Atomic bomb pilot visiting South Pacific

HONOLULU, June 11 (UPI) -- The pilot who dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan during World War II is on his way to the remote Pacific islands where the historic mission originated.

Paul Tibbets, 89, will be making his first trip to Tinian since 1945 when he and the crew of the B-29 bomber Enola Gay lifted off and set a course for the unsuspecting city of Hiroshima.


The Honolulu Star Bulletin said Tibbets and crew members Theodore Van Kirk and Morris Jeppson will be in the Marianas for ceremonies marking the invasions of the Japanese-held islands in 1944.

Tibbets stopped in Hawaii Thursday where he held a book signing and toured the USS Missouri, the battleship where the Japanese surrender was signed and is currently a floating museum at Pearl Harbor.

He told reporters he remained convinced dropping the bomb was the right decision as opposed to launching a direct and bloody invasion of the Japanese homeland.

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