|Hump Halsey flight crew, part of the 58th division,|
This blurred photo showed a cluster of airmen, awfully young guys. But then, 1941 needed all the young guys that could be gathered. They are leaning on each other, arms draped over their shoulders. The eleven were a team of their own brothers.
But really look at them. What do you see? Who has a different expression?
My dad is in the back row on the right. He and his best buddy John were then and for the rest of their lives close friends. All of the eleven were about twenty-one years old.
|Museum Enola Gay|
Dad spoke of one particular B-29 that was parked a distance from others and their crew and pilots had been sequestered from others. Their pilots were Paul W. Tibbets and co-pilot Robert Lewis, both of whom were in their late 20s when they flew the Enola Gay to drop the first atomic bomb.
The nose art was standard sexy women, but had been painted over with the words "Enola Gay".
Look at the photo at the top, again. Ten of the crew were together, friends. One is is different. Notice the man on the middle row, far left. Captain Zeb was their pilot; he is looking down. All pilots wore aviator sunglasses.
Like many pilots, Captain Zeb kept himself isolated, removed from his crew. Getting too friendly clouded their judgment. After all, he was an old guy, being twenty-two.
Video is about 20 minutes long. I watched it twice, thinking about the men who flew in it, like my father.
About 7 minutes is worth watching.Their missions changed history. Dad was a bay gunner in their plane. They flew 12 hours to drop incendiary bombs on industrial sites. Then it turned around to fly another 12 hours, stopping to refuel in China. The B-29 was credited with stopping the war. What they and Enola Gay did was to shorten and then end the war. (It is estimated that since the Japanese would not surrender and that the civilian population would be called to defend Japan, nearly 1 million in all would die.)
They were so young, all the men and women who fought in WW2.
What do you think of my dad's crew of men? What about Captain Zeb?
Oh, dear Lord, they were babies.