The Enola Gay was the B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped the first nuclear weapon used in warfare over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The weapon was known as "Little Boy". The Enola Gay was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force's 509th Composite Group and flew her mission out of Tinian, a small island in the Marianas chain. She was one of only 15 B-29s modified to deliver nuclear bombs. Colonel Paul Tibbets, the plane's pilot, named her after his mother.
The Enola Gay was followed only two days later by another B-29, called "Bockscar", which dropped a second nuclear weapon, "Fat Man", on Nagasaki. Little Boy and Fat Man were the only nuclear weapons ever used offensively.
The Enola Gay has been fully restored and is currently hangared at the National Air and Space Smithsonian's Steven Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport in Virginia. The Enola Gay is a keystone exhibit among other vintage war planes, many of which are yet to be added to the display.
The Smithsonian's site on the Enola Gay includes links to crew lists and other details. http://www.nasm.edu/galleries/gal103/gal103.html General (USAF, retired) Paul Tibbets, has his own web site dedicated to the plane at http://www.theenolagay.com Twelve men crewed the plane:
- Colonel Paul Tibbets - pilot
- Capt. Robert Lewis - copilot
- Maj. Thomas Ferebee - bombardier
- Capt. Theodore Van Kirk - navigator
- Lt. Jacob Beser - radar countermeasures
- Capt. William "Deak" Parsons - weaponeer
- 2nd Lt. Maurice Jeppson - assistant weaponeer
- Sgt. Joe Stiborik - radar
- Staff Sgt. George Caron - tail gunner
- Sgt. Robert Shumard - asst. flight engineer
- Pfc. Richard Nelson - radio
- Tech Sgt. Wayne Duzenberry - flight engineer
Tibbets waves from his cockpit before the takeoff, August 6 1945.