Occupying Nagasaki

peo walsh pd 19.jpgLeo Walsh spent three months as a Marine occupying Nagasaki, Japan, where the second atomic bomb blast led to Japan’s surrender. (Photo used by permission of The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

By George Morris

In more than 3½ years of combat, countless thousands of servicemen passed through Pearl Harbor, where World War II began for the United States.

Leo Walsh, of Baton Rouge, is in a more select company. He saw where it essentially ended.

Walsh was a private first class with the 2nd Marine Division when it was assigned to occupation duty at Nagasaki, Japan. There, on Aug. 9, 1945, an atomic bomb was used in warfare for the second and, so far, last time. Japan’s surrender was announced six days later.

Continue reading “Occupying Nagasaki”

Advertisements

Assigned to bomb Hiroshima — the day after the A-bomb

FATEFUL DAY *** WWII airman recalls mission to Hiroshima, NagasakiStan Shaw holds a photo taken of him in a bomber cockpit during World War II. (Photo by Patrick Dennis, used by permission of The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

By George Morris

On Aug. 7, 1945, Stan Shaw was like any other airman on a combat mission — prepared, yet wondering what to expect. Certainly, Shaw didn’t expect what he saw when his bomber arrived at its primary target.

For all practical purposes, it wasn’t there, replaced by a rust-colored stain — Hiroshima, Japan, a day after the first atomic bomb attack.

Continue reading “Assigned to bomb Hiroshima — the day after the A-bomb”

Working on planes that ended the war

Fat Man, Little Boy and the Graci brothers *** New Orleans natives got a close look at the atomic bombs that ended WWII

Twins  Ben and Joe Graci, originally of New Orleans, hold a photo they are in that was autographed by pilot Paul Tibbets. They served on the Pacific island of Tinian, from which the airplanes took off that dropped both atomic bombs of Japan. (Photo by Bill Feig, used by permission of The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

By George Morris

In the months that twin brothers Joe and Ben Graci of New Orleans worked on the Pacific island of Tinian, Col. Paul Tibbets was just another pilot they knew and the “Enola Gay” was just another bomber that they and their comrades worked to keep flying in World War II.

That changed abruptly on Aug. 6, 1945.

When the B-29 Superfortress bomber flown by Tibbets dropped an atomic bomb code named “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan, it was just as big a surprise to the men on Tinian as it was to the rest of the world. They found out about it the next day.

“Everybody went wild,” Joe Graci said.

Continue reading “Working on planes that ended the war”