The Little Boy and the Fat Man
Perhaps if you are a news junkie like me, you've heard the Doomsday Clock recently moved closer to midnight than since 1953. This symbolic clock will strike midnight if and when a global nuclear disaster ever occurs. The concept was developed after the atomic bombs were detonated to end WWII in 1945. On that subject, I recently discovered that during the war, my uncle and Godfather Hank may have been involved with the transport of the first atomic bomb to Tinian Island in the South Pacific where the B29 bomber squadron was based that dropped the first atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. Hank never told anyone the full story since the information was classified top secret, so he likely went to his grave with those secrets. Recently, however, much of the information about that pivotal bombing has been declassified, so after some google searching, I discovered that the first atom bombs were disassembled into various pieces and transported by different means and routes to avoid having the entire bomb fall into enemy hands. So it’s definitely possible that my Godfather, pictured below at various ages, was involved since he was a transport pilot in the U.S. Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet, rising to the rank of Commander in the Naval Reserves after the war. See photos below of his aviator wings and command patch.
|Godfather Hank in 1933, 1945 & 2003|
|Naval Air Force Aviator Wings & Command Badge|
Further research into the newly unclassified documents revealed that the engineers and technicians on the Manhattan Project (code name for the development of the atomic bomb) were also transported via various means from Los Alamos, NM where the bomb was developed to Tinian Island so it could be re-assembled before being loaded on the B29 pictured below christened Enola Gay after pilot Paul Tibbets mother. Further complicating matters, these scientists did not travel with the atom bomb components, so the entire process was a logistical challenge that came off without a hitch between the June 21st departure from Los Alamos to the August 5th bombing.
Since I was born after WWII, my memories of that period are totally from history books and my relatives who were among the veterans that served so valiantly. I do recall my Godfather giving me airplane paraphernalia like his old flight goggles and oxygen mask that I’d play with as a kid. Until now I had assumed my only real connection to the atom bomb occurred during the 50’s with the "duck and cover drills" in grade school and the construction of a few "bomb shelters" around town. Beyond that, I do recall the singing the German song "Oh Tannenbaum" or "Oh Christmas Tree" during the holidays as a kid. It was during the Cold War, so naturally I thought they were singing "Oh atomic bomb", and I chimed right in!
|Duck & Cover Drill|
|Bomb Shelter Construction|
Little Boy and Fat Man brought a quick end to the war, saving countless American lives in the process. That being said, having visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial several times during business trips to Japan, let’s hope and pray that these homicidal devices are the first and last atomic bombs ever detonated, keeping that dastardly Doomsday Clock from ever ticking to midnight. . . . . . .