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Five members of the 509th Composite Group, four of whom flew on the mission which dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, pose next to The Great Artiste, which they flew on test flights in Utah before deploying to the Pacific

Sale Price $637.50

Reg. $750.00

Condition: fine condition
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Five members of the 509th Composite Group, four of whom flew on the mission which dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, pose next to The Great Artiste, which they flew on test flights in Utah before deploying to the Pacific
Photograph signed: "Charles W. Sweeney Major/ Airplane Commander", "Capt. A. W. Albury/ Pilot", "Lt. Fred J. Olivi/ Co-pilot", "Jim Van Pelt/ Navigator", "Sgt Alan Moore Mechanic". B/w, 10x8. On August 9, 1945, 25-year-old Major CHARLES W. SWEENEY (1919-2004) was the pilot of Bock's Car, the B-29 bomber that dropped the Fat Man atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. The bombing, which came just three days after the Enola Gay, piloted by Sweeney's close friend, Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, hastened the end of WWII. Japan surrendered August 15, 1945, V-J Day. Brigadier General Sweeney retired from the military in 1979. Capt. CHARLES D. ALBURY (1920-2009) was co-pilot of The Great Artiste, one of the seven planes taking part in the August 6, 1945 Hiroshima mission. The Great Artiste also took part in the Nagasaki mission, the only B-29 to participate in both of the primary strike forces. Its role on both missions was to drop scientific instruments by parachute to measure bomb yield. On August 9, 1945, Albury led a three-plane mission to drop the second atomic bomb. His crew swapped planes with pilot Fred Bock (Bocks Car) and his crew to avoid the hassle of transferring the scientific equipment from The Great Artiste to another plane to make room for the bomb. Albury was co-pilot of Bocks Car. Commissioned a Second Lieutenant just a year earlier, FRED J. OLIVI(1921-2004) wasthe co-pilot on Bock's Car, the B-29 bomber that dropped the world's second and last atomic bomb used in war on Nagasaki, Japan on Aug. 9, 1945, hastening the end of WWII. Japan officially surrendered on Sept. 2, 1945, V-J Day. Olivi left the military in 1947 and was hired by as a draftsman with the city bridge commission in Chicago, Illinois, rising to manager of bridge operations and maintenance until his retirement in 1986. He also wrote a book on the Nagasaki raid, Decision At Nagasaki: The Mission That Almost Failed (1999).JAMES F. VAN PELT (1918-1994) was the Navigator on the Nagasaki mission. After the war he earned a medical degree, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, while remaining in the Air Force. He retired as a colonel in 1965, going into private practice. ALLEN L. MOORE (1924-2011) was a mechanic assigned to the 509th Composite Group, the first nuclear-armed unit of the US Air Force. After the war, he worked 30 years as an operator for Standard Oil. Moore did not participate in the bombing run to Nagasaki. The heavy coats worn here are one indication that this photo was not taken on Tinian, the Pacific atoll from which the atomic attacks were launched. Before deploying to the Pacific, the crews and specially equipped B-29 bombers of the 509th participated in test and training missions flown from Wendover Air Force Base, Utah. Five of the nine test missions, which dropped mock bombs on the Utah desert, were flown by this crew aboard The Great Artiste. Fine condition.

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