I met Paul Tibbets and his navigator at an airshow in Florida.
I purchased the book he was selling , with his and his navigators autographs. He undertook a historic and necessary mission. Those that criticize the dropping of the A- Bombs show look up operation Olympia and see the projected casualties for the invasion of Japan.
The Purple hearts given out today are from the 500,000 purple hearts manufactured in 1945 , which were deemed the number needed to be kept on hand for the invasion of Kyushu alone. There are still 120,000 in stock.
A now deceased family friend thanked God for the atomic bomb.
He had fought in Europe (army) but was nowhere close to having the points to go home. He was transferred to the Pacific and saw some action there.
He was in the Philippines getting ready for the invasion of Kyushu. His company commander (and old hand in the Pacific) had told them he didn’t expect any of them to survive more than two days, but he did expect them to do their duty.
When told that the Air Corp had dropped two atomic bombs on Japan and as a result the Japanese were surrendering his first question was “what the hell is an atomic bomb?” and his second question was “does this mean we might live through this?”.
Due to the invasion forces being so wound up to kill Japanese he didn’t get to Japan for several months. He spent over a year in Japan with the occupation force before coming home.
VJ day every year was his “second birthday”.