15 November 2007

Lightning Buried on a Welsh Beach

Unusual weather in Wales has revealed a treasure from WWII. A P-38 Lockheed Lightning has been found buried in tidal sands on a Welsh beach. The plane was abandoned in September 1942 after its pilot had to ditch due to a malfunction with its fuel system. If recovered, it will be the oldest Lightning to survive the war.

I have special fondness for the P-38. My grandfather was a mechanic in the European theatre working on Lightnings and Thunderbolts (a regular Hephaestus). The twin-boom design was the work of 'Kelly' Johnson, who's famous Skunk Works would later create the U2 and SR-71 spy planes, as well as the first stealth fighter.

The P-38 is also notorious as the weapon used to assassinate Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. American 'Magic' code-breaking was used to determine Yamamoto's flight schedule to Solomon Islands. The Lightning was the only plane with the range to intercept the Admiral.

America's ace of aces (having the most kills of any American flier) was Richard Bong who shot down 40 Japanese enemies why flying a Lightning named Marge during WWII.

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02 November 2007

Pilot of Enola Gay Dies at Age 92

Paul Tibbets has died.

Then Col. Tibbets was the pilot of the Enola Gay when the world's first nuclear bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.

Tibbets never worried whether the use of the Bomb was the right thing or the wrong thing. He always felt that it was worth the lives saved in preventing a bloody invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. He said he never lost a night's sleep over it because it saved more lives than it took.

But that does not mean that Tibbets wasn't aware of the
controversy surrounding his most famous mission. He has stated that he does not want a funeral or headstone because he did not want to attract protestors

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