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Last surviving Enola Gay crewman dies in Stone Mountain
Atlanta Journal-Constitution ^ | 7/29/2014 | Mike Morris and Steve Visser

Posted on 07/29/2014 3:47:56 PM PDT by iowamark

The last surviving crewman of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, died overnight at his Stone Mountain home.

Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, 93, was the navigator on the Aug. 6, 1945 flight that dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb.

With the 2010 death of Morris Jeppson, Van Kirk became the only one of the dozen crew members left.

For a number of years, he lived at a retirement community in Stone Mountain where by chance he found himself sharing the place with James Starnes, an Atlantan who had a front-row seat at history. Starnes was the navigator on the USS Missouri and the mighty battleship’s officer of the deck on Sept. 2, 1945 who greeted Japanese officials boarding to officially surrender.

“We were two individuals who happened to be at historic dates,” said Starnes, who said his friend died Monday after being hospitalized for a few weeks. “The passing always hurts so much. I told someone today that this was the first time I shed a tear for someone in a long time.”

(Excerpt) Read more at ajc.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: enolagay; milhist; obituary; theodorevankirk; veteran; wwii

Handout photo of Capt. Theodore Van Kirk, center, as he and the rest of the crew return from the mission over Hiroshima, Japan Aug. 6, 1945. He was the navigator. Next to the left is Col. Paul Tibbetts, flight commander.
1 posted on 07/29/2014 3:47:56 PM PDT by iowamark
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To: iowamark

Farewell to a true hero.


2 posted on 07/29/2014 3:50:29 PM PDT by Lets Roll NOW (A baby isn't a punishment, Obama is)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson; henkster

ping


3 posted on 07/29/2014 3:50:38 PM PDT by iowamark (I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy)
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To: iowamark

Another Flier goin’ up to Heaven!


4 posted on 07/29/2014 3:55:43 PM PDT by Young Werther (Julius Caesar said "Quae cum ita sunt. Since these things are so.".)
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To: iowamark

THE GREATEST GENERATION


5 posted on 07/29/2014 3:55:44 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Rat Party Policy:Lie,Deny,Refuse To Comply)
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To: iowamark

Our precious WWII veterans are passing so quickly. May the Lord comfort his family.


6 posted on 07/29/2014 4:00:47 PM PDT by WXRGina (The Founding Fathers would be shooting by now.)
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To: iowamark

Bttt.

5.56mm


7 posted on 07/29/2014 4:03:08 PM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: iowamark

Could we wage WW2 today with our media?

There’d be constant photos of the dead babies and children from this bombing. Or Dresden.


8 posted on 07/29/2014 4:03:18 PM PDT by TigerClaws
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To: Gay State Conservative

Those men were heroes. They saved an entire generation of GI’s from dying in Kyushu and on the Tokyo Plain.

Vaya con Dios, Captain Van Kirk.


9 posted on 07/29/2014 4:03:38 PM PDT by section9
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To: iowamark

Listening to my 91 year-old mother describe the news of that day is amazing.

Another hero gone.


10 posted on 07/29/2014 4:05:53 PM PDT by Loud Mime (arguetheconstitution.com See if the video makes sense to you.)
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To: TigerClaws
Could we wage WW2 today with our media?

No. We couldn't.

11 posted on 07/29/2014 4:06:22 PM PDT by Skooz (Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us)
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To: iowamark

Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, 93, was the navigator on the Aug. 6, 1945 flight that dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb.


From one navigator to another: job well done, rest in peace.


12 posted on 07/29/2014 4:09:46 PM PDT by OwenKellogg (Fundamental transformation leads to ... you don't want to go there, buddy.)
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To: iowamark

Duty well served. RIP


13 posted on 07/29/2014 4:17:33 PM PDT by X Fretensis (How)
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To: iowamark

Rest in Peace Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk and in the arms of God. Am certain God understands why that bomb had to be dropped. Prayers for all of the friends and family of “Dutch”


14 posted on 07/29/2014 4:24:24 PM PDT by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
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To: TigerClaws
Could we wage WW2 today with our media?

