Family Stories · Paul Warfield Tibbets and the Closing of World War II
Paul Warfield Tibbets and the Closing of World War II

Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr., Brigadier General in the United States Air Force, was the pilot of the "Enola Gay" that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan helping to bring WWII to an end. Paul named his B29 after his mother, Enola Gay (Haggard) Tibbets.

Paul was given the responsibility to redesign the interior of the B-29 to accommodate the necessary equipment required to implement this historic mission.

On Jan 30, 2003 Paul spoke at the Frederick Community College in Frederick, MD.

Paul Tibbets website, which may be viewed at, is one of the most sensitive and patriotic websites that deal with World War II. Here General Tibbets tells the extraordinary story of USAF preparations for the final delivery of the atomic bomb and further explains, in sensitive language, the reasons that the United States came to believe that this mission was important in ending World War II with a minimum loss of lives on both sides of the conflict. This is clearly one of the most sensitive and inspirational websites on the internet.

Although not part of our immediate family, General Chuck Yeager has also constructed a very inspirational website ( on his air exploits during and after World War II. At 18 years of age, Chuck Yeager's skills in "dog fights" with German Messerschmitts was legendary. After the war, he became the "greatest test pilot of all" and the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound (Mach I). As a member of the Explorer's Club in NYC, I heard General Yeager gave a talk at the Sherry Netherlands Hotel on October 17, 1986. There he explained the advantages that the American pilots had over their German counterparts:

•  Before the advent of G-suits (G for gravity), flights at 4.0-4.5xG caused circulatory problems. Blood stasis occurred in the legs leading to significant ankle swelling. Cerebral circulation was significantly compromised as well and peripheral vision would be lost first. To Chuck Yeager and other American pilots, this meant that "if you could not see the guy behind you (the German pilot), he could not see you either, so it was possible to lose him in a hard-fought dog fight".

•  Near the end of the war, the USAF developed an effective G-suit that provided significant air pressure, particularly to the legs. This allowed American pilots to operate at 6G. Because the Germans never successfully developed a G-suit, this technological achievement provided the critical advantage to the American pilots.

George A. Scheele, M.D.
Explorer's Club, NYC

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©2005 George A. Scheele MD