Skip to comments.ENOLA GAY CREW - - "NO REGRETS"
Posted on 08/06/2005 9:33:51 PM PDT by jordan8
ENOLA GAY CREW - - "NO REGRETS"
Columbus, Ohio (August 6, 2005) - On this occasion, the surviving members of the Enola Gay crew would like the opportunity to issue a joint statement.
This year, 2005, marks the sixtieth year since the end of World War II. The summer of 1945 was indeed an anxious one as allied and American forces gathered for the inevitable invasion of the Japanese homeland. President Truman made one last demand, one final appeal. Together with Great Britain's Churchill, and Russia's Stalin, the President of the United States urged the Japanese to " proclaim the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces The alternative," they said, "for Japan is prompt and utter destruction". Ignoring the obvious military situation, the Japanese Prime Minister Baron Kantaro Suzuki issued the Japanese refusal to surrender which included these words: " there is no other recourse but to ignore it [the surrender demand] entirely and resolutely fight for the successful conclusion of the war."
While it is certainly unfortunate this course of action was necessary, for the allies, at that moment in time, there was no other choice. Secretary of War Henry Stinson wrote, "The decision to use the atomic bomb
was our least abhorrent choice".
President Harry S. Truman approved the order to use the atomic bomb. It was his decision and his hope to avoid an invasion of the Japanese homeland. An invasion that would have cost tens of thousands of Japanese and allied lives.
Winston Churchill concurred with the decision saying, "To avert a vast, indefinite butchery [the invasion], to bring the war to an end, give peace to the world, to lay healing hands upon its tortured peoples
at the cost of a few explosions, seemed after all our toils and perils, a miracle of deliverance."
On August 6, 1945, the B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay dropped the world's first atomic bomb on the island of Hiroshima hoping to expedite the end of World War II. The second atomic weapon was delivered over Nagasaki by the B-29 Superfortress Bocks Car three days later. The availability of those weapons in the American arsenal left President Truman no choice but to use them. To spare the world a horrific invasion and to save American, allied, and Japanese lives was literally the only course of prudent action.
The surviving members of the Enola Gay crew: Paul W. Tibbets (pilot), Theodore J. "Dutch" Van Kirk (navigator) and Morris R. Jeppson (weapon test officer) have repeatedly and humbly proclaimed that, "The use of the atomic weapon was a necessary moment in history. We have no regrets". They have steadfastly taken that stance for the past six decades.
"In the past sixty years since Hiroshima I have received many letters from people all over the world. The vast majority have expressed gratitude that the 509th Composite group consisting of 1700 men, 15 B-29s and 6 C-54s were able to deliver the bombs that ended the war. Over the years, thousands of former soldiers and military family members have expressed a particularly touching and personal gratitude suggesting that they might not be alive today had it been necessary to resort to an invasion of the Japenese home islands to end the fighting. In addition to Americans veterans, I have been thanked as well by Japanese veterans and civilians who would have been expected to carry out a suicidal defense of their homelands. Combined with the efforts of all Americans and our allies we were able to stop the killing," comments Brigadier General Paul W. Tibbets. It is a sentiment upon which the surviving crewmen are unanimous.
In this year, 2005, we will observe the anniversary of the epic flight of the Enola Gay close to our homes and our friends. To our fellow veterans and the American nation we all echo one sentiment, "I pray that reason will prevail among leaders before we ever again need to call upon our nuclear might. There are no regrets. We were proud to have served like so many men and women stationed around the world today. To them, to you, we salute you and goodbye."
Bless them for the difficult decision and the courage to carry it through.
Thanks Harry, Paul and all the crew. Happy H-Day and only 2 more shopping days to N-Day.
The salute is returned. Thank you for your service.
Both my father and father-in-law were poised to take part in the 1946 invasion of Japan.
I'm here because of Truman's decision.
If we hadn't gone atomic, we would have expended at least one million American lives in the initial invasion of Japan and some estimates put the final estimated toll to subjugate the Japanese home islands at over five million American lives. On top of that, the only way we could have won is by the virtual extermination of the Japanese people, which would add untold millions to the butcher's bill. The estimates place the estimated death rate at over 1000 combatants (Japanese and American) per hour in the early stages of the of the invasion.
Instead, only an estimated 150,000 died, and millions of people got to live.
In the name of humanity, I'll make that trade any day.
They should have no regrets. They ended a war. Without the atomic bomb the Allies would have had to invade Japan, and many lives would have been lost.
The men of the Enola Gay and Bock's Car are all genuine heroes.
I'd heard there were only 3 crew left from the Hiroshima mission. Now I know who they are....and I salute them!
I think the sentiment at the time was that when we were done with Japan, "The only place Japanese will be spoken will be in Hell."
Dropping those two A-bombs on Japan saved the Japanese people from total annihilation.
The special they had on History Channel was amazing. The best parts were the eyewitness accounts from the ground. It is interesting to think that, as horrible as that event must have been to the people living there, that the city was rebuilt and became a thriving metropolis again. The bomb ended a horrible war, and from its ashes people rebuilt and lived peaceful lives.
I wish it never happened...but I thank God it did.
I thought that Tibbitts had died recently, but his great-nephew is sitting in my house right now and says he is alive and lives in the Mid-West.
All of these men were heroes and saved many lives on both sides.
You and me both, Travis - these men saved my father's life. He was to be in the first wave, and he always said that he knew he was going to die...
These men saved my father's life, and I am here because of them. My daughter, who proudly serves in the Air Force today, is here because of them.
I thank God for the men who dropped the Bomb.
Thank GOD for these real men.
They wouldn't have given us the choice. The would have fought to the last man, woman, and child - that's how that society was. The only way to subjugate the Japanese would have been to kill them all.
The A-bomb shocked them out of that mindset. They realized that we could just sit back and incinerate their homeland, their people, and their Imperial family, and not have to risk any infantry. There would be no Americans in reach to take with them to the afterlife.
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