Van Kirk, Navigator of the Enola Gay writes: "We turned to look at Hiroshima ...smoke and dust covering the city..."
Category: World War II
Item Number: 12538
Theodore Van Kirk
Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, Navigator of the "Enola Gay", the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Handwritten Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages written on white unlined paper regarding the Hiroshima mission. Van Kirk writes both questions and answers in his own hand, in part, "Was your job as navigator easy for you on the plane to Hiroshima? For someone with the proper training and experience - which I had - the job was not hard, but it was demanding. Of course for the mission to be successful, the navigator had to be correct.
What happened after the blast? When the bomb exploded we saw a bright flash. Afterwards, within seconds, the shock wave hit the airplane. It felt like a very close flak hit but it turned out to be a visible shock wave measured at about 3 G's. When that was over we turned to look at Hiroshima but could make no visual contact due to smoke and dust covering the city..." He signs, "Theodore J "Dutch" Van Kirk/ Navigator - Enola Gay/ 6 Aug 1945." A truly unique letter revealing exactly what the first atomic bomb explosion felt like from one of the few who saw it from the plane. Only 3 crew members of the Enola Gay had windows from which they could see the explosion. In excellent condition