Paul Tibbets Biography

Died: Nov. 1, 2007 (Columbus, Ohio)
Best Known as: commander of the Enola Gay

Commander and pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. Tibbets joined the Army Air Corps in 1937 and led many bombing missions in Europe during World War II. In September 1944 he was ordered to find the best pilots and train for a secret mission known as the Manhattan Project. He and his crew lifted off the island of Tinian on Aug 6, 1945 carrying a uranium atomic bomb heading to the center of Hiroshima, Japan, and an important Japanese Army headquarters. They carried out a flawless mission, delivering the bomb on time. When it exploded it left tens of thousands dead. Tibbets and his crew were revered as heroes by Americans for avoiding huge casualties by ending the war. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for his efforts.