Wednesday, July 30, 2014

They Are All Gone Now

They will all live on in American history but the last surviving crew member of the B-29 Enola Gay that dropped the Atomic Bomb on the Japanese mainland to end WWII has passed away at 93 years of age.

Last surviving Enola Gay crewman dies in Stone Mountain

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The last surviving crewman of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, died overnight at his Stone Mountain home.
Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, 93, was the navigator on the Aug. 6, 1945 flight that dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb.
With the 2010 death of Morris Jeppson, Van Kirk became the only one of the dozen crew members left.
For a number of years, he lived at a retirement community in Stone Mountain where by chance he found himself sharing the place with James Starnes, an Atlantan who had a front-row seat at history. Starnes was the navigator on the USS Missouri and the mighty battleship’s officer of the deck on Sept. 2, 1945 who greeted Japanese officials boarding to officially surrender.
“We were two individuals who happened to be at historic dates,” said Starnes, who said his friend died Monday after being hospitalized for a few weeks. “The passing always hurts so much. I told someone today that this was the first time I shed a tear for someone in a long time.”

It has been estimated that over a million lives would have been lost if we would have had to attack the Japanese mainland.

Certainly ushering in the Atomic Age was a historic moment but the results were indiscriminate and horrifying. Even when faced with that horror, the Japanese refused to surrender and another Nuclear Warhead had to be detonated over a Japanese city before they finally threw in the towel.
Those men were heroes then and now for putting their lives on the line, all the while knowing they might never even make it to the target.

God speed.


  1. "flying off the deck of an aircraft carrier at sea in a heavily laden B-29,"

    The B-29 can not take off from a carrier. They were based on Tinian island.

  2. Don't confuse Jimmy Doolittle's raid on Tokyo with B-25 medium bombers and the B-29 heavy bombers dropping atomic weapons on Japan.

    1. Thanks for the spanking gentlemen.
      You are correct, that is exactly what I did.
      My bad, I was on my way to bed when I posted this and will correct it right now.


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