Here’s how the crew of the Enola Gay crew recalled the first atomic weapons attack in history

Friday, August 7, 2015
By Paul Martin

Aug. 7, 2015

Shortly after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, the Enola Gay’s tail gunner Bob Caron wrote his wife that the crew had just received a medal and she’d be reading about what they had done in the newspapers.

“It seems our crew and airplanes made history or something,” wrote then-Tech Sgt. George Robert “Bob” Caron, of Wendover, Utah.

“When they let us write about it from here, I’ll be able to tell you all about it. Our picture will probably be all over the states before we can say anything.”

Caron and others in the 11-member crew of the B-29 Superfortress still weren’t quite sure what it was that had dropped from the bomb bay on that bright morning 70 years ago, but Caron was the first to see the effects from his position in the tail. They had given him a K-20 camera to take the first photos.

The pilot, Col. Paul Tibbets, who named the B-29 the “Enola Gay” after his mother, told Caron to describe what he saw to the crew over the intercom.

“It was an awesome sight. I described the mushroom cloud as it grows. Well, it was white on the outside and it was sort of a purplish black towards the interior, and it had a fiery red core, and it just kept boiling up. I think that’s how I described it on the intercom,” Caron said years later in an interview.

“As we got further away, I could see the city then, not just the mushroom, coming up. I could see the city, and it was being covered with this low, bubbling mass. It looked like bubbling molasses, let’s say, spreading out and running up into the foothills, just covering the whole city.”

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