Last Surviving Member of Enola Gay Crew Is Dead
Navigator 'Dutch' Van Kirk helped drop atomic bomb on Hiroshima
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2014 4:57 PM CDT
In this undated handout picture from the U.S.Army Air Force, the ground crew of the Enola Gay is shown.   (AP Photo/U.S. Army Air Force)

(Newser) – The crew of the Enola Gay bomber that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima is now only in the history books. The last surviving member, navigator Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, has died in an Atlanta retirement home at age 93, reports WXIA. Van Kirk was 24 when he helped direct the "Little Boy" bomb onto the Japanese city on Aug. 6, 1945, killing 140,000, reports AP. Though Van Kirk said years later that he felt the bomb was necessary to defeat Japan, he also told the AP in 2005 that he wished nuclear weapons would be abolished.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes note of a historical coincidence: Van Kirk ended up in the same retirement home in Stone Mountain as James Starnes, who was navigator aboard the USS Missouri when Japanese officials boarded the battleship to officially surrender. “I like to say Dutch ended the war, and I made it official—got them to sign on the dotted line,” Starnes has said. "He was very responsible for the success of the bomb drop.”

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Showing 3 of 64 comments
wada
Jul 30, 2014 5:39 PM CDT
Perhaps 286,819(*1) people and their family would warmly welcome him in another world if they accepted his insistence. His next life only depends on the result of his past life. *1: ?????????
John
Jul 30, 2014 9:06 AM CDT
Nofun....an appropriate name.
Nofun
Jul 30, 2014 4:15 AM CDT
It was an American war crime. The bombs were dropped on civilian cities. If you intend to wage war, you wage war, you don't murder tens of thousands of innocent women and children because you are tired of the war. What kind of lame excuse is that? Most of the justification for it was based around the war time propaganda stereotype of the Japanese people. They were all seen as insane fanatics that would fight to last person. The Enola Gay crew deserve nothing. To be proud of this atrocity is perverse and sick.