Skip to comments.Hiroshima, in the words of Enola Gay's bombardier - No regrets for Col. Tom Ferebee, hometown hero
Posted on 08/06/2005 6:25:05 PM PDT by wagglebee
Sixty years ago today, Hiroshima, Japan, became the first target of an atomic bomb, with Nagasaki the second target three days later. Thus, a war that lasted four years was ended in four days.
To those who decry the devastation caused by President Truman's decision to develop and detonate this awesome weapon, I remind them of the lives saved, not lost.
I'm very proud of the fact that my uncle was not only a member of the Enola Gay that dropped "Little Boy" on Hiroshima, the first atomic bomb in history, but he was actually the bombardier. The bottom line, as my uncle said many times, was that he slept well at night knowing that he helped save more lives than he killed by bringing the war to a sudden halt.
The late Tom Ferebee, a native of Mocksville, N.C., was an Army Air Force lieutenant, hand-picked for a highly secret mission by pilot Paul Tibbets Jr., to be part of the Enola Gay's 12-man crew.
Debate still swirls around the exhibit of the rebuilt Enola Gay at a Smithsonian museum near Washington's Dulles International Airport, mostly by liberals awash in shame that the United States of America would wreak such damage upon the population of Hiroshima.
In a story I wrote years ago about my uncle's participation, here's what I said:
He quietly answers accusations that he must feel guilty with "all that blood on your hands," responding firmly that he has never tossed and turned in his sleep, never second-guessed his country's decision and knows in his heart he was responsible for saving thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of lives American lives.
How do real Americans, that is, those outside the confines of political Washington, feel about Ferebee? Let's take a look at a celebration in Mocksville in 1991 in which the town erected a marker to its famous son.
A local news story of the occasion, unembellished with political nuances, read in part:
"Ferebee changed the world when he launched the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945. A second atom bomb was dropped by a different crew on Nagasaki on August 9. Japan surrendered on August 10 and World War II ended."
The marker erected at the city limits simply reads: "Family Home Site of Colonel Thomas W. Ferebee, Bombardier on the Enola Gay. Dropped Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945."
To refute today's politically correct critics, perhaps it should also have some fine print explaining the stark fact that this action saved 38,000 American lives, the "low ball" estimate by revisionists, or up to 1 million, if you value the judgment of those who participated in the decision to drop the bomb. It also saved 100,000 Allied prisoners of war.
Why? Because Tokyo had ordered that at the very moment the United States invaded Japan, these 100,000 POWs were to be stabbed, shot, beheaded or otherwise slaughtered.
But Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed all that.
Let's pick up the rest of the story at Ferebee's hometown celebration as reported by Susan Shinn in the Salisbury, N.C., Post in 1991:
"Several hundred Davie Countians turned out to honor their native son Monday with a parade at town square and the dedication of a marker at Ferebee's homeplace on U.S. 64. ...
"And Ferebee brought his best friends: Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay; its navigator, Maj. Theodore (Dutch) Van Kirk; and Col. Harry Boothe. No one here can imagine how proud I am to be here," Ferebee said. 'You people have remembered me. I am happy to have three of my best friends here with me.' ...
"The men worked together 10 and a half months before their mission. Tom put the bomb where it belonged.' Tibbets said. 'What we did that day as a crew changed the nature of wartime forever. ...
"'If I could pick a brother, I'd pick Tom Ferebee.'"
Someone once said war is hell. Kill or be killed. Even Japanese survivors at Hiroshima have said that "if Japan had the bomb, it might have used it in a worse way." Others have said, "We need to admit the crimes committed by Japan before we can ask for an apology from the United States."
The Bataan death march, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima. Those are names for Americans to remember, but most of all, Pearl Harbor.
It is truly appalling that the left would ever try to make a hero feel guilty for serving his country.
As My old Pappy would say they "The Japenese" Asked us out to play on December 7
I've read a bunch of old newspapers from WW II and listened to old radio broadcasts and it's funny, there's not a word about how the Japanese were really "peace loving" people or any of the other crap we hear about Islam.
He and his crew saved countless American lives..many who are here now would not be if it were not for them..
They completed their mission at great personal cost and the event exacted a toll on the men who flew it..
God bless all who saved America from the Japs and the Germans...
And certain Muslims asked us out to play on September 11. They ain't seen nothin' yet.
American Hero Ping!
Even Nagasaki wasn't enough to get them to throw in the towel. The largest air raid of the war took place on 14 August 1945 and resistance even continued after the 15th. The Japanese were pretty dense.
The Germans and the Japanese were both working on the bomb. What on earth were they going to do with it if they achieved it first?
Payback for Pearl Harbor, Patback for the Bataan Death March, Payback for the Alled Prisoners Tortured, Beaten and Starved in Japanese POW Camps!!
P A Y B A C K
IS A BITCH!!
Yes it is!
I just got back from seeing a sneak preaview of "The Great Raid". Good movie. We need more like it to tell the stories of the heroes in the Pacific theater in WWII and remind us of why exactly it was right to nuke those bastards like we did.
Damn straight. Go see "The Great Raid" when it comes out.
Go see "The Great Raid" when it comes out.
I can't wait to see it. My daughter is going with me because most of my friends only like chick flicks. But I love movies that depict our troops in their true light-brave, courageous American Heroes!
It turned my stomach to see Colonel Tibbetts appear to get angry at the interviewer during one of the Hiroshima specials on the History Channel (or maybe Discovery Times Channel) today.
He angrily shot back at an unheard question, "You just can't understand that it saved more lives, American lives than it ever took of Japanese" or something to that effect. He said it with fire in his eyes and in such a way that it was clear he was pissed at the lefty doing the interview (i.e. he wasn't addressing the second-guessers at-large).
I just imagine that there was a string of questions about "conscience", "women and children", "100,000", etc. prior to the outburst. Whoever picked him for the job 60 years ago, damn sure picked the right guy.
That would be Uzal G. Ent
I went to see the Enola Gay when it was at the Smithsonian. The day I was there,the viewing area around the Enola Gay was crowded with Japanese. As we moved slowly toward the airplane, you could feel a lot of tension. When I was level with it, I burst into tears - not sad tears, but tears of joy for the bravery and stout hearts of the men who had "driven" that airplane and it's precious load to Hiroshima.
After the viewing, they had a short video of the remaining crew, each one telling about his experience. One of the crew - and I believe it was Col. Tom Ferebee - said that he had never, for one moment, regretted what he had done and if need be, he would do it all over again.
I left there so proud and so filled with awe for those men who served in WWII and ALL of our splendid military.
They also saved many Japanese lives, including civilians. The land of the kamikaze pilots was not going to go down easily.
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