Col. Paul tibbetts credit: wikipedia

Col. Paul tibbetts
credit: wikipedia

On August 6, 1945, Col. Paul Tibbetts flew the Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber named for his mother on a raid over Hiroshima, Japan. The Enola Gay dropped “Little Boy,” a uranium bomb, in the first use of a nuclear bomb in combat.

Enola Gay

Enola Gay

Seventy year later, Brig. General Paul W. Tibbetts IV earned a historic milestone of his own. From Fox News: 

Brig. Gen. Tibbetts (R)

Brig. Gen. Tibbetts (R)

A grandson and namesake of the man who piloted the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II took over leadership Friday of the United States’ aging fleet of nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers.

"Little Boy" being loaded into the Enola Gay credit: museum-mm.org

“Little Boy” being loaded into the Enola Gay
credit: museum-mm.org

Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV took command of the 509th Bomb Wing during a ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, replacing Brig. Gen. Glen VanHerck, who has led the wing since February 2014.

Tibbets’ grandfather, Paul W. Tibbets Jr., was assigned to a predecessor of the 509th Bomb Wing when he piloted the Enola Gay in the world’s first atomic bomb mission on Aug. 6, 1945. The bomb destroyed much of Hiroshima and killed tens of thousands of its citizens. Paul W. Tibbets Jr. died in 2007.

Like his ancestor, Gen. Tibbetts is dedicated to the mission:

Tibbets told about 500 people attending the ceremony in a hangar at the base that his grandfather would be ‘touched by your appreciation for his service and the service of those that he was with back in that time.’

His grandfather would also tell them, Tibbets said, that ‘he’s counting on you, he’s counting on us, today’s generation of airmen, to continue as you do each and every day to raise the bar and set the standard and continue the great work that our nation relies on us to to do.

B-2 "Spirit" bomber credit: wikipedia

B-2 “Spirit” bomber
credit: wikipedia

Tibbetts, a B-2 bomber pilot, commands our single wing of 20 B-2 bombers. Our bomber force now consists only of the B-52, an aircraft far older than the pilots and crews flying it, the B-1 and a handful of B2 stealth bombers.

Tragically, our current national command authority is working hard to make the use of additional atomic weapons, by Israel and perhaps even eventually America, a necessity. Still, it’s good to see that over the generations, the torch is still faithfully carried.

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