|Col. Paul Tibbets|
The pilot of the Enola Gay was born in Quicy, Illinois. Ironically, his love of flying began when, at the age of 12, he dropped Baby Ruth candy bars from a plane as a Curtiss Candy Company advertising gimmick. He was graduated from the Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois, with an interest in becoming a medical doctor. Although he studied at the universities of Florida and Cincinnati with that in mind, he became a flying cadet in the US Army Air Corps in 1936. Tibbets was commissioned as a second lieutenant and rated pilot in 1938. He was promoted to first lieutenant in April 1941 and, during wartime, quickly became a captain and squadron commander, then a major, then a lieutenant colonel. After many combat missions in Europe and Africa, and two special missions, he was assigned to recruit and train personnel to deliver atomic weapons. Tibbets himself flew the first mission that, in his words - convinced the Japanese of the futility of continuing the fight. After the war he studied at the Air Command and Staff College. He was assigned to Operations HQUSAF after graduation in 1947 and later attended the Air War College. Tibbets retired from the Air Force after almost 30 years of active service and lived in Ohio. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters, and four Air Force Commendation Medals. Paul Tibbets died 1st November 2007.
|Col. Paul Tibbets - Signed Aviation Art Prints, Paintings and Drawings|
Pilot and Aircrew Signatures
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|Aircraft for : Col. Paul Tibbets (deceased)|
|A list of all aircraft associated with Col. Paul Tibbets (deceased). A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.|
The largest and most powerful bomber of WW II, the Boeing B-29 Super Fortress, played a major role in bringing about the defeat of Japan. In addition to accelerating Japans surrender following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs, thousands of B-29 crews flew tens of thousands of bombing missions against Japan from bases in China, India, and later in the War from recaptured islands in the Pacific. B-29s entered service in 1943 following a lengthy, problem-filled, development process of three years in response to the governments request for a long range strategic bomber. Only Boeing and Douglas (the B-32 Dominator) responded to the governments requests, and the B-32 had even greater development problems than the B-29. Powered by four giant Wright R-3350-23 radial engines generating a total horsepower of 8,924, the Super Fortresses typically carried crews of ten. They were capable of a top speed of 357-MPH, and at slower cruising speeds had a range of more than 3,200 miles. The B-29 was a large aircraft for its time with a wingspan in excess of 140 feet and a length of just under 100 feet. The Super Forts also had pressurized forward and aft hulls, which made the long distance missions a bit more comfortable for the flight crews. B-29s typically carried defensive armament which included ten machine guns and a single tail-mounted canon. Because of the pressurized hull, the guns were operated by remote control. The first operational B-29 wing was the 58th which flew out of the China-Burma-India theater. On March 9, 1945 General Curtis LeMay ordered an unusual low altitude attack on Tokyo by hundreds of B-29s carrying incendiary bombs. Five such low level missions were scheduled over a ten-day period, and the combined destruction of these missions exceeded that of either of the atomic bomb missions. B-29s were also effectively used to mine Japanese ports and shipping lanes.
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