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Apr 2 2006

General Paul W. Tibbets

Today Drew, his uncle David and I had a boys day out and went to the Wanenmacher's arms show, the world's largest gun and knife show covering eleven acres and more than 3900 exhibitor tables!


At the show, we got to meet ninety-one year old General Paul W. Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. 394-enola-gay-book.jpgHe signed his book, Return of the Enola Gay, which had already been signed by the Enola Gay's navigator, Major Theodore J. Van Kirk. Tibbets also signed for us a photo of him and the Enola Gay.

General Tibbets is well known for having no regrets for his actions which comes as no surprise since, by most estimates, the dropping of the bomb saved a million U.S. lives and countless millions of Japanese lives which would have been lost in a full scale invasion of Japan. The argument can even be made that the dropping of the bomb was the greatest humanitarian act of all time. Can you think of another single act which saved more lives?


Interestingly, press releases of General Tibbets' visit to Tulsa had been sent to all the radio and television stations in town, yet none of them mentioned his visit. Does anyone believe if somebody from Hiroshima who survived the bomb blast had come to Tulsa that the media would ignore it? Or, if General Tibbets was an apologist speaking out against nuclear weapons? How sad that the someone of his historical magnitude gets the cold shoulder from the liberal media. If they can't rewrite history, they ignore it.

Posted by Don |


  1. Great job Don!

    Frady, A1C-AFJROTC NJ782nd

  2. #2
    jag said on May 15, 2006 | Reply

    It is an outrage that this war ciminal is eulogised on these pathetic pages.

  3. #3
    Don said on May 15, 2006 | Reply

    No, a war criminal is someone who thinks we should have wasted more than a million U.S. soldier's lives and 5-10 million Japanese lives instead of doing what the hero General Paul W. Tibbets did.

  4. #4
    jag said on May 15, 2006 | Reply

    With all due respect Don, that is wild speculation that isn't consistent with the facts at the time. The premise and the numbers are ridiculous attempts to legitimise a speculative position. Whatever you believe in that regard I can't reconcile that you find it necessary or even possible to elevate someone who orchestrated the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians a "hero". What is heroic about his actions? The best thing that could be said is that he was just doing his job and leave it at that. Elevating him to hero status is an evil.

  5. #5
    Don said on May 15, 2006 | Reply

    Ever heard of Operation Downfall...the Allied plan for the invasion of Japan at the end of World War II? One doesnt just island hop to the Japanese mainland and then think, for the first time, about how a full scale invasion might be done and what type of casualties would be expected. The estimates of casualties are only speculative in that they were analyzed in advanced and not actually counted. Otherwise, Operation Downfall was and remains one of the most analyzed military campaigns in the history of the world to happen or, most fortunately in this case, not happen.

    "At the time, the development of the atomic bomb was a very closely guarded secret, known only to a few top officials outside the Manhattan Project, and planning for the invasion did not take its existence into consideration." Accordingly, the estimates at the time were not trying to justify use of the atomic bomb because the planners and people estimating didn't know about the bomb.

    Here's an extended quote from Wikipedia on Operation Downfall:

    "Given the Japanese predilection for fanatical resistance, the fact that Japanese civilians were being encouraged to become suicide attackers, and the large number of Japanese troops to be faced, high casualties were seen to be inevitable, but nobody knew with certainty how high. Several people made estimates but they varied widely in numbers, assumptions, and purposes—which included advocating for and against the invasion—afterwards, they were reused to argue for and against the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Everybody based their estimates on the experience of the preceding campaigns, but they could draw different lessons:

    In a study done by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in April, the figures of 7.45 casualties/1000 man-days and 1.78 fatalities/1000 man-days were developed. This implied that a 90-day Olympic campaign would cost 456,000 casualties, including 109,000 dead or missing. If Coronet took another 90 days, the combined cost would be 1,200,000 casualties, with 267,000 fatalities.

    A study done by Adm. Nimitz's staff in May estimated 49,000 casualties in the first 30 days, including 5,000 at sea. A study done by Gen. MacArthur's staff in June estimated 23,000 in the first 30 days and 125,000 after 120 days. When these figures were questioned by Gen. Marshall, MacArthur submitted a revised estimate of 105,000, in part by deducting wounded men able to return to duty.

    In a conference with President Truman on 18 June, Marshall, taking Luzon as the best model for Olympic, thought the Americans would suffer 31,000 casualties in the first 30 days (and ultimately 20% of Japanese casualties, which implied a total of 70,000 casualties). Adm. Leahy, more impressed by Okinawa, thought the American forces would suffer a 35% casualty rate (implying an ultimate toll of 268,000). Adm. King thought that casualties in the first 30 days would fall between Luzon and Okinawa, i.e., between 31,000 and 41,000.

