USAAF August 9, 1945
Justin Taylan 2000
Built by Boeing as a B-29-35-MO Superfortress at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Plant at Bellevue, Nebraska. One of fifteen B-29s modified as a silverplate and re-designated "Block 36" as a model
B-29A-40-MO Superfortress. Delivered to the U.S. Army on March 19, 1945. Assigned to crew C-13 including:
Aircraft Commander Captain Frederick C. Bock, Greenville, MI
Co-Pilot 1st Lieutenant Hugh Cardwell Ferguson, Sr., Highland Park, MI
Navigator 1st Lieutenant Leonard A. Godfrey, Jr., Greenfield, MA
Bombardier 1st Lieutenant Charles Levy, Philadelphia, PA
Engineer Master Sergeant Roderick F. Arnold, Rochester, MI
Assistant Engineer Sergeant Ralph D. Belanger, Thendara, NY
Radio Sergeant Ralph D. Curry, Hoopeston, IL
Radar Sergeant William C. Barney, Columbia City, IN
Tail Gunner Sergeant Robert J. Stock, Fort Wayne, IN
During April 1945, flown to Wendover Army Air Field, Utah. Afterwards, nicknamed "Bockscar" a play on Bock's surname with the nose art of a flying box car over rail road tracks. On June 11, 1945 departed Wendover Army Air Field on a ferry flight to North
Field Airstrip on Tinian Island arriving five days later.
Assigned to the 20th Air Force, 509th Composite Group, 393rd Bombardment Squadron with victor number 7. During June to July 1945, this B-29 flew thirteen training missions plus three combat mission over Japan including attacks three combat missions in which it dropped a pumpkin bomb (non-nuclear replication of the "Fat Man" bomb) against Niihama and Musashino.
On August 1, 1945 the victor number was changed to 77 and painted in black on the sides of the nose. The tail was given the triangle N markings of the 444th Bombardment Group (444th BG) as a security measure to give the appearance of a conventional bomber.
On August 9, 1945 this B-29 was loaded from Atomic Bomb Pit No. 2 with the plutonium bomb nicknamed "Fat Man". For the mission, this B-29 was flown by aircraft commander Major Charles W. Sweeney with crew C-15 usually assigned to B-29 "The Great Artiste" 44-27353:
Aircraft Commander Major Charles W. Sweeney, North Quincy, MA
Co-Pilot Captain Charles Donald "Don" Albury, Miami, FL
Regular Co-pilot Second Lieutenant Frederick "Fred" J. Olivi, Chicago, IL
Navigator Captain James F. Van Pelt, Jr., Oak Hill, WV
Bombardier Captain Kermit K. Beahan, Houston, TX
Engineer Master Sergeant John D. Kuharek, Columbus, NE
Assistant Engineer Staff Sergeant Raymond C. Gallagher, Gunner, Chicago, IL
Radar Staff Sergeant Edward K. Buckley, Lisbon, OH
Radar Sergeant Abe M. Spitzer, Bronx, NY
Tail Gunner Sergeant Albert T. "Pappy" DeHart, Plainview, TX
Took off at 3:49am from North
Field Airstrip on Tinian Island. After take off it flew to a rendezvous point to meet two other B-29 "The Great Artiste" 44-27353 piloted by Captain Frederick C Bock
(who has exchanged planes with Sweeney for the mission) and B-29 44-27354 piloted
by Major James I Hopkins. At the rendezvous point, Hopkins bomber did not arrive in time. The pair waited for an extra thirty before proceeding together.
Although B-29 "Enola Gay" 44-86292 had flown a weather reconnaissance mission over the primary
target Kokura reported it as clear, by the time both B-29s arrived, the target was obscured by smoke from the bombing of Yawata. Ordered to drop the bomb visually and not by radar, "Bockscar" made three unsuccessful bombing runs then diverted to the secondary target Nagasaki.
Over Nagasaki at 28,900' at 10:58 local time, the "Fat Man" atomic bomb was released at 11:01am and exploded 47 seconds later. The Japanese estimated 24,000 were killed, while U.S. estimated about 35,000. Afterwards, all three B-29s landed at Yontan Airfield on Okinawa, refuel then took off again and return to North
Field Airstrip at 23:39.
Afterwards, flown back to the United States. On September 11, 1946 placed into storage at the Davis-Monthan Museum with fuselage code “89” with tail circle R.
On September 26, 1961 delivered to the USAF Museum and displayed at the World War II aviation hanger with a replica "Fat Man" atomic bomb.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-29-35-MO Superfortress 44-27297
"27297 to the Martin Modification Center, Omaha, NB, for Code Silverplate conversion for the carriage of atomic weapons. Field number 77. Assigned to 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group. Was "Bockscar"--the Nagasaki bomber Aug 9, 1945. Attached to 509th Composite Group, 393rd Composite Squadron, Roswell,NM: Davis-Monthan to CL-32 (Museum) 11 Sep 1946. Delivered to Wright Patterson AFB Sep 26, 1961. Now on display at WPAFB Museum."
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November 9, 2019