Second Lieutenant. Russell Gackenbach was an aircraft navigator aboard the Enola Gay. During the closing stages of World War II, he and the rest of the crew of his aircraft had to execute a mission that ultimately forced Japan to make an unconditional surrender. Their mission was to drop the first atomic bomb on the town of Hiroshima:
The 9,000 pound uranium-235 bomb named Little Boy had the equivalent destructive power as 20,000 tons of TNT. It reduced Hiroshima to rubble in moments. This video shows Lt. Gackenbach describing those horrific moments and the aftermath of what was the most difficult bombing mission of the second World War.
“We didn’t know what we did, really.”
Utter secrecy was maintained until the run up to the actual mission. Nobody could be told. Nobody knew for sure what was to come, except that a new bomb was under construction. He and the rest of the crew were pretty much quarantined.
Lt. Gackenbach took a few photographs of Hiroshima with his private camera just after the atomic cloud mushroomed. Not known to too many people, these were the first images of Hiroshima after the atomic explosion.