    Of these estimates, only Nimitz's included losses of the forces at sea, though in the Battle of Okinawa kamikazes had inflicted 1.78 fatalities per kamikaze pilot, and the troop transports off Kyushu would be much more exposed.

    A study done for Secretary of War Henry Stimson's staff by William Shockley estimated that conquering Japan would cost 1.7–4 million American casualties, including 400,000–800,000 fatalities, and five to ten million Japanese fatalities. The key assumption was large-scale participation by civilians in the defense of Japan.

    Outside the government, well-informed civilians were also making guesses. Kyle Palmer, war correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, said half a million to a million Americans would die by the end of the war. Herbert Hoover, in memorandums submitted to Truman and Stimson, also estimated 500,000–1,000,000 fatalities, and were believed to be conservative estimates; but it is not known if Hoover discussed these specific figures in his meetings with Truman. The chief of the Army Operations division thought them "entirely too high" under "our present plan of campaign."

    For context, the Battle of Normandy had cost 63,000 casualties in the first 48 days. The Battle of Okinawa caused 72,000 casualties, of whom 18,900 were killed or missing over about 82 days . Several thousand soldiers who died indirectly whether because of wounds or other causes at a later date are not included. The entire war cost the United States a total of just over a million casualties, with 400,000 fatalities."

    So mister "wild speculation"...do you have any estimates of casualties for conquering Japan which would have resulted in less deaths than dropping the atomic bomb(s)? I've never seen one, but the whole scale revisionism necessary to come to such a result would be a hilarious read.

    "More civilians died in the Battle of Okinawa than did in the initial blast of the atomic bombings." And, Okinawa was going to be nothing compared to what an invasion of the mainland would have been.

    It is absolutely objectively irrefutable that the dropping of the atomic bombs saved many more lives than they cost. The saving of those lives makes Tibbets and everyone associated with the making and dropping of the bombs heroes.

    More from Wiki on Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

    According to some Japanese historians, Japanese civilian leaders who favored surrender saw their salvation in the atomic bombing. The Japanese military was steadfastly refusing to give up, as were the military men in the war cabinet. (Because the cabinet functioned by consensus, even one holdout could prevent it from accepting the Declaration.) Thus the peace faction seized on the bombing as a new argument to force surrender. Koichi Kido, one of Emperor Hirohito's closest advisors, stated: "We of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war." Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief Cabinet secretary in 1945, called the bombing "a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war." According to these historians and others, the pro-peace civilian leadership was able to use the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to convince the military that no amount of courage, skill and fearless combat could help Japan against the power of atomic weapons.

    How about that...I'd call someone who delivered to the enemy's door step "a golden opportunity given by heaven" a hero!

    Oh, and don't even try to say we shouldn't have invaded or dropped the bomb: "waiting for the Japanese to surrender was not a cost-free option—as a result of the war, noncombatants were dying throughout Asia at a rate of about 200,000 per month."

    And, don't forget, "an order given by the Japanese War Ministry on August 1, 1944. The order dealt with the disposal and execution of all Allied POWs, numbering over 100,000, if an invasion of the Japanese mainland took place. (It is also likely that, considering Japan's previous treatment of POWs, were the Allies to wait out Japan and starve it, the Japanese would have killed all Allied POWs and Chinese prisoners.)"

  6. #6
    jag said on May 15, 2006 | Reply

    You're being quite disingenuous here. The invasion plan and figures that you quote are from a period well before the bombs were dropped and the projections are based on a Japan at the height of its power. It is a fact that the Japanese had initiated talks with the allies more than 2 months prior to the disgraceful waste of life that was to be. The Japanese were beaten and they knew it. Many lives would have been saved had the US done the right thing and negotiated a surrender.
    I had a family member who was involved and privy to the highest levels of wartime strategy. He never ever forgave either the Japanese for their brutality (toward POWs) or the Americans for theirs. I doubt that he would be surprised by what is happening in the name of the US today. Most of the rest of us are.

  7. #7
    Don said on May 15, 2006 | Reply

    The articles I quote and history I have read all back up those numbers. They are not dependant on Japan being at the height of its power but, rather, the exact opposite that it was in its last and most desperate times. I'm waiting for a link to your better numbers.

    You simply saying something does not refute my reference to actual sources. The theory that we could have just talked Japan into surrendering is pure revisionist history which, on this site, is one of the worst offenses you can commit.

    "According to some Japanese historians, Japanese civilian leaders who favored surrender saw their salvation in the atomic bombing. The Japanese military was steadfastly refusing to give up, as were the military men in the war cabinet."

