the age of 92. He specifically noted in his will that he wanted neither funeral service nor a headstone so to avoid protesters.

ww2dbaseSources: BBC, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Nov 2007

Paul Tibbets Interactive Map


Captain William Sterling Parsons and Colonel Paul Tibbets, Jr. briefed the crew of B-29 Superfortress Crew of
See all 6 photographs of Paul Tibbets

Paul Tibbets Timeline

23 Feb 1915 Paul Tibbets was born.
23 Jul 1945 A test bomb in the shape of the atomic bomb Little Boy, designated L-1, was dropped in the sea near Tinian, Mariana Islands from a B-29 bomber piloted by Paul Tibbets, to test the radar altimeter mounted on a B-29 bomber.
24 Jul 1945 A test bomb in the shape of the atomic bomb Little Boy, designated L-2, was dropped in the sea near Tinian, Mariana Islands from a B-29 bomber piloted by Paul Tibbets.
25 Jul 1945 A test bomb in the shape of the atomic bomb Little Boy, designated L-5, was dropped in the sea near Tinian, Mariana Islands from a B-29 bomber piloted by Paul Tibbets.
31 Jul 1945 A test bomb in the shape of the atomic bomb Little Boy, designated L-6, was dropped in the sea near Iwo Jima, Japan from B-29 bomber Enola Gay piloted by Paul Tibbets.
1 Nov 2007 Paul Tibbets passed away.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
17 Dec 2007 12:23:24 AM

asshole is the same as hitler
2. T.J. Fitts says:
13 May 2008 08:00:21 PM

One of America"s hero's. Not only flew in Europe, but when called to go to the Far East, said yes sir and soldiered on. For anon, gutless wonder for puttng his name in, to compare him to hitler. He should ask someone in his family. Very few families in the U.S. were not affected by WW11. Mine was.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
16 Feb 2009 04:00:36 PM

Tibbets trainned the group that dropped the atomic bombs, that ended ww2, that's alot of weight on a man's shoulder's one word got him anything he needed that was "Silver Plate" even General's jummped
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
16 Feb 2009 04:04:01 PM

The German's and the Japanese would have dropped atomic bombs, if they had them.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
22 Feb 2009 11:56:39 AM

Think about it if you had a weapon, that could end a war that was killing thousands every day would you use it. I say drop that sucker twice. Don't get me wrong war is a dirty, rotten, business, and it should never get started in the first place, but it should be ended as soon as possible.
6. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
22 Feb 2009 12:08:45 PM

If Hitler had atomic weapons, and the V-2 to carry it, do you think he would hesitate damm!! he killed tens of millions, it was the world he was after!!!!!!!! remember the saying 'Germany Today, Tomorrow the World'
7. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
4 Mar 2009 05:19:41 PM

The Atomic Bomb ended World War II and millions of GI's returned home, to live the rest of their lives, and hope another World War, never ever happens, again, ever!
8. Anonymous says:
24 Jul 2010 03:26:24 PM

anyone who lives in fkcing america and doesnt agree to this... YOU WOULD BE SPEEKING *** ING GERMAN!!!!!!
9. brian says:
5 Aug 2010 06:55:39 AM

Eh, am I missing something? The A Bomb was dropped on japan, not germany. More importantly, it was dropped after german had been defeated and after Hitler was dead.
10. jon says:
3 Nov 2010 08:01:21 AM

paul tibbets it an awesome guy. it takes some courage to fly a plane with a bomb that could blow up a whole city
11. Anonymous says:
19 Mar 2015 03:53:35 PM

this is so sad
12. buttAnonymous says:
19 Mar 2015 03:57:07 PM

paul tibbets didn't know how powerful the A bomb was
13. mynamejeff says:
16 Feb 2016 09:03:16 AM

this is sad
14. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
25 Aug 2019 11:14:45 AM

Colonel Paul W, Tibbets had one additional secret that he could not share with the other members of the ‘Enola Gay’ crew. Before boarding the aircraft, he had been handed a dozen cyanide capsules to distribute to his crew. They were to kill themselves in the event of the B-29 being shot down. Tibbets was ordered to shoot anyone refusing to swallow his capsule – the Japanese could not be allowed to capture anyone alive.
15. Reaper says:
28 Sep 2019 10:13:29 AM

Hell, the Japanese got what they deserved. If there were anything wrong with dropping these A-bombs, I'd say these bombs were 14 years late.
16. Sam says:
28 Feb 2020 10:03:39 AM

This man is disgusting. He’s defending his actions? All of the innocent lives he took? I’m glad he is dead to be honest. Disgraceful human.
17. Anonymous says:
14 Sep 2023 10:31:36 PM

wjere would i find flight engineers list
of b29 superfortress M tail, Guam 19th
bomb group. seems fathers name disappeared, are those names secret??

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More on Paul Tibbets
Event(s) Participated:
» Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Associated Aircraft:
» B-29 Superfortress

Related Books:
» Countdown 1945
» The Last Train from Hiroshima

Paul Tibbets Photo Gallery
Captain William Sterling Parsons and Colonel Paul Tibbets, Jr. briefed the crew of B-29 Superfortress Crew of
See all 6 photographs of Paul Tibbets

Famous WW2 Quote
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945

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