By Airman 1st Class Torey Griffith, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 03, 2010
B-29 Super Fortress "Enola Gay" by Willie Jones. Operating under the top secret 509th Composite Group, the B-29 "Enola Gay" dropped the first atomic bomb on a target in Hiroshima, Aug. 6, 1945. On Aug. 9, “Bock’s Car,” another 509th B-29, bombed Nagasaki, eventually bringing Japan to its knees.
1940's -- ROSWELL ARMY AIR FIELD, New Mexico -- Col. Paul Tibbetts, Jr., of Miami, Fla., poses in front of his B-29 Superfortress "The Enola Gay" (named for his mother). The Enola Gay is the same plane he piloted when his bombardier dropped the first atom bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Today, the 509ers are still the cutting edge; operating America’s premier stealth bomber, the B-2 Spirit, out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The wing provides assurance to its allies, and deterrence to its potential enemies, providing the President of the United States and combatant commanders a nearly invisible weapons platform with unlimited global reach.
The 509th Bombardment Wing's emblem is rich in tradition. Each symbol on the shield represents some part of the past. The Air Force wings represent the branch of service but are not in the familiar outstretched position. When the ancient Greeks approached a stranger, they raised their arms with palms outward to show they were carrying no weapons - a sign of peace. The 509th obtained special permission to display the wings in this configuration to show that it, too, comes in peace. The atomic cloud burst represents two things: that the 509th is the only unit to ever drop atomic bombs in wartime and that it still uses atomic power as a deterrent to war and defender of peace. Finally, the eldest son symbol (the red tripod) shows that the wing is the oldest atomic trained military unit in the world