    It is so frustrating that you do not know your WWII history. Yes, there were those in Japan who wanted a negotiated peace and some that even wanted to surrender, both none of those people were making the decisions. It's like me talking to your neighbor to get you to stop posting on my family website, it won't have any effect and you'll continue to post as much as you want...right up until I drop the atomic ban bomb.

    Oh, and I had a family member involved in even higher levels of war time strategy and I'm reading directly from his notes so that absolves me from having to back up my arguments too.

  8. Well written and well reasoned, Don. I hope it's all right, but I used a cropped version of your image to illustrate an account of meeting with Gen. Tibbets on my own blog. (With credit, of course.) Your picture shows him exactly as I remember him.

  9. #9
    Matt Gibbs said on August 10, 2006 | Reply

    I had the great pleasure and honor of meeting Paul Tibbets and obtaining and autograph on Aug. 6, 2006 (the anniversary of the bombing) at a gun show in Las Vegas.
    Why would you even have a debate with a person who cannot even see simple facts. If an invasion of Japan occured, Americans would die, period. A couple hundred thousand Japanese die. Tough, they started the war, we ended.

  10. #10
    J.G.Dare said on November 6, 2006 | Reply

    We are talking here about a country upon which no foreign invader had set upon during its 5000 year history and whose citizens could..

    a/ Behead kneeling prisoners with hands tied behind their backs.

    b/ Volunteer for 'Kamikaze' suicide missions.

    c/ Commit 'Hari-kari' to avoid losing face/shame etc.

    d/ Submit POW's to unspeakable torture.

    Surrender during 'hand to hand' combat upon invasion of their own land, remembering Iwo Jima and Okinawa?

    I dont think so.

  11. #11
    Wondering said on November 1, 2007 | Reply

    I find JAGs comments typical of someone who knows nothing about anything but wants us all to believe he does. He alludes to supposed facts during the war, nice armchair quarterbacking Yep, really impressed me with HIS analysis. I don't see him posting any analysis he or anyone else did at the time...nope, can't have that.....yes, allude to some high level family member, based on facts we cannot review or challenge here, what report did he write, who reviewed it, not named, why not? nope, we lowlifes cannot know that....only JAG is privy to this information......of course the only thing JAG most likely piloted is a beer to his mouth. Now I wonder if that was done correctly????

    Great job Don and the rest. Lets not let one person with no experience in anything worth mentioning here ruin the man who will live as a hero for the rest of history.

  12. #12
    Don said on November 1, 2007 | Reply

    Paul Tibbets died today at his Columbus, Ohio, home at the age of 92.

    Rest in peace Mr. Tibbets, and as I said to you in person, thank you for your service and for a job well done.

  13. Sorry Gen. Paul W. Tebbutt today very especial day.Rest in Peace
    sorry about my ingls ai Brasilian. Im widow Capitain Wayne Tebbutt.
    Tank you.

  14. #14
    Sheryl said on November 7, 2007 | Reply

    What a sad day for our Country in losing another Greatest Generation.

    If it were not for the Enola Gay, I probably would not be here because my father was on a troop ship heading for Japan after fighting the germans in north africa and italy for years.

    Let us opposition to using the bomb to end the war to remeber what the Japanesse did to the Chinese babies, throwing them up in the air and sticking their bayonet in them. Our Allied forces would have been killed a slow death.

    I salute Gen. Paul Tibbets and his family, what a burden he carried for 60+ years, he did his job just like any good soldier would do.

  15. #15
    Army daughter said on November 27, 2007 | Reply

    I am a proud daughter of a WWII veteran that was on a troop carrier heading for the invasion of Japan when word of the surrender turned their ship around. I believe if it had not been for the decision of President Truman, I might not have been born. Gen. Tibbets was doing what good Americans do, follow orders ......................

    To Gen. Paul Tibbets family, thank you.

    It saddens me when I read that another of the Greatest Generation has gone. One of these days, there will be no more left and the responsibility will be ours to carry on their legacy.

    My Pop was WWII, Korea 30 veteran, my son 3rd gen. Army who is proudly serving in Iraq as a Paratrooper.

  16. #16
    timothy sexton said on February 5, 2008 | Reply

    what kind of plane did u fly to drop the bomb

  17. #17
    Don said on February 5, 2008 | Reply

    Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. flew the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress bomber (B-29-45-MO, serial number 44-86292, victor number 82) with "Silverplate" modifications necessary to deliver nuclear weapons assigned to the USAAF's 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group.

  18. #18
    Eric V. Brummitty said on June 8, 2009 | Reply

    I am a veteran of two (2 ) tours of duty In Korea as a Navy Corpsman
    and it enrages me to see some idiot who considers themselves to be
    Omniscent refer to General Tibbets as a war criminal. Had he not delivered the bomb as ordered by President Truman that person might not exist today.

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