Absolutely not, but not because of the media. They'll be very willing accomplices, but the last 80 years have completely destroyed any semblance of honor or patriotism in youth. I fear that if another World War churns to life in my lifetime, complete with a draft/conscription, we'll see American boys (and girls, trannies, whatever) surrendering to the enemy on the battlefield to save their own tails.

America today is no where near America circa 1930, and part of me doubts it ever could be again.

15 posted on 07/29/2014 4:25:03 PM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: iowamark; zot

Rest in peace.


16 posted on 07/29/2014 4:27:49 PM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: iowamark

Is it typical to have a guy with the rank of colonel as part of a flight crew? I think of colonels as being upper management in an office somewhere.


17 posted on 07/29/2014 4:30:47 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: iowamark

According to my calculations (based on the the fact that 150,000 or a quarter of the civilian population of Okinawa was killed during the invasion there in addition to the 12,000 allied and 110,000 Japanese military deaths) the atomic bombings (which caused a combined total of 246,000 Japanese deaths) saved 18.75 million Japanese lives and perhaps 150,000 allied lives, assuming that the fighting matched the intensity of the Okinawa campaign.


18 posted on 07/29/2014 4:32:00 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: iowamark

The TV series, Manhatten, is playing on WGN on Sunday nights. It is the semi-fictionalized story of the scientists at Los Alamos who were burning the midnight oil developing the Atomic bomb in a race against time to bring the war to an end.

I found the first episode interesting — especially since my husband worked at Berkeley’s Lawrence Radiation Lab in the early ‘60s with many of the 2nd generation of physicists.

Some of the leading characters are fictionalized, or based on the stories of composite people. I’m withholding my recommendation until I see more of the series.


19 posted on 07/29/2014 4:42:55 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: iowamark
I knew the pilot who flew the plane with the photographers in it.

He was told to go to a certain coordinate turn sharply and open the doors.

Neither he nor his co-pilot had any idea of the bomb that would be dropped from the other plane.

20 posted on 07/29/2014 4:43:00 PM PDT by Slyfox (Satan's goal is to rub out the image of God he sees in the face of every human.)
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To: iowamark

Hiroshima is flat so there was a high correspondence between survivorship and distance from ground-zero.

Nagasaki was a back-up target and unlike HIroshima it’s very hilly —you could have someone just on the other side of the hill from epicenter who survived, while someone considerably further away died.

Kokura was supposed 2b destroyed but was simply cloudy that day.


21 posted on 07/29/2014 4:53:19 PM PDT by gaijin
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To: iowamark
Proud to have met Dutch at an Air Fest years ago.
We had in common a chemistry degree from Bucknell University.
A truly fine gentleman.
22 posted on 07/29/2014 4:58:56 PM PDT by Amagi (Lenin: "Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State.")
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To: iowamark

RIP, sir, in the Arms of the Lord.


23 posted on 07/29/2014 5:04:27 PM PDT by Bigg Red (31 May 2014: Obamugabe officially declares the USA a vanquished subject of the Global Caliphate.)
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To: Yardstick

If you are referring to Col. Tibbets, he was the 509th Composite Group’s Commanding Officer. He had been involved in the development of the B-29. The 509th was designed specifically for delivery of the atomic bomb.


24 posted on 07/29/2014 5:06:15 PM PDT by iowamark (I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy)
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To: iowamark

The Doolittle raiders outlived them, but not by much.


25 posted on 07/29/2014 5:06:22 PM PDT by henkster (Do I really need a sarc tag?)
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To: iowamark

RIP, Sir. You did good.


26 posted on 07/29/2014 5:47:56 PM PDT by righttackle44 (Take scalps. Leave the bodies as a warning.)
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To: GreyFriar

May he rest in peace.


27 posted on 07/29/2014 6:17:29 PM PDT by zot
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To: TigerClaws
“Could we wage WW2 today with our media?”

We damn sure couldn't with the Rules of Engagement we're forced to operate under today. Not to mention a limp-wristed President and a Congress of eunuchs.

