Item:
ONSV22WKC278

Original U.S. 1991 Framed Portrait of the Boeing B-29 “Enola Gay” Signed by “Little Boy” Hiroshima Mission Crew; Pilot Colonel Paul Tibbets, Bombadier Major Thomas Ferebee & Navigator Captain Theodore Van Kirk - 13 ⅛” x 11 ⅛”

Item Description

Original Item: One-Of-Kind: Now this is a fantastic piece of history! This is an image of the Enola Gay B-29 Super Fortress as it’s flying over Japan with a smoke plume rising from the ground behind it. The image was signed by three key crewmembers from that day, Colonel Paul W. Tibbets Jr. – Pilot and Aircraft Commander, Major Thomas Ferebee – Bombardier and Captain Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk – Navigator.

The Enola Gay is a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, named after Enola Gay Tibbets, the mother of the pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets. On 6 August 1945, piloted by Tibbets and Robert A. Lewis during the final stages of World War II, it became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb in warfare. The bomb, code-named "Little Boy", was targeted at the city of Hiroshima, Japan, and caused the destruction of about three quarters of the city. Enola Gay participated in the second nuclear attack as the weather reconnaissance aircraft for the primary target of Kokura. Clouds and drifting smoke resulted in a secondary target, Nagasaki, being bombed instead.

After the war, the Enola Gay returned to the United States, where it was operated from Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico. In May 1946, it was flown to Kwajalein for the Operation Crossroads nuclear tests in the Pacific, but was not chosen to make the test drop at Bikini Atoll. Later that year, it was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution and spent many years parked at air bases exposed to the weather and souvenir hunters, before being disassembled and transported to the Smithsonian's storage facility at Suitland, Maryland, in 1961.

In the 1980s, veterans groups engaged in a call for the Smithsonian to put the aircraft on display, leading to an acrimonious debate about exhibiting the aircraft without a proper historical context. The cockpit and nose section of the aircraft were exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) on the National Mall, for the bombing's 50th anniversary in 1995, amid controversy. Since 2003, the entire restored B-29 has been on display at NASM's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The last survivor of its crew, Theodore Van Kirk, died on 28 July 2014 at the age of 93.

The image is in wonderful condition, as is the frame. The signatures are still very clear and complete in appearance. Each signature was done by hand in blue fine tip sharpie with each name having their position on the aircraft alongside them.

There are examples of the same image with the same three signatures (not identical to this one) listed for sale on different platforms for double and often triple the price of this one.

There is one listed for sale at $800.00 at this link.
Another can be found for $1,200.00 at this link.

Surviving signed images are becoming harder to find in today’s market and you do not want to miss your chance at adding this lovely item to your collection and at an equally attractive price!

Comes more than ready for display.

Hiroshima Mission

On 5 August 1945, during preparation for the first atomic mission, Tibbets assumed command of the aircraft and named it after his mother, Enola Gay Tibbets, who, in turn, had been named for the heroine of a novel. When it came to selecting a name for the plane, Tibbets later recalled that:

“... my thoughts turned at this point to my courageous red-haired mother, whose quiet confidence had been a source of strength to me since boyhood, and particularly during the soul-searching period when I decided to give up a medical career to become a military pilot. At a time when Dad had thought I had lost my marbles, she had taken my side and said, "I know you will be all right, son."

In the early morning hours, just prior to the 6 August mission, Tibbets had a young Army Air Forces maintenance man, Private Nelson Miller, paint the name just under the pilot's window. Regularly-assigned aircraft commander Robert Lewis was unhappy to be displaced by Tibbets for this important mission and became furious when he arrived at the aircraft on the morning of 6 August to see it painted with the now-famous nose art.

Hiroshima was the primary target of the first nuclear bombing mission on 6 August, with Kokura and Nagasaki as alternative targets. Enola Gay, piloted by Tibbets, took off from North Field, in the Northern Mariana Islands, about six hours' flight time from Japan, accompanied by two other B-29s, The Great Artiste, carrying instrumentation, and a then-nameless aircraft later called Necessary Evil, commanded by Captain George Marquardt, to take photographs. The director of the Manhattan Project, Major General Leslie R. Groves Jr., wanted the event recorded for posterity, so the takeoff was illuminated by floodlights. When he wanted to taxi, Tibbets leaned out the window to direct the bystanders out of the way. On request, he gave a friendly wave for the cameras.

After leaving Tinian, the three aircraft made their way separately to Iwo Jima, where they rendezvoused at 2,440 meters (8,010 ft) and set course for Japan. The aircraft arrived over the target in clear visibility at 9,855 meters (32,333 ft). Navy Captain William S. "Deak" Parsons of Project Alberta, who was in command of the mission, armed the bomb during the flight to minimize the risks during takeoff. His assistant, Second Lieutenant Morris R. Jeppson, removed the safety devices 30 minutes before reaching the target area.

The release at 08:15 (Hiroshima time) went as planned, and the Little Boy took 53 seconds to fall from the aircraft flying at 31,060 feet (9,470 m) to the predetermined detonation height about 1,968 feet (600 m) above the city. Enola Gay traveled 11.5 mi (18.5 km) before it felt the shock waves from the blast. Although buffeted by the shock, neither Enola Gay nor The Great Artiste was damaged.

The detonation created a blast equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT (67 TJ). The U-235 weapon was considered very inefficient, with only 1.7% of its fissile material reacting. The radius of total destruction was about one mile (1.6 km), with resulting fires across 4.4 square miles (11 km2). Americans estimated that 4.7 square miles (12 km2) of the city were destroyed. Japanese officials determined that 69% of Hiroshima's buildings were destroyed and another 6–7% damaged. Some 70,000–80,000 people, 30% of the city's population, were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm, and another 70,000 injured. Out of those killed, 20,000 were soldiers and 20,000 Korean slave laborers.

Enola Gay returned safely to its base on Tinian to great fanfare, touching down at 2:58 pm, after 12 hours 13 minutes. The Great Artiste and Necessary Evil followed at short intervals. Several hundred people, including journalists and photographers, had gathered to watch the planes return. Tibbets was the first to disembark and was presented with the Distinguished Service Cross on the spot.

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