A week in history August 6 - 12

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- August 6 - 9, 1945

The B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay” dropped the first atomic bomb, dubbed “Little Boy,” during the attack on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II on August 6, 1945. The atomic weapon weighed nearly 9,500 pounds and its explosive yield was estimated to be around 15 kilotons, the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT (trinitrotoluene). It is estimated that between 80,000 and 170,000 lives were claimed from the atomic bomb and its after effects. Three days later on August 9, a second atomic bomb dubbed “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. “Fat Man’s” explosive yield was roughly 21-kilotons, or the equivalent of 21,000 tons of TNT. On August 15, 1945, less than a week after the atomic bombings, Japan announced its surrender to the Allied Forces and then formally signed their surrender on September 2, 1945, aboard a U.S. Navy battleship, the USS Missouri (BB-63).

On August 6, the same day as the bombing of Hiroshima, Maj. Richard Ira Bong, a former Lockhead P-38 Lightning pilot and Medal of Honor recipient was killed when the Lockhead P-80 Shooting Star he was piloting during a test flight exploded midflight. Fairchild AFB‘s “Bong Street,” was named in honor of him. Bong was commonly referred to as America’s “Ace of Aces,” with a recorded 40 aerial victories while fighting in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, the most by any pilot in United States’ history.

August 7, 1990

The U.S. launched DESERT SHIELD in order to defend Saudi Arabia from a possible Iraqi invasion. Aircraft and personnel from Fairchild played an integral role in DESERT SHIELD. The 92nd Bombardment Wing deployed KC-135 Stratotankers to support the European, Alaskan and Pacific Tanker Task Forces. Deployed Fairchild members supported more than 30 DESERT EXPRESS missions by delivering spare and high-priority parts to the theater. Bombers were also deployed to Diego Garcia to supplement the desert operation. In total, the 92nd BW deployed approximately 560 personnel to support two operations, including Operation DESERT STORM. Overall, during Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, the United Nations efforts to end the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, KC-10s and KC-135s logged more than 141,000 flying hours, delivering 1.2 billion pounds of fuel during some 85,000 refuelings and carrying nearly 17,000 passengers and 6,500 tons of cargo.