From the Associated Press
September 6, 2001

Enola Gay Headed For
Restoration and Display


    WASHINGTON - The Enola Gay, the plane used in the bombing of Hiroshima, is headed for restoration and then display two years from now. After the restoration it will look much as it did when it flew its famous mission in 1945.
    The plane that ushered in the atomic age was loaded aboard a flatbed trailer Wednesday for transport to a storage and restoration facility in Suitland, Maryland.
    In recent years, the front portion of the plane was seen by about 4 million visitors at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall.
    That display followed the cancellation of a larger and bitterly contested exhibit about the birth of the nuclear age.
    The plane will not be seen publicly again until December 2003 when it will become a centerpiece of the Smithsonian's new Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia.
    "Enola Gay is significant in its own right because of the mission it flew," said Thomas M. Alison, chief of collections of the Air and Space Museum.
    On Aug. 6, 1945, the plane's nine-member crew made history when they dropped the 9,700-pound atomic bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima, Japan. The blast killed 66,000 people and injured as many others.
    "We're going to have the opportunity to put the whole aircraft together and on display for visitors to see," said Alison.
    The aluminum-skinned bomber will appear much the same as when it rolled off an assembly line at the Martin Aircraft Company plant in Omaha, Nebraska, in June 1945.
    On the Hiroshima flight, much of the plane's heavy armor plate was left off to enable it to fly higher and farther than most of the nearly 4,000 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses manufactured during the war.
    "Enola Gay has less than 200 hours flying time," said Alison. The typical B-29 spent thousands of hours in combat. The Norden bombsight, the original propellers, and many of the internal components used during the historic mission will be part of the restored aircraft.
    When the $300 million Udvar-Hazy center opens, the plane will be displayed among more than 180 aircraft, 100 spacecraft and related artifacts spanning a century of aviation history.
    The Enola Gay got its name from its pilot, Paul W. Tibbets Jr., in honor of his mother.

From the Los Angeles Times
August 23, 2003

Famed B-29 Ready to Meet Public

    The Smithsonian Institution unveiled the restored Enola Gay this week, prior to making the B-29 bomber that helped end World War II the centerpiece of a new annex to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
    The goal of the restoration, which took 300,000 hours of work over nearly 20 years, was to make the aircraft look as it did on Aug. 6, 1945, when it dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan.
    Over the years, some parts of the Enola Gay were replaced in normal use and others were lost or taken by collectors, said Dik Daso, the Smithsonian's curator of modern military aircraft. Curators restored each part to the way it looked on "mission day," down to particular radio tubes used at the time, Daso said.
    The plane will be open to public viewing Dec. 15, when the Udvar-Hazy Center opens near Washington Dulles International Airport. The center will house 200 aircraft and 135 space artifacts too big to be displayed at the museum, said John R. Dailey, the museum director.
    The B-29 will be hoisted 8 feet off the floor so that other aircraft can be displayed under its 141-foot wingspan.

George Marquardt Dies; Pilot of
Plane Flying With Enola Gay on
Mission to Bomb Hiroshima


    George Marquardt's memory of the atomic blast over Hiroshima, on Aug. 6, 1945, never dimmed.
    "It was like the sun had come out of the ground and just exploded," he often recalled.
    Marquardt, the former Army Air Force pilot whose B-29 was designated to photograph the historic bomb blast over the Japanese port city, died in a nursing home in Murray, Utah, on Aug. 15, a day after the 58th anniversary of the Japanese surrender that ended World War II. He was 84 and had Parkinson's disease.
    As he flew toward Hiroshima from the island of Tinian, north of Guam, in the early morning of that Aug. 6, Marquardt's B-29 -- Necessary Evil -- was to the left and rear of Col. Paul Tibbet's Enola Gay, the B-29 carrying the atomic bomb dubbed "Little Boy."
    On the right and to the rear of the Enola Gay was Maj. Charles Sweeney's bomber, which carried blast-gauge instruments that would be dropped by parachute.
    "You boys are making history today," a Manhattan Project scientist on Marquardt's plane had said that morning -- a morning that, as they neared Hiroshima, Marquardt would remember as being "the most beautiful day I've ever seen."
    That changed soon after 8:15 a.m. when the Enola Gay's bombardier released "Little Boy."
    Although Marquardt's B-29 remained at least 15 miles from Hiroshima, Marquardt later said the blast "felt as if a monster hand had slapped the side of the plane."
    The light from the 9,700-pound uranium bomb with the destructive force of 20,000 tons of TNT was so intense that Marquardt could not even see his co-pilot, Jim Anderson.
    Bernard Waldman, the Manhattan Project scientist on Marquardt's plane, was equipped with a special high-speed movie camera loaded with six seconds of film to record the blast. But in his excitement, Waldman forgot to open the camera shutter, and none of the film was exposed.
    In defiance of orders, however, a crew member had sneaked a camera on board and took a picture of the explosion.
    The bomb, which destroyed about five square miles of Hiroshima, killed between 60,000 and 100,000 people.
    "I have never for one moment regretted my participating in the dropping of the A-bomb," Marquardt told the Salt Lake Tribune in 1995. "It ended a terrible war."
    Three days after the attack on Hiroshima, a B-29 [named 'Bockscar'] piloted by Sweeney dropped an atomic bomb [called 'Fat Man'] on Nagasaki, which prompted the Japanese surrender.
    Tibbets, a retired brigadier general, told The Times this week that if a third bomb had been necessary, he would probably have chosen Marquardt to drop it.
    "He was very good," said Tibbets, commanding officer of the top-secret 509th Composite Group, which had trained at a remote airfield in Utah. "I watched George closely, and I can say he was most trustworthy, and he was good at his business: He ran a good crew and flew a good airplane."
    Marquardt's enlisted men, Tibbets added, "liked him and wanted to fly with him. They knew how much he appreciated them. That made them a gung-ho crew."
    Ted "Dutch" Van Kirk, the Enola Gay's navigator, echoed Tibbet's sentiments.
    "We had 15 aircraft commanders and George was certainly one of the better ones" in the 509th, Van Kirk said. "He was a sound individual, had good judgment and could handle the airplane and crew real well."
    Born July 14, 1919, in Princeton, Ky., Marquardt grew up in the small Ohio River town of Golconda, Ill. He was studying at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington in March 1941 when enlisted in the Army Air Force.
    He received his wings at Kelly Field in Texas and in 1943 was assigned to the 393rd Bombardment Squadron, which became part of the 509th Composite Group at Wendover Field in Utah.
    Fifteen crews were being trained there to drop a large, unnamed bomb for the top-secret mission that they knew only would "shorten the war."
    On June 6, 1945, Marquardt said goodbye to Bernece, his wife of one week, in their hotel room near the airfield. Then he took off for Tinian.
    "He couldn't tell me where he was going," his widow said this week. "In fact, he was leery about getting married, because he didn't think he was coming back.
    "I didn't know until I read about it in the paper when the bomb was dropped. I said to my mother, 'Now I know what George is doing and where he is.'"
    Marquardt, who spent 45 years after the war as sales manager and vice president of Allen Steel Co. in Salt Lake City, is survived by his wife; sons Steven, Michael and Chris; daughter Michelle Judy; 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
    In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Marquardt's name to the World War II Memorial Fund, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 501, Arlington, Va., as a tribute to "The Greatest Generation."

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