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RIP: Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets, USAF (ret)

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Colonel Angus, Nov 1, 2007.

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  1. Colonel Angus

    Colonel Angus Member

    Paul Tibbets, the pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Thursday. He was 92.

    Tibbets died at his home in Columbus, Ohio, longtime friend Gerry Newhouse said. He had been in declining health for some time.

    As a 30-year-old Air Corps colonel, Tibbets piloted the Enola Gay — named after his mother — when it dropped the five-ton "Little Boy" bomb on Aug. 6, 1945. It was the first use of a nuclear weapon.

    At least 70,000 people died instantly and countless others were injured. Two-thirds of the Japanese city of Hiroshima was demolished.

    On Aug. 9, the U.S. dropped a second nuclear bomb on the city of Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people. A day later, Japan surrendered.

    Decades later, Tibbets - who did not fly on the Nagasaki mission - talked about Hiroshima.

    "I knew when I got the assignment it was going to be an emotional thing," Tibbets told The Columbus Dispatch for a story on Aug. 6, 2005, the 60th anniversary of the bomb.

    "We had feelings, but we had to put them in the background. We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible."

    After the war, Tibbets was a technical adviser on nuclear weapons tests at Bikini Atoll and oversaw the purchase of the B-47 six-engine bomber for the Air Force. He also set up the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon.

    Tibbets rose to the rank of brigadier general and retired from the Air Force in 1966. He later moved to Columbus, where he ran an air taxi service until he retired in 1985.

    Despite widespread condemnation of the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tibbets said he had no problem living with what he had done.

    "I'm not proud that I killed 80,000 people, but I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it and have it work as perfectly as it did," he said in a 1975 interview.
    "You've got to take stock and assess the situation at that time. We were at war. ... You use anything at your disposal."

    He added: "I sleep clearly every night."

    Tibbets is survived by his wife, Andrea, and three sons, Paul III, Gene and James.

    He requested there be no funeral to avoid attracting protesters. A friend said he had asked that his body be cremated and the ashes scattered over the English Channel.

  2. Interesting conversations in the afterlife, I'm thinking.
  3. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Genuinely curious, F_B, do you agree or disagree that the alternative of invading Japan (if that were to have been the next step) would have cost more lives (it obviously would have cost more American lives)?
  4. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Why, FDR lied and people died. I thought everybody knew that.
  5. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    RIP to a genuine American hero who deserved to sleep well.

    And we've been down this invade vs. drop-the-bomb road before. See the Battle of Okinawa times 1,000 and the northern half of the Japanese islands spending the next 50 years under Communism for reference on what would have happened without the Manhattan Project and people like Brig Gen. Tibbets and his crew.
  6. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Only problem with that was Truman was president.
  7. Bamadog

    Bamadog Well-Known Member

    RIP, General Tibbets. The guy was a true patriot and a pioneer, probably one of the greatest bomber pilots ever. He was a reluctant warrior who did his job to the best of his ability, which is more than I can say for a lot of folks.

    And get this, I think his grandson flies B-2's in the Air Force now.

    As for the bomb being the right idea, of course it was. Did we really want to have more than 100,000 casualties by invading Japan? It would have been the brutal battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa 100-fold. It would have made the quagmire in Iraq look like child's play in comparison.

    The bomb, horrific as its effects were, saved lives. Some of you might not exist because that would have probably been your grandfathers in any invasion of Japan.

    Besides, the fire-bombing of Japanese cities killed far more folks and in any case, Japan was finished as a combatant. Our submarines took care of that, thanks to the Japanese not realizing that you need to form convoys and protect your merchant ships from attack.
  8. So, naturally, we wipe out two cities at a single stroke with weapons that were killing people into the 1960's and that are deforming their children to this day.
    Look. This is an RIP thread. This is an argument we've had before.
  9. Dan Rydell

    Dan Rydell Guest

    Nobody's been crazy enough to push the nuclear button since.

    Hammer dropped, message sent.

    And if the Japanese had come up with the bomb first, what do you think they would have done? They weren't exactly merciful when they had the upper hand.
  10. They didn't have the technical expertise in 41, nor the industrial capacity by 43, not the land-based air force to deliver it. If Tojo had magic death rays in his eyes, they might have won, too, but it's not relevant.
  11. Dan Rydell

    Dan Rydell Guest

    IF.........I asked what IF they had the expertise first.............They were flying pilots into aircraft carriers and destroyers, and sending naked girls out with grenades under their armpits to blow up our guys and themselves.

    So how far would they have gone IF they had the bombs?

    America fights hard when it's in wars, and sometimes rules are stepped across, but look at how the other sides have fought. There are some truly ugly stories of torture and annihilation there, and yet we're the bad guys because we struck first when we could.

    Someone was gonna strike first back then. We found the secret first, so we got to go first. Had they found it first, we might be speaking Japanese right now.

    World War II was horrible. But America, Britain, France and others were the good guys. Tibbets could sleep well at night because he knew the other side of the nightmare.
  12. Yes, you said, "if," which is why it isn't worth responding to.
    As to the rest, well, I choose not to discuss war as though it was a fucking football game.
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