Above and Beyond (1952) Movie Script

Mrs. Tibbets.
The plane is 30 min. Late. Would you like to
wait inside?
Oh, no thank you.
Here I am, waiting again. It seems like I'm
always waiting.
Waiting for the sound of a plane that will
bring my husband home.
Only, this time, I don't know whether I still
have a husband,
whether he still wants his home, or whether
this is finally the end.
The end of the road for Paul and me.
But where did it start? When did it start?
I suppose it was a little over 2 years ago in
that cold gray morning over North of Africa
back in 1943.
A squadron of B-17's, was flying a daylight
precision bombing mission against Bizerte at
Paul was leading that mission.
That was the beginning.
That was the first chapter in a story that
meant a lot to Paul and to me,
but meant even more to everybody on this
Look at that stuff, Tibb! It's worse than
yesterday. You can walk on it.
Group Commander to all pilots: Approaching
target. Keep the formation tight.
Deputy to Group Commander:
Group Commander: go ahead.
That bunch up ahead's getting clobbered. If
we don't go upstairs, we'll get it worse.
How about a change of flight plan?
Group Commander to Deputy: We'll fly the
mission as briefed.
Pilot to navigator: how're we doing, Dutch?
Smack on course. Ferebee's on the target.
Pilot to bombardier: let's make this a good
one, Tom.
Bombs away!
Let's get out of here.
- 6,000ft. It's murderous bloody suicide.
- Who's trying to prove what?
Field orders, Col., for this afternoon.
Bizerte again.
- What altitude?
- 6,000.
- Is GEN Roberts in his office?
- Yes sir.
I'm running two B-17 bombing missions over
Bizerte every day,
using every plane and crew that we've got
Now, if we destroy Bizerte, we cut off
supplies and reinforcement by sea,
and extend Rommel's line of supply by over
Yes, I ah see you have four 25-mission
- Johnson, Angstrom, Miller, and Tibbets.
- Yes, and I'm plenty short-handed at that.
- All pretty good men?
- First rate
Now personally I've always held if you've got
a small pocket, you've got to go in low to
get hits.
Sam, I want to meet these men as soon as
- You can't have them Verne.
- I just want to meet them.
I don't care what this is, I'm not giving
them up.
If you want hot shot fliers, go to England.
- They've got personnel...
- I've been to England, that's why I'm here.
Alright Verne, what've you got?
Sam, we're getting the living tar kicked out
of us, on nearly every front,
and that's official. I was at the Pentagon
last Thursday.
England is taking a terrible pounding. No one
knows how long she can hold out.
We may have to hit Germany and Japan direct
from U.S. possessions
and that means an airplane with range, real
And Hap Arnold thinks we've got the baby that
can do it.
Boeing designed it. It's called the B-29.
And it'll fly higher, faster and farther than
any bomber you ever dreamed about.
But there's one little hitch. The B-29 is a
death trap.
It's already killed Eddie Allen and some of
Boeing's crack test pilots.
We've got to get the bugs out of that
airplane, Sam, and every minute, every second
We need a man who can test fly it and modify
it for combat at the same time, and that's
why I'm here.
I want a four-engine combat commander for
that job,
one with experience and guts.
Underline guts.
I wish I could help you, Verne.
(knock on door) Well my hands are tied. I
haven't even got enough men or...
- Well?
- Col. Tibbets would like to see you sir.
- I'm busy.
- I told him, but he insists, sir.
- He says it's very important.
- Alright, show him in.
- Yes, sir.
Alright Tibbets, what is it?
- This field order, sir, is it correct?
- That's right.
you're to go back over Bizerte this
- At 6,000 ft.?
- That is correct.
In my opinion, GEN Roberts, this order's a
mistake. At 6,000 ft. we're sitting ducks.
I lost two crews this morning and four in the
past 24 hours.
We can't expect to get results without
losses, Tibbets.
We'll take our losses, sir, but I don't
believe in throwing crews away.
I can get results, good results, and I can
get them at 21,000 ft.
Your order says 6,0000.
- An order can be changed, sir.
- Col. Tibbets,
When a commander starts blaming his troubles
on his orders,
I can't help wondering if he isn't
Well, if he hasn't had a little more combat
than he can take.
