Skip to comments.Weaponeer on Nagasaki A-Bomb Dies at 94
Posted on 12/06/2005 12:59:00 PM PST by Borges
SANTA FE, N.M. - Frederick L. "Dick" Ashworth, the weaponeer aboard the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, has died at 94.
He died Saturday while undergoing heart surgery in Phoenix, family friend Glen Smith said.
Ashworth, who retired in 1968 as a Navy vice admiral, was assigned to the Los Alamos-based Manhattan Project that built the A-bomb.
Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, he was aboard the bomber that dropped a weapon nicknamed Little Boy on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. Ashworth was assigned as the weaponeer, responsible for arming the bomb during the flight. Estimates of the death toll in Nagasaki range from 60,000 to 80,000.
Ashworth, in an August talk to a Los Alamos historical group, said the mission was "fraught with problems," including clouds that hid the city of Kokura, which was the primary target, the potential for a crash landing with the bomb aboard and low fuel after the weapon exploded.
The weather over Kokura was so bad that B-29 named Bock's Car after its usual commander, Frederick Bock flew on to Nagasaki.
Ashworth said that during the return flight, the crew heard a radio report that the Japanese had approached the Swiss about surrender. "That gave us a pretty good inkling that maybe, by golly, the war might be over," he recalled.
Japan surrendered unconditionally on Aug. 15.
Ashworth was born in Beverly, Mass., and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933. After the war, he did military liaison work with the Atomic Energy Commission and commanded the Navy's Sixth Fleet, then based in France.
He is survived by his wife, Ercie Bell Ashworth; three sons; three grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
Services are set for Thursday at Santa Fe National Cemetery.
He saved millions of lives! God Bless him! True Hero!
Bocks Car still resides at the Wright-Patterson AFB museum.
Thousands of WWII veterans visit it every day. They run their hands along the plane, (that is still 100% intact and probably flyable) and cry.
Thank you, it had to be done. May his family remember him with pride.
Thank you, it had to be done. May his family remember him with pride.
Another of our World War II airman gone. Very sad. My father, who piloted B-17s is now 81. He's doing OK, but I know I won't have him with me forever. We are losing that generation at an accellerating pace.
As usual the AP proves they're a bunch of morons.
"Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima. "Fat Man" was dropped on Nagasaki.
Correction to post 3
Thousands visit it every year, not day.
I wonder how quickly the "insurgents" would stop if we nuked one the "sunni trianle cities"?
Dart board approach to which city works for me!
Mecca works just fine.
During the Haj is even better.
I know a geologist in town who is in his eighties and was a B-17 pilot whose plane went down and was a POW in Germany.
May God bless and keep him.
Ashworth had a flying career in Europe prior to his stint at Los Alamos. Basically, he became an atomic ballistics guy like Deak Parsons. Ashworth's job was much easier than Parson's. Ashworth, iirc, only had to switch the arming plugs on Fat Man from Green (Safe) to Red (Live). Parsons had to actually go into the bomb bay and arm the rifle in Little Boy's ass end.
Brave men, all.
BTW, Bock's Car is in flyable condition, with some restoration at the Boeing facility in Wichita. Enola Gay has been restored to such condition that it, too, could be brought into airworthy condition after reworking and rewiring at Boeing.
Be Seeing You,
The aiming point on that Sunday morning was the Nagasaki cathedral. In less than a minute, these American Christians did what Japanese shintos had been unable to do in three centuries: they obliterated the worshipping Christian community in that city.
If the japanese were talking to the Swiss they wee wasting their time. Switzerland didnt have any A bombs in the air.
They certainly knew who to call after Nagasaki.
I hate AP. Bockscar dropped "Fat Man" on Nagasaki. "Little Boy" was the Hiroshima bomb.
How many Christians died at Pearl Harbor or the Bataan Death March, or in the Rape of Nanking. And how many would have been slaughtered by the Japanese had we not dropped Fat Man and Little Boy?
I would like to personaly thank him and his family for keeping my father from going back to the Pacific theater for a Japan, main island, invasion (after resting state side in a military hospital) and for making ME possible.
Actually the assigned aiming point was missed by miles as Nagasaki was covered in clouds. Bock's Car had enough fuel for only one pass before heading for Okinawa. If they couldn't drop visually (as required by their orders) they were going to drop by radar. However, the bombardier found a hole in the clouds and released the weapon. It actually landed in the industrial area of the city which was in a valley. Because of this, the number of dead was much lower than at Hiroshima even though Little Boy had a yield of 12.5 Kilotons while Fat Man had a yield of ~21 Kilotons.
When was Bocks Car moved from Wright Patterson? I saw it there in the nuke display 3 years ago.
Interesting comment. The nuns who taught me something they called "history" when I was a kid always harped on that point as proof that the Protestant leaders in the US deliberately chose Hiroshima and Nagasaki as targets for the atomic bombs in order to wipe out Catholicism in Japan. I didn't buy it then either.
"I know a geologist in town who is in his eighties and was a B-17 pilot whose plane went down and was a POW in Germany."
Bock's Car is still at Wright Patterson.
"Bockscar is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio."
That's Wright Patterson.
I re-read your post and applied english grammar from Sister Ann Marie.
What about the Germans? Do you regret their loss too?
Would it be OK if Only Shintos were obliterated?
God bless this true hero who saved millions of Americans!
"Three days after the bombing of Hiroshima, he was aboard the bomber that dropped a weapon nicknamed Little Boy on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945"
Hey! Fat Man was dropped on Nagasaki! Not Little Boy--that was Hiroshima! What idiots write this crap?? Funny this jerks don't have an email address to point out their stupidity! If ya can't get it right, then don't even do it!
Well, this cautionary tale should be told to all the school children: atomic power is bad. Due to the radiation he recieved from being so close to an atomic blast, his life was cut short.
Yep. And did a damned fine job of it!
My Dads ship had been hit and almost sunk twice by Kamakazie raids. He was back near Japan dreading the ivasion of the country. He had three brothers in the service that were Army and would have got to be in the invasion. I know they and their mates are thrilled about not having to go in. We are blessed that our Heavenly Father gave us the pride of our power to end this debackle. We have all but lost that pride today by not stomping islime like the satanic cockroach that it is.
Urban legend. By the way, 9 August 1945 was a Thursday, not a Sunday. To think that Charles Sweeney, the Roman Catholic pilot of Bocks Car, made three passes over the primary target, Kokura, instructed Beahan not to drop the bomb because of cloud cover, then flew to Nagasaki, placing himself, his crew and the airplane at additional extreme risk, and then had the bombardier pick out the Catholic Cathedral through the overcast just so the relatively few number of Catholics living in Nagasaki prefecture could be "obliterated" is absurd. Your tin-foil hat is too tight.
Incidentally, the name of the Catholic Cathedral in Nagasaki was and still is Urakami Cathedral.
May he see the face of God, and may God bless him and keep him forever. My prayers are with hs family, and he was a great patriot and warrior. We need more like him today.
Ashworth armed the bomb after takeoff.
Ohboy...here it comes...swine reporter.
Yer busted. Bock's Car is at Wright. I saw it on line. My wife and I were going to visit her, but Katrina was blowing through Ohio when we were there....
Little Boy was tough to measure. I think it was the only U-235 bomb built. I could be wrong. I've been called an imbecile before....
(Briol was wifey's uncle)
Thought you may be interested.
One of a few. There were some uranium-only weapons tested in the various programs following the war. Operation Ivy, for example, had the Ivy King test, a 500 kt uranium bomb, that was part of the program that produced the first thermonuclear explosion (Ivy Mike).