28 posted on 07/29/2014 6:21:59 PM PDT by beelzepug (You can't fix a broken washing machine by washing more expensive clothes in it.)
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To: iowamark

Col Tibbets son died in the past year or so in Butler Co. Alabama. I saw the obit in the paper and called the paper a day or so later. they had no idear of his Dad. Latest bunch of news paper people have no knowledge of history.


29 posted on 07/29/2014 6:45:13 PM PDT by TweetEBird007
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To: Yardstick

When you only have two bombs that cost billions to make, the crew better be the best.


30 posted on 07/29/2014 7:07:13 PM PDT by varyouga
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

And don’t forget that the quick end to war also saved the lives of many hundreds of thousands of people living and working in Japanese slave labor camps or living under Japanese occupation. I understand several studies suggest that deaths of people in the camps or under occupation was somewhere between 10,000-20,000 per month.


31 posted on 07/29/2014 7:13:49 PM PDT by Maine Mariner
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To: iowamark

Thank you for my freedom Captain Van Kirk, may God bless you and your loved ones.


32 posted on 07/29/2014 8:10:19 PM PDT by jmacusa (Liberalism defined: When mom and dad go away for the weekend and the kids are in charge.)
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To: section9
These men and millions of other ordinary Americans did nothing less extraordinary then saved the world. God Bless them all.
33 posted on 07/29/2014 8:13:00 PM PDT by jmacusa (Liberalism defined: When mom and dad go away for the weekend and the kids are in charge.)
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To: Gay State Conservative
They gave their tomorrows so that we could have our today.
34 posted on 07/29/2014 8:15:30 PM PDT by jmacusa (Liberalism defined: When mom and dad go away for the weekend and the kids are in charge.)
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To: iowamark

Sad to see the WWII generation go. RIP to Mr. Van Kirk, he did his job well. BTW, a couple of years ago, he passed on as well, but I knew a WWII vet who was on Tinian. He watched them load “Little Boy” on the Enola Gay although at the time he did not know what was going on. After the Enola Gay came back from bombing Hiroshima, he served Colonial Tibbits and the crew in the officer’s club and he remembers Tibbits saying over and over, “what have we done?” He also remembered “Bock’s Car” too. He also told the story where he fought two Japanese army men on the island where he shot one and bayonetted the other in the stomach.


35 posted on 07/29/2014 9:13:12 PM PDT by Nowhere Man (Mom I miss you! (8-20-1938 to 11-18-2013) Cancer sucks)
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To: iowamark

RIP.


36 posted on 07/30/2014 1:11:48 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

I think the estimate for Allied deaths in a full-scale invasion of Japan would’ve been at minimum a million or more.


37 posted on 07/30/2014 1:16:12 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Yeah, I forgot to carry a zero, it was 1.5 million.


38 posted on 07/30/2014 1:55:41 AM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: sinsofsolarempirefan

Thankfully a horrific spectacle never to be. I don’t think either side would’ve ever fully recovered from that.


39 posted on 07/30/2014 2:14:18 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Some historians believe that by 1945, we would have started to run out of men who would make good soldiers, maybe we were close to being bled dry. The UK was much worse. If that was the case, we had to bring the atomic bomb into play.


40 posted on 07/30/2014 4:39:00 PM PDT by Nowhere Man (Mom I miss you! (8-20-1938 to 11-18-2013) Cancer sucks)
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To: Nowhere Man

The big worry, too, is that with a seriously weakened fighting force and the utter chaos in Japan that the invasion would’ve brought, the Soviets would’ve just sauntered in and taken over to establish another Communist state. In turn, there would’ve been no way for us to have challenged the situation in Korea shortly after, either. The entirety of Asia would’ve fallen like dominoes to the forces of darkness.


41 posted on 07/31/2014 5:20:54 AM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (Resist We Much)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

That’s a good point, the Soviets would have entered the war against Japan and even though they did, they only managed to get a few small islands. Had there not been the bombings, most likely, you’d have a “North/South Japan” situation where the Soviets would at least get Hokkaido if not half of Honsu at least and instead of the Korean War, it could have been the “Japanese War” or even both.


42 posted on 07/31/2014 12:54:10 PM PDT by Nowhere Man (Mom I miss you! (8-20-1938 to 11-18-2013) Cancer sucks)
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