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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . c h a p t e r t h i r t y - fiv e ........................................................... a whisper away Paul Tibbets, a flying school classmate of mine, arrived on Tinian with his 509th Group and his atomic bombs. By the time Paul got there, the Japs were already beaten. Paul provided the force to make them admit it. I was returning to Tinian on 14 August, from a mission bombing the Hikari Naval Arsenal, when we received the news over the radio that the Japanese had unconditionally surrendered. The war was over. A few days later, I received a phone call in my tent that General Roger Ramey, the 58th Wing Commander, wanted to see me right away. I jeeped over to his headquarters, and when I was ushered into his office, General Ramey told me, ‘‘Eddie, I just had a call from General LeMay on Guam. The Surrender Papers are going to be signed on the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September. There is going to be a victory formation of 500 B-29s fly over the deck of the Missouri at low altitude while the Papers are being signed. General LeMay told me that the 58th Wing was the best wing in the 20th Air Force and that we would have the honor of leading the 500-plane formation. Now I’m telling you, Eddie, that your 468th Group is the best group in my wing. You are going to lead the wing, and I’m going to fly with you.’’ What a day. I got off a very short note to Lee, ‘‘We won the war, Sweetheart , and I’m coming home to you.’’ Letter to Lee, August 17, 1945 The great day is finally here, My Sweet One. It hardly seems possible, after all this time, that the war ever could have ended, but is sure has. Yesterday was an official holiday, our first since the half-day last Christmas. We had a big party the night before and spent yesterday taking life easy and recovering from the night before. I saw this old war through from one end to the other. I made the last mission that was flown, and we heard about the Jap reply on our way home. It was a PAGE 201 ................. 17575$ CH35 10-14-09 12:25:18 PS fine mission and highly successful, a fine one to finish up on. That makes 28 for me during this tour and gives me a total of 106 missions for the war. Sure am glad it’s over. Sweetheart, what the future holds for us here now is still a deep and dark mystery. I don’t know what we will be doing or how long it will be until we get home. I will get home just as quickly as I can. I’ve already told the General that the sooner he can replace me and send me home, the better. I do know, Sweet, that it will be rather a slow process. We will have much to do here for a few months, anyway, and I don’t really expect to leave here inside of three months. At any rate, we should have next Christmas together. The fighting is all over, and all we have to do now is stand by, and before we know it, we will be together again. Letter to Lee, August 19, 1945 It’s nice not to be grinding out combat missions as we were at one time. I think we’ll be kept busy here until such time as we have the Empire completely occupied and disarmed. Just what part we will play in the occupation of Japan is, as yet, unknown to us. It all depends on Gen. MacArthur, and so far he’s been too busy to let us know. Guess he doesn’t really know himself, yet. Now that things are relatively quiet, we have started taking Sundays off again, and that is sure a good deal. Today is my first Sunday off since we were in Washington together. I slept in until 7:30 and had a nice leisurely breakfast and came down to the office to clean up what paper work was lying around and to write a letter to my sweet wife. Pretty soft, huh? Letter to Mom and Dad, August 24, 1945 This is the first letter I’ve written to you since the cessation of hostilities. (I can’t say the...


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