Alright GEN Roberts, let's go back over
Bizerte this afternoon at 6,000.
I'll fly the lead plane and you'll ride as my
You'll fly the mission as briefed.
That's all, Col. Tibbets.
Yes, sir.
Oh, Arnie,
On that promotion of Tibbets to full COL,
Yes, sir.
Sorry, sir.
- Has he popped off like this before?
- No, sir.
I want to handle this personally.
- Have Tibbets report to my quarters
- Yes, sir.
I witnessed that exhibition you put on in
GEN Roberts office this morning.
Can you think of any reason why you shouldn't
be court-martialed?
I guess not, sir.
It's behavior hardly consistent with your
25 missions over France and Africa;
man chosen to fly Clark and Eisenhower down
here for the invasion...
- Do you think you're suffering from combat
- No, sir.
- What's your defense?
- No excuse, sir.
You know, Tibbets, I've always been a hunch
Oh, I've been kicked in the pants a couple of
times, but...
by and large I've had a pretty fair country
I should throw the book at you, but instead
I'm going to give you a job,
- a big job back in the states.
- Yes, sir.
Get your gear together and be on my airplane
at 09:00.
- Is that all, sir?
- That's all.
Yes, sir.
Oh, Tibbets,
aren't you just a little curious about what
this job is?
I assume, sir, when you're ready to tell me,
you'll tell me.
See you on the plane.
GEN Brent.
Contact Larry Norstead.
Request LTC Tibbets transferred to the
Coffee's on.
Thanks, sir, just had one. My main diet.
What're you doing there?
It's a kind of a gag I have with my wife.
Every time I come home, I always bring her a
bottle of her favorite perfume.
Then why the paper bag?
Oh, I don't know.
First time I did it I guess I was a little
embarrassed or something anyway I just put it
in a paper bag; tied a pink ribbon around it.
- I guess it's a little corny.
- Oh, I don't know.
I've known a lot of men who had great
difficulty revealing emotion.
- It's a quality that's sometimes is
- Yeah, I guess so.
You know Tibbets there's one aspect of this
B-29 job I don't think I fully covered.
- What's that, sir?
- Pretty touchy airplane, checking it out
isn't going to be any tea party.
We can't have any distractions.
I'd prefer you didn't bring your wife out to
That's pretty rugged, sir. I haven't seen
Lucy in over 2 years.
- A little guy named Paul Jr. I've never
- I know.
How much leave do I get before I head out to
How's 30 min. at the airport?
I see.
Sorry, Paul. Just tell her I'm the heavy.
Now Lucy, brace yourself. He'll probably
breeze right by with a Moroccan kootch dancer
on each arm.
- Harry, please.
- Thin ones, you're only allowed 40lbs. of
You're a million laughs, Harry, but why
didn't you stay home?
Cause he's afraid Paul might spend one night
with his family before he can get him into a
poker game.
Lucy, there's Tibb!
Marge, here, hold him.
- Oh, Paul! Paul!
- Honey!
- Oh, it's so good!
- I know, I know.
Come on, Tibb, break it up!
- Harry! How are you?
- Fine
- Well you're looking fine.
- And you too, boy.
- Hello, Marge.
- Hi
- Hey, what's this? You got one too?
- Meet Paul Tibbets Jr.
No kiddin'! So big! Hey how about that?
Hey look he likes it up there. He's a real
bird man.
- Hey, hey what about the chickens? When I
left you were up a full COL
- Ah I run into a wrong hunk of brass.
- Yeah, what happened?
- Ah, nothing much.
Well he's a good fella. You think we're going
to get along fine?
Oh, honey, honey it's past his nap time.
You'll have plenty of time to get acquainted
at home.
You tell your mommy that, we'll get
acquainted alright but not just now.
You tell your mommy that daddy's got to catch
a plane for Wichita.
- Wichita? When?
- 30 minutes.
- Oh, no!
- I'm sorry, dear.
Wichita? That's that B-29 job?
Hey, you the guy's going to fly those tests?
Say, that's a rough one mate.
- You know, Harry, you talk too much?
- Yeah, yeah, that's part of my charm.
Special flight for Wichita, leaving in
20 min.
You two will want to be alone. Why don't we
take the baby and you can pick him up later?
