On the Wings of the Enola Gay – B29 Superfortress


Gramps was highly honored to have Lt. Ray Biel who was part of the WW-II attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima that
ended the war with Japan and saved t h o u s a n d s of American lives. He and his associate, Rich Suttie, began with an in flight video of the Enola Gay and the other five B-29 aircraft in the top secret program.  Lt. Biel was a freshman in 1941 as the war began. He had the option of being drafted or joining the Air Corp for a deferment. Five months later
he was in the U.S. Air Corps. He received pilot training in Nashville, then went to Louisiana, for training in the PT-13. He then received twin engine training and became a 2 Lieutenant. He nd flew B-17s in Florida and then was assigned to B-29s.

Ray then became associated with Col. Tibbets and the Manhattan Project. The B-29s the group used were special. They had more power, less armament and less protection for the crew. The B-29 crews had a problem with the accuracy of the “Fatman” bomb but that was fixed before being deployed to Tinian Island in the south Pacific. They were assigned to a top secret isolated airstrip there. On August 6 they had a weather briefing and departed for Nagasaki with Lt. Biel as
copilot of the B-29, Full House, on the wing of the Enola Gay.

They flew the trip to Japan at 5000 feet until near the target then climbed to38,000 feet. They did not encounter any enemy aircraft. They dropped the first nuclear bomb ever in combat at 8:15. Little Boy created an area of total cremation 15 miles wide. Only two men in the team knew what was going to happen. On their second flight toward a different target, weather became a problem that was exacerbated by the fact that they could not transfer fuel in the fuselage tanks to the wing tanks and thus it could not be used. They did not have enough fuel to return to Tinian. They diverted to Okinawa, where Jimmy Doolittle gave them fuel for the return trip.

In 1950, Ray Biel went to dental school and practiced dentistry until he retired. We thank him for his special service that helped change the course of history and saved so many thousands of American lives.


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