November 2, 2007

Pilot who dropped first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima dies

He will be always remembered as the person that bombed Hiroshima. It is not surprise that he doesn't want anyone to remember him even after his death. He had requested no funeral and no headstone, fearing it would be a target for protesters.

HE DROPPED a bomb that turned a city into an ugly smear, obliterating tens of thousands of lives and giving birth to the nuclear age.

Paul Tibbets, the pilot who dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, said he was never proud of killing 80,000 people. But he insisted he had no regrets, and slept well at night.
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He died yesterday at 92, more than 60 years after leading a mission which introduced the world to nuclear war, but also turned Hiroshima into the ultimate warning against its horrors.

On 6 August 1945, the 30-year-old Colonel Tibbets flew a B-29 bomber with 14 crew over Japan. He named the plane for his mother, Enola Gay, and the five-tonne bomb "Little Boy". Two other B-29s flew with him, one with instruments and the other for photography.

The bomb was dropped at 8:15am after a six-hour flight. "If Dante had been with us on the plane, he would have been terrified," Tibbets said later. "The city we had seen so clearly in the sunlight a few minutes before was now an ugly smudge. It had completely disappeared under this awful blanket of smoke and fire."

Tibbets died at his home in Columbus, Ohio, said Gerry Newhouse, a longtime friend. He suffered from a variety of health problems and had been in decline for two months.

He had requested no funeral and no headstone, fearing it would be a target for protesters. He sometimes said he wanted his ashes spread over the English Channel, where he loved to fly during the war.

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