Thanks, Marge.
- Ah look, Tibb ah...
- It's over boy.
Ah, if you could ever use me again, I mean,
well, I'm getting tired of that Pentagon.
It's too big for Bratton...
What I mean is if you ever need a four-engine
driver for any airplane...
Yeah, I'll keep it in mind, Harry.
- Okay, thanks, good luck, Tibb.
- Thanks.
- Bye Marge
- Bye
A little something for behind the ears
You never forget, do you, Paul?
If I ever do...
- How about a cup of coffee?
- Fine.
I... I was happy to hear about Harry and
Marge moving in next door. It must have been
a big help.
Yes, they were.
- How's the... How's the car holding up?
- Fine.
- No wrinkled fenders?
- No, not yet.
- Tires okay?
- Re-treads.
Paul, is it really a death trap, the B-29?
- Of course not. Whatever gave you the...
- It's the plane Eddie Allen and his crew
were killed in last month. Isn't it?
It's just another airplane, darling, only
bigger and safer.
- Don't you go worrying about it.
- Paul, I...
Special flight 209, loading at gate 9 for
I'll be home, darling, just as soon as I can.
Don't make it long, Paul. We've got a lot of
catching up to do.
Special flight 209 now ready for departure
Ready for departure.
- The story of our lives.
- Yeah
Well I...
Well I ought to be real Air Force and say
"Happy landings; flaps up; I'll be seeing
you" or something...
I just can't.
I don't know if it ever came across in my
letters, but...
if I didn't have you, I wouldn't have
Oh, Paul!
- Be careful, darling. Promise me you'll be
- 'kay, sure, safety first that's Tibbets.
- Promise me.
- Stop worrying sugar.
It's just another airplane.
Just another airplane...
and that's what the B-29 was. Just another
enormous glittering airplane.
67 tons of experimental bomber that flew like
a dream, under normal conditions.
But Paul had to find out what the airplane
would do under combat conditions.
What would happen, for instance, when you
took it up to 30,000 ft.? He soon found out.
Gun blisters would go popping out, almost
taking some fine young turret gunner with
And there was always fire. Fire in the
fire in the bomb bays;
fire on the ground. Constant emergency
They had to know how the B-29 would perform
under all weather conditions.
In snow; in hail; in rain.
Days stretched into weeks, the weeks into
Oh yes, they let me come to Wichita to visit
him once.
But once was enough.
That was the day Paul lost an engine; his
landing gear jammed;
and he had to attempt a crash landing.
I'll never forget the terror I felt as I
stood there,
unable to do anything but watch.
Watch him as he made that turn for his final
Fuel off, switches off!
Fuel off, switches off!
I just couldn't take it.
I left Wichita that night, and I didn't even
see Paul again for three months.
The next time we met was at a little cabin I
found near Hagerstown.
It wasn't easy for Paul,
but he managed to steal a few hours.
I'm sure if GEN Arnold knew how dear those
hours were to Paul and me, he wouldn't have
You know, I'll never forget the way you
looked the first day I saw you
selling dry goods.
- What was the name of that store?
- GS Meekins, 9th and Main, cheesecloth a
You looked cute behind that counter. Pity, I
could only see half of you.
And a week later you proposed to that half.
- Right across that counter.
- Yeah, but I got the whole girl.
Thank heavens.
So crazy. Here we are married 5 years;
parents of a 2-year-old child; and yet all
we've really lived together is a total of
about 7 weeks.
Kinda get the feeling you're up here with a
Not in Columbus Georgia, no nice girl
ever felt about a stranger, the way I feel
about you.
So, winter turned to spring, spring to
and Paul and his men worked on the B-29.
They worked on the engine; the hydraulic
on every part of the airplane.
What we didnt know was that all this time,
Paul was being watched.
Every move he made was discussed by GEN Brent
with GEN Cavey Wolf, and COL Bill Irvine,
Paul's immediate superiors on the project.
Finally, it was over.
The B-29 was modified. It was ready for
The plane was in mass production,
and Paul Tibbets could fly home to his
Which, incidentally, was on its way to being
Oh, it was wonderful.
The way I'd always dreamed it would be.
The family together, Paul relaxed and
Perfectly willing to fall in love with and
spoil his two-and-a-half-year-old son.
