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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 |
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