Being part of the 393rd makes me proud. Our squadron was detached from the 504th Bomb Group at Fairmont AAF, NE; sent to an isolated air field in Utah; got new and different B-29; tighter security; more troops arriving every day and other obvious differences.
We were told that we are part of a project that would bring the war to a quick end. But, not when or how - just keep your mouth shut. Radar at the time was top secret - we had background checks, but this security applied to everyone now, more than what we had with the 504th. We didn't need to know what others were doing - everything was top secret.
I was at the hardstand when the Enola Gay was getting ready for its famous mission, and again when it returned. I was part of the large crowd, around the top brass, to greet the crew. I saw Gen. Spaatz pin the DSC on Col. Tibbets' chest. We were told it was an atomic bomb, they dropped. Most of us never saw one, until seeing a model at a museum.
We knew that the 509th had completed the mission they told us would end the war. We had a party with extra rations of beer and coke, games and music. To our dismay, it didn't end the war. So the higher echelons had us do it again. I was out at the hardstand again for Bockscar. This time everything was subdued - done in a matter of fact way -no fanfare. We waited almost a week before we learned the good news that Japan had surrendered.
Even then I don't remember any celebration other then attending church services of thanks.
One day I happened to be on Broadway when I saw two Japanese soldiers being escorted; later I learned it was to hear on Radio Tokyo that Japan has surrendered. I had my box camera and took a photo of them from the rear. I wasn't sure if I could.
A few years ago I was in contact with a Coast Guardsman who had photos, which he e-mailed to me, of their effort to inform the Japanese on Aguijan that Japan has surrendered.
Then I came across an article in American Heritage Magazine- April 2000 issue covering the author's,"Bit Part in a Big Theater"
as he put it.
I didn't know that Tinian had a weekly mimeographed paper, but I got a photo copy of the 5 September 1945 issue which has a half page article, "Two Aguijan Japs Visit Tinian Under Truce".
They signed the surrender document on September 4, -two days after the USS Missouri signing.
Over a period of time I got the full story. The computer is what made it happen.
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