And why not? That's what a two-and-a-half-
year-old son is for.
I'll never forget the night it happened.
We'd saved up our gas coupons and were
packing for a week in the mountains.
A week of fishing and boating and... well a
week away from everything but each other.
It gets cold up there at night. We'd better
take an extra blanket.
Who needs blankets?
- Don't answer.
- Ah, it's probably just Harry and Marge
calling up to say goodbye.
Yes, this is Col. Tibbets.
Yes, sir.
Yes, sir.
Yes, sir.
I have to report to Colorado Springs in the
I know, I know, how much is a girl supposed
to take?
Someday, Im gonna have a baby and you're gonna
be there when he's born.
Or when she's born.
This time, I'll be there, sugar, I promise.
Well, at least you're all packed.
- Col. Tibbets sir?
- That's right.
May I see your pass, sir?
Right this way, sir.
- Col. Tibbets?
- Yes.
- My name's Willy Uanna.
- Hiya MAJ
- Sit down, sir.
- Thank you.
If there are any more of these birddogs, I'm
gonna have to get a new AGO card.
On the night of September 17, 1942,
in a restaurant of Claridges Hotel in
London, you had dinner with a Gp Capt Bulton
of the RAF and two American MAJ's. Right?
Could be.
Did you discuss that morning's raid on
occupied France?
Possibly, in a general terms.
On June 14, 1943, in the coffee shop at the
airport at Cincinnati you had breakfast with
a Dr. Swanson.
Did you discuss the North African campaign?
- Perhaps, generally.
- Have you ever been arrested?
September 2, 1927, Miami Municipal Court,
District 16.
Defendant P. W. Tibbets arrested doing 70mph
in a 20mph zone.
In custody 24hrs, fined $10.
- Look I was only 16 years...
- Why don't you drink?
It makes me sick.
Alright Col., come with me.
- Hello Paul. I'm glad to see you.
- Thank you, sir.
I see you've met MAJ Uanna. Have a nice
friendly chat?
Well I ah, I'm not sure.
- Will that be all, sir?
- Yes, thank you MAJ. Uh, sit down, Paul.
Thank you, sir.
- How was the trip?
- Very nice, sir.
Paul, we're looking for a man for a job.
You've been under a microscope for 12 months
now along with several hundred senior
commanders in the Air Force.
The field narrowed itself down to 20 men and
finally 4.
A Brigadier Gen, two full COL's and a light
Col., yourself.
You're the youngest and lowest in rank, but
we've got to have the man least likely to
make a mistake.
On my strong recommendation, you're to get
first cut at it.
What have you got, GEN?
Well Paul, before I answer that, I've got to
ask you a question.
What does that look like?
- A buzzer.
- That's right, a buzzer.
Suppose I told you that if you press that
little buzzer, you might stop the war
That you'd save half a million American lives
and probably as many of the enemy.
But by pressing that buzzer, you'd have to
kill 100,000 people in one flash.
What would you do?
Take your time.
Be sure, Paul.
From this point, there's no turning back.
Have the gentlemen come in.
- Good morning, CAP - Hello.
- Dr. Ramsey.
- Good morning.
Gentlemen, I'd like you to meet LTC Paul
Paul, this is CAPT Parsons, our naval
- How do you do?
- Good morning sir.
- Dr. Ramsey
- Doctor.
- Col.
Dr. Sloan.
- How do you do?
- How are you?
- Dr. Van Dyke.
- Hello.
- How are you?
- This is Dr. Fiske.
- Make yourselves comfortable.
Paul, these men are all of the Manhattan
District Project. Youll learn more about
that later on.
Dr. Ramsey, suppose you lead off?
Very well. Col. Tibbets. Have you ever heard
of atomic energy?
- Yes sir, a little.
- What do you know about it?
Wh... not much...
I've heard that a small amount of it could
drive an ocean liner 2 or 3 times around the
It can do more than that, Tibbets.
The right amount of nuclear material; in the
correct projectile; dropped under the proper
would have the explosive force of 20,000 tons
of TNT.
Our government is engaged, at this moment, in
developing just such an atomic bomb.
CAPT Parsons.
You understand, Col. Tibbets, that this is
still very much on paper?
