Last Crew Member of ‘Enola Gay’ Dies at 93
Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, who had been the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, passed away on July 27 at the retirement home where he lived near Stone Mountain, Georgia. Major Van Kirk was the navigator for the B-29 Superfortress. In 2005, he said in an Associated Press interview, “I honestly believe the use of the atomic bomb saved lives in the long run … most of the lives saved were Japanese.”
He also said, “I personally think there shouldn’t be any atomic bombs in the world. I’d like to see them all abolished. But if anyone has one, I want to have one more than my enemy.”
A book about his military career, My True Course: Dutch Van Kirk, Northumberland to Hiroshima, by Suzanne Simon Dietz, won The Military Writer’s Society of America 2013 Silver Medal for Biography.
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Click here to read more about Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk.
Click here to hear him speak in a three-minute video.
IMAGE ABOVE: The Enola Gay returns from its historic mission to drop the first atomic bomb. National Archives, NARA0402013