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.
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).
Check it out
The plutonium bomb was the only weapon that was tested.
R.I.P., Admiral Ashworth.
Happy Nagasaki Day, y'all! ;>)
Little Boy was 12.5-15 kilotons. Trinity and Fat Man were around 20-22 kilotons.
I wondered if anyone was going to point out their mistake. Good looking out.
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