No atomic bomb has as yet been fired, but ah,
we're working on the assumption that the bomb
will work.
And it follows that, every part of the
system; for flying the bomb to the target;
and releasing it on the target;
must be as reliable as human beings can make
That's where you come in, Paul.
You're to command a B-29 outfit charged with
the responsibility of delivering an atomic
bomb over an enemy target.
You will be solely responsible for the
selection of personnel;
training of crews; and development of flight
CAPT Parsons and Dr. Ramsey will be your
liaison with the scientists in Los Alamos.
I will be your only, underline only, link
with the air force.
You have top priority.
The code word is Silverplate, but don't use
it unless it's absolutely necessary.
- Do you understand that?
- Yes, sir.
MAJ Uanna will be your security officer.
This must be the best kept secret of the war.
You're to talk to no one; write nothing down.
Commit all essential information to memory.
You will have to fake, steal, cajole,
connive, or whatever it takes to get what you'll need.
But you'll have to do it without arousing
undue speculation.
Do you gentlemen have anything further to
- No, I don't think so. Good luck, Col.
- Thank you, gentlemen, MAJ
Good luck.
- See you, Col.
- Yes, sir.
Paul, you're going to be dealing with a lot
of top brass.
If you were a full COL, you'd have more
But I can't work it, not just yet. You sure
made yourself a beautiful enemy in Africa.
- Roberts?
- Yes. If I barreled it through now, over his
there'd be too much talk. We can't have that.
Be patient, you'll get it.
Thank you, sir.
Oh uh, one final thing: No one's ever dropped
an atom bomb before.
No one knows what happens when it goes off. I
can't give you any guarantee that your plane
will ever come back.
A guarantee didn't come with the uniform,
All I can say is, I'd trade the entire Second
Air Force and these two stars for the chance
you're getting.
A chance to end this war without an invasion
of Japan.
- Good luck.
- Thank you, sir.
My God!
When Paul called, he was very casual. He told
me it was just another routine assignment,
nothing unusual. And that he'd be away a
couple of months.
I was disappointed, of course.
But when he promised he'd be home in time for
the baby, I guess I just didnt give it
another thought.
So, Paul went to work on operation
First, he had to find a base, a million miles
from nowhere.
Where security could be controlled and there
was room to do your work.
And that meant Wendover: Wendover, Utah.
With a delightful range in temperature:
Summer 110; Winter 32 below.
It meant handpicking the cream of the Air
Bringing them to Wendover from all parts of
the world.
It meant bringing in the best instructors in
the business, and to Paul, that meant
Tom Ferebee:
bombardier; Dutch van Kirk: navigator;
Wyatt Duzenbury: flight engineer; Bob Lewis:
pilot instructor;
and Harry Bratton: director of training.
And it meant stealing the hottest combat
group in the Air Force,
a crack squadron of 15 B-29's; their crews;
and personnel.
All combat veterans, the talk was
they could drop a doughnut into a cup of
coffee from 20,000ft.
- Hey, these boys are pretty sharp.
- They will be.
Alright Tibb, we broke our necks to get here,
so, we're here. Now, why all the hush hush?
What's up?
Price of butter.
If this is such a big deal, Tibb, how come
they didn't make you a full COL?
I couldn't take all that money. It'd put me
in too high a tax bracket.
Tibbets to all the pilots: You'll land
immediately and assemble your crews in front
of headquarters.
Tibbets out.
Alright give me your attention.
you're now part of the 509th composite group.
I know you're all wondering what this
outfit's up to. The first thing I want you to
do is to quit wondering and stop worrying.
You're all combat veterans and you've been
handpicked by me because you rated the top
B-29 squadron in the Air Force.
Just watched you work and you're good, darn
But you're going to have to be twice that
good just to get washed out of this outfit.
There's going to be a lot of talk about
Wendover the next few months and I expect
each and every one of you to keep his mouth
You tell people that you're in a B-29 bomb
group and you're going overseas, but no more.
Each of you has a job that can shorten the
The risks may be big, but the stakes are
Anybody wants out, he can ask for a transfer,
no questions asked.
But mark my words, once you decide to stay in
any breach of security or letting down on the
job will get you into more trouble than you
ever dreamed existed.
Any questions?
