Retrieved May 7, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2016. Retrieved November kings escorts, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
The bomber was one of the 15 initial examples of Bs built to the " Silverplate " specification—65 of these eventually being completed during and after World War II—giving them the primary ability to function as nuclear "weapon delivery" aircraft. These modifications included an extensively modified bomb bay with pneumatic doors and British bomb attachment and release systems, reversible pitch propellers that gave more braking power on landing, improved engines with fuel injection and better cooling,   and the removal of protective armor and gun turrets.
Enola Gay was personally selected by Colonel Paul W. Crew B-9, commanded by Captain Robert A. Thirteen days later, the aircraft left Wendover for Guam , where it received a bomb-bay modification, and flew to North Field , Tinian , on 6 July. It was initially given the Victor squadron-assigned identification number 12, but on 1 August, was given the circle R tail markings of the 6th Bombardment Group as a security measure and had its Victor number changed to 82 to avoid misidentification with actual 6th Bombardment Group aircraft.
Enola Gay was used on 31 July on a rehearsal flight for the actual mission. McVay III 's quarters. On 5 August , during preparation for the first atomic mission, Tibbets assumed command of the aircraft and named it after his mother, Enola Gay Tibbets, who, in turn, had been named for the heroine of a novel.
At a time when Dad had thought I had lost my marbles, she had taken my side and said, "I know you will be all right, son. The name was painted on the aircraft on 5 August by Allan L.
Karl, an enlisted man in the th. Hiroshima was the primary target of the first nuclear bombing mission on 6 August, with Kokura and Nagasaki as alternative targets. Enola Gay , piloted by Tibbets, took off from North Field , in the Northern Mariana Islands , about six hours' flight time from Japan, accompanied by two other Bs, The Great Artiste , carrying instrumentation, and a then-nameless aircraft later called Necessary Evil , commanded by Captain George Marquardt, to take photographs.
When he wanted to taxi, Tibbets leaned out the window to direct the bystanders out of the way. On request, he gave a friendly wave for the cameras. His assistant, Second Lieutenant Morris R. Jeppson , removed the safety devices 30 minutes before reaching the target area. The release at Enola Gay traveled Enola Gay returned safely to its base on Tinian to great fanfare, touching down at 2: The Great Artiste and Necessary Evil followed at short intervals.
Several hundred people, including journalists and photographers, had gathered to watch the planes return. Tibbets was the first to disembark, and was presented with the Distinguished Service Cross on the spot. The Hiroshima mission was followed by another atomic strike. Originally scheduled for 11 August, it was brought forward by two days to 9 August owing to a forecast of bad weather. After three unsuccessful passes, Bockscar diverted to its secondary target, Nagasaki,  where it dropped its bomb.
In contrast to the Hiroshima mission, the Nagasaki mission has been described as tactically botched, although the mission did meet its objectives.
The crew encountered a number of problems in execution, and had very little fuel by the time they landed at the emergency backup landing site Yontan Airfield on Okinawa. Enola Gay' s crew on 6 August , consisted of 12 men. Asterisks denote regular crewmen of the Enola Gay. Of mission commander Parsons, it was said: It flew to Kwajalein Atoll on 1 May. It was hoped that the Air Force would guard the plane, but, lacking hangar space, it was left outdoors on a remote part of the air base, exposed to the elements.
Souvenir hunters broke in and removed parts. Insects and birds then gained access to the aircraft. Garber of the Smithsonian Institution, became concerned about the Enola Gay ' s condition,  and on 10 August , Smithsonian staff began dismantling the aircraft. The components were transported to the Smithsonian storage facility at Suitland, Maryland , on 21 July Enola Gay remained at Suitland for many years.
By the early s, two veterans of the th, Don Rehl and his former navigator in the th, Frank B. Stewart, began lobbying for the aircraft to be restored and put on display. They enlisted Tibbets and Senator Barry Goldwater in their campaign.
In , Walter J. I pushed it very, very hard and it never failed me It was probably the most beautiful piece of machinery that any pilot ever flew. Restoration of the bomber began on 5 December , at the Paul E.
One of these propellers was trimmed to Nicks Low Speed Wind Tunnel. Some parts and instruments had been removed and could not be located. Replacements were found or fabricated, and marked so that future curators could distinguish them from the original components. Enola Gay became the center of a controversy at the Smithsonian Institution when the museum planned to put its fuselage on public display in as part of an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Critics of the planned exhibit, especially those of the American Legion and the Air Force Association , charged that the exhibit focused too much attention on the Japanese casualties inflicted by the nuclear bomb, rather than on the motivations for the bombing or the discussion of the bomb's role in ending the conflict with Japan.
As a result, after various failed attempts to revise the exhibit in order to meet the satisfaction of competing interest groups, the exhibit was canceled on 30 January Harwit , Director of the National Air and Space Museum, was compelled to resign over the controversy. The dispute was not simply about the atomic bomb.
Rather, the dispute was sometimes a symbolic issue in a "culture war" in which many Americans lumped together the seeming decline of American power, the difficulties of the domestic economy, the threats in world trade and especially Japan's successes, the loss of domestic jobs, and even changes in American gender roles and shifts in the American family.
To a number of Americans, the very people responsible for the script were the people who were changing America. The bomb, representing the end of World War II and suggesting the height of American power was to be celebrated. It was, in this judgment, a crucial symbol of America's "good war", one fought justly for noble purposes at a time when America was united. Those who in any way questioned the bomb's use were, in this emotional framework, the enemies of America. The forward fuselage went on display on 28 June On 2 July , three people were arrested for throwing ash and human blood on the aircraft's fuselage, following an earlier incident in which a protester had thrown red paint over the gallery's carpeting.
Restoration work began in , and would eventually require , staff hours. While the fuselage was on display, from to , work continued on the remaining unrestored components. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia from March—June , with the fuselage and wings reunited for the first time since on 10 April  and assembly completed on 8 August The aircraft has been on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center since the museum annex opened on 15 December Although designed to fight in the European theater, the B found its niche on the other side of the globe.
In the Pacific, Bs delivered a variety of aerial weapons: Three days later, Bockscar on display at the U. Enola Gay flew as the advance weather reconnaissance aircraft that day. A third B, The Great Artiste, flew as an observation aircraft on both missions.
The display of the Enola Gay without reference to the historical context of World War II, the Cold War, or the development and deployment of nuclear weapons aroused controversy. A petition from a group calling themselves the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy bemoaned the display of Enola Gay as a technological achievement, which it described as an "extraordinary callousness toward the victims, indifference to the deep divisions among American citizens about the propriety of these actions, and disregard for the feelings of most of the world's peoples".
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