Bockscar Pilot's Son To Speak About His Father's Famous A-Bomb Mission

Aug 6, 2015

Seven decades after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the son of the man who flew the second A-bomb mission is finally getting the chance to tour his father's B-29 Bockscar.

Col. (Ret.) Joseph Sweeney isn't sure how he'll feel when he steps aboard the plane for the first time.

"I spent years in the Marine Corps and they say 'Marines don't cry but sometimes our eyes sweat.' So maybe my eyes will be sweating when I get there."

The B-29 airplane that dropped an atomic bomb called "Fat Man" on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945, is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton. Sweeney will speak about his father and the war during a presentation August 7 at 10 a.m.

Sweeney describes is father as a big, outgoing guy who "was a 25-year-old kid, ordered by the president to do a job, and he did it."

The son says his father maintained until his death in 2004 that he'd done the right thing.

"How many people suffered on both sides," Sweeney asks. "The death tolls were incredible. How many more people would have died if those bombs weren't dropped? Really, it wasn't the Japanese people. He loved the Japanese people. It was Tojo (Hideki) and the Emperor (Hirohito) that wanted to continue to fight."

One week after the Nagasaki bombing, Japan surrendered, ending World War II.

Sweeney says it's easy to forget, so on this 70th anniversary he wants Americans to remember why the U.S. was in the war.