Dead, Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. on the 1st November 2007 at the age of 92, he was a brigadier general in the United States Air Force.
Born in Quincy, Illinois, on 23 February 1915, the son of Paul Warfield Tibbets, Sr., and his wife, Enola Gay Tibbets.
When he was five years old the family moved to Davenport, Iowa, and then to Iowa’s capital, Des Moines, where he was raised, and where his father became a confections wholesaler.
When he was eight, his family moved to Miami, Florida, to escape from harsh midwestern winters.
As a boy he was very interested in flying.
One day his mother agreed to pay one dollar to get him into an airplane at the local carnival.
In the late 1920s, business issues forced Tibbets’s family to return to Alton, Illinois, where he graduated from Western Military Academy in 1933.
He then attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, and became an initiated member of the Epsilon Zeta Chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity in 1934.
During that time, Tibbets took private flying lessons at Miami’s Opa-locka Airport with Rusty Heard, who later became a captain at Eastern Airlines.
After his undergraduate work, Tibbets had planned on becoming an abdominal surgeon.
He transferred to the University of Cincinnati after his second year to complete his pre-med studies there, because the University of Florida had no medical school at the time.
In June 1941, Tibbets transferred to the 9th Bombardment Squadron of the 3d Bombardment Group at Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia, as the engineering officer, and flew the A-20 Havoc.
While there he was promoted to captain.
In December 1941, he received orders to join the 29th Bombardment Group at MacDill Field, Florida, for training on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress.
On 7 December 1941, Tibbets heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while listening to the radio during a routine flight.
Due to fears that German U-Boats might enter Tampa Bay and bombard MacDill Field, the 29th Bombardment Group moved to Savannah.
During World War II, Paul Tibbets was named commanding officer of the 340th Bomb Squadron, 97th Bomb Group, flying B-17 Flying Fortresses.
He flew more than 25 combat missions over occupied Europe and led the first bombardment missions in support of the North African invasion in Algeria.
The film Above and Beyond (1952) depicted the World War II events involving Paul Tibbets, with Robert Taylor starring as Tibbets and Eleanor Parker as his first wife, Lucy.
An interview of Paul Tibbets can be seen in the 1982 movie The Atomic Cafe.
He was also interviewed in the 1970s for the British documentary series The World at War.
Tibbets never expressed regret over his role in delivering or the use of the atomic bomb.
In 1995, he denounced the 50th anniversary exhibition of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Institution, which attempted to present the bombing in context with the destruction it caused, as a “damn big insult”, due to its focus on the Japanese casualties rather than the brutality of the Japanese government.
He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996.