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Aug. 6, 1945

Sale 1032 /  Lot 172 

Dear Mom and Dad

Bombing of Hiroshima Lewis, Robert A. Captain U.S. Army Air Corps

Hold for Top Secret Clearance


Lewis, Robert A.

Aircraft Boeing B-29 Superfortress No. 82 “Enola Gay” Strike Plane Serial Number: B-29-45-MO 44-86292

Flight Crew 509th Composite Group Operation Centerboard I

Bomb unit L11 “Little Boy” U-235

Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. Pilot and Aircraft Commander Captain Robert A. Lewis Co-Pilot Major Thomas W. Ferebee Bombardier Captain Theodore J. “Dutch” Van Kirk Navigator Technical Sergeant Wyatt E. Duzenberry Flight Engineer Sergeant Robert H. Shumard Assistant Flight Engineer Private First Class Richard H. Nelson VHF Radio Operator Technical Sergeant George R. “Bob” Caron Tail Gunner Sergeant Joe S. Stiborik Radar Operator

Mission Specialists 509th Composite Group Operation Centerboard I

U.S. Navy Captain William S. “Deak” Parsons Weaponeer and Bomb Commander Lieutenant Jacob Beser Radar Countermeasures Second Lieutenant Morris R. Jeppson Assistant Weaponeer

Deleted from Operation Centerboard I

William L. Laurence Science Writer – New York Times

Aug. 6, 1945


Lewis, Robert A.

24:00 Little Boy Mission #1 Briefing

02:45 We got off the ground.

which meant a rougher trip… …at the last minute before take-off our cruising altitude has been changed…

02:35 We taxied out to take off.

02:27 We started the engines.

Aug. 6, 1945


Lewis, Robert A.

03:20

03:20

04:20

Items 1–11 were completed by Captain Parsons. The fact is 45 minutes out of our base everyone is at work… Colonel Tibbets has been hard at work with the usual tasks that belong to the pilot of a B–29.

Captain Van Kirk, navigator, and Sergeant Stiborik, radar operator, are in continuous conversation [on the interphone], as they are shooting bearings on the northern Marianas and making radar wind runs.

Captain Van Kirk sends me word that we will be at Iwo Jima at 05:25, so we’ll just have to check on him to see if he is right.

The Colonel, better known as “Old Bull,” shows signs of a tough day, with all he had to do to get this mission off. He is deserving of a few winks, so I’ll have a bite to eat and look after “George” [the automatic pilot].

Aug. 6, 1945


Lewis, Robert A.

I think everyone will feel relieved when we have left our bomb with the Japs and get halfway home. Or, better still, all the way home.

04:30

05:00

05:51

We saw signs of a late moon in the east.

The first signs of dawn came to us. It is a nice sight after having spent the previous 30 minutes dodging large cumulus clouds.

It looks that we will have clear sailing for a long spell.

Tom Ferebee has been very quiet. Methinks he is mentally back in the midwest part of old U.S.A.

Aug. 6, 1945


Lewis, Robert A.

It is real light outside. 05:52

05:52

07:10

We are only a few miles from Iwo Jima. We are beginning to climb to a new altitude, at which, we will remain until we are about one hour away from the Empire.

After leaving Iwo Jima we began to pick up some low strata and before very long we were flying on top of an undercast.

The undercast began to break up just a little.

Outside cirrus an it is a ver We are now about two hours

Aug. 6, 1945


Lewis, Robert A.

Knock on wood.

We are now loaded.

The bomb is now alive. It is a funny feeling knowing it’s right in back of you.

07:30 Captain Parsons has put the final touches on his assembly job.

of a high thin nd the low stuff, ry beautiful day. from Bombs Away.

Aug. 6, 1945


Lewis, Robert A.

07:40

Not long now folks.

We started our climb to 30,000 feet. We have now set the automatic pilot for the last time until Bombs Away. I have checked with all concerned and all stations report satisfactorily.

08:30

08:50

We have reached proper altitude.

We are approaching our primary.

Dick Nelson received a report from the weather plane that our primary is the best target, so, with everything going well so far, we will make a bombing run on Hiroshima right now.

Ferebee, Van Kirk and Stibork are coming into their own while the Colonel and I are standing by and are giving the boys what they want.

We are now only 25 miles from the Empire, and everyone has a big hopeful look on his face.

Aug. 6, 1945


Lewis, Robert A.

There’ll be a short intermission while we bomb our target… Tom Ferebee synchronized on his brief A.P. [Aiming Point] and let go.

09:15 The bomb, code-named “Little Boy,” fell earthwards from the aircraft’s open bomb bay.

09:16:02 [08:16:02 Local Time] The bomb’s detonation occurred.

No one knew what would happen. The bombardier and the pilot both forgot to put on their dark glasses and witnessed a flash. There were two very distinctive slaps. That was all the physical effects that we felt. We turned the ship so that we could observe the results...

Aug. 6, 1945


Lewis, Robert A.

There in front of our eyes was without a doubt the greatest explosion man has ever witnessed. The city was 50 per cent covered with smoke and a large column of white cloud which in less than three minutes reached 30,000 feet and then went at least 50,000 feet.

I am certain the entire crew felt this experience was more than any one human had ever thought possible.

It just seemed impossible to comprehend.

Aug. 6, 1945


Lewis, Robert A.

Just how many Japs did we kill? I honestly have the feeling of groping for words to explain this or I might say

my God what have we done?

If I live a hundred years, I’ll never quite get these few minutes out of my mind‌

Everyone on the ship is actually dumbstruck even though we had expected something fierce. The actual sight caused the crew to feel they were part of Buck Rodgers 25th century warriors. We headed home..

Aug. 6, 1945


Love to all, Bud.


The Enola Gay