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Built by Maritn-Omaha as a B-29-45-MO Superfortress at the Glenn L. Maritn Aircraft Plant in Bellevue, Nebraska. On May 9, 1945 one of fifteen B-29s selected by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., Commanding Officers (C. O.) of the 509th Composite Group (509th CG) while being built on the production line for "Silverplate" the code name for the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) portion of the Manhattan Project.
On May 18, 1945 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-29-45-MO Superfortress serial number 44-86292. Assigned to crew B-9 under the command of Captain Robert A. Lewis. On June 14, 1945 flown to Wendover Army Air Field, Utah.
Assigned to the 20th Air Force (20th AF), 509th Composite Group (509th CG), 393rd Bombardment Squadron (393rd BS) whose mission was to drop the first atomic bombs used in combat against Japan. On June 27, 1945 took off from Wendover Army Air Field on a ferry flight to Guam for additional bomb bay modification. On July 6, 1945 flown to North Field on Tinian. Assigned victor number 12.
During the remainder of July 1945, this B-29 made eight training missions plus two combat mission dropping "pumpkin bombs" (non-nuclear replica of the "Fat Man" bomb) on Kobe and Nagoya. On July 31, 1945 flew a training mission for the atomic bombing mission.
On August 1, 1945 assigned victor number 82 painted in black on the nose and tail markings of circle R of the 6th Bombardment Group (6th BG) as a security measure to give the appearance of a conventional bomber.
On August 5, 1945, Col. Tibbets assumed command of this bomber and nicknamed it "Enola Gay" after his mother Enola Gay Tibbets. The nickname was painted in black block letters on the left side of the nose by Allan L. Karl.
On August 6, 1945 loaded from Atomic Bomb Pit No. 1 with the atomic bomb nicknamed "Little Boy". 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. At 2:45am took off from North
Field on Tinian piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. bound for Hiroshima with alternate targets of Kokura and Nagasaki. At 08:15am from an altitude of 31,600' over Hiroshima released the atomic bomb and fifty seconds later it detonated. Afterwards, returned to North
Field Airfield on Tinian landing at 2:58pm.
Since the December 15, 2003 opening of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM) Udvar-Hazy
Center, the restored B-29 is on static display with jacks lifting it off the ground and a catwalks allowing visitors to see the nose view and look down from above. A clear protective shield protects the bomber's nose to prevent any vandalism by atomic protesters.
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