Now, a word from our chief security officer,
MAJ Uanna.
Now, understand this. This base, it is under
strict military security.
You will find there are many restricted
Each with a separate pass, and each pass a
different color.
The MP's on this base, are specially trained
and fully armed.
They have specific orders:
Should anyone be found in a restricted area
without a proper pass,
they have orders to shoot.
And shoot to kill.
What you've heard here today you've heard for
the first and last time.
Remember it.
It's not to be discussed: on the base; off
the base; or anyplace else.
Alright, as of now you're all on a ten-day
furlough. Go anyplace you like but keep your
mouths shut.
So, the boys took off for home in all parts
of the country.
By bus; by plane; by train.
But this was more than a vacation. It was a
security check.
Special agents were assigned to check points
across the entire nation.
Paul had to know who were the talkers, and
who weren't.
- Where're you headed, Lt.?
- Home.
- And where's that?
- Where my mother lives.
Where's that?
With my father.
Most of the boys were on the beam,
but there were a few who weren't.
It must be big stuff. We got the best pilots;
the best navigators; the best bombardiers in
the whole Air Force.
Now you know those guys aren't there to play
tidily winks.
And there were a few others: in Boston.
- Whaddya fly?
- Well I used to be in fighters. Big stuff
now, B-29's.
In Minneapolis.
- What kind of a bombsight do they use?
- Norden.
But they didn't talk twice.
When you left here, I told you to keep your
mouths shut, and I meant it.
You're under arrest and subject to Court
Maybe you'll know now when I say security, I
mean security.
- Let 'em sweat it out for a week then
release them. See if this news gets around.
- Yes, sir.
- How am I doing?
- You're learning.
You know, Bill, you security boys are pretty
thorough but there's one little risk you're
slipping up on.
- What's that?
- Me.
- Why so?
- Well I'm only human, maybe you ought to put
a couple of your boys on me.
Yesterday you were in Los Alamos in civilian
clothes. At one o'clock you were in the
commissary with Dr. Ramsey and 4 other
At 1:45 you lit a cigarette and dropped these
on the table.
Air Force matches. The last thing we want to
is to tie up atomic energy and airplanes.
My apologies. You're not slipping up on
As a matter of fact, I am. Serious problem:
- You know most of our men are married.
- Well after all, this is war. We've all got
to give up a little something.
I'm referring to talk, woman talk.
Speculation about this project by wives: in
beauty shops, grocery stores, and bridge
parties from Portland, Oregon to Bangor,
You can't police the whole country.
Enough women in enough places do enough
talking. Someone's going to find out
something we don't want them to know.
What do you want me to do? Bring 'em all out
here to Wendover?
- Exactly.
- I'm running an air base, not a country
We can have those families here in two weeks
Families, that means schools, playgrounds,
hospitals. Do you know what this place would
look like?
Just like any other ordinary Air Force
training center.
Certainly not the key base of a top secret
atomic bombing mission.
You're right, of course. I wish I'd thought
of it first.
- Put it in the works. The women come out to
- Good.
I could use a home cooked meal myself.
I wouldn't do that, Paul. You're one man who
shouldn't bring his wife out here.
- Why not?
- I think you're going to be too tough to
live with.
Your wife can never be part of you. She can
never share what you know; what you think; or
what you feel.
You're going to make a terrible father and a
worse husband.
That plus Wendover is too much to ask of any
- You don't know Lucy.
- She's a woman.
- She's my wife.
- And you're going to bring her out here to
have a baby.
- After the baby.
- I'd think about that pretty carefully, if I
were you.
That's all MAJ
So, the wives came to Wendover, with one
notable exception.
Paul didn't even write me about it.
In fact, Paul didn't even write.
I guess he was too busy with problems of his
own. Like that little matter of
We need our own transports, Paul, with speed
and range.
- And we need them fast.
- Aw, that's a pretty big order, CAP - Who's got some C-54's?
- GEN Davenport has 6 of them in Benson.
Davenport's never turned me down yet. I'll
take a crack at it.
- I won't be gone long. Clip papers to
transport those 54's.
- Right.
- Saw your door open, GEN, so I...
- Well, Tibbets!
I was looking for GEN Davenport, sir.
Davenport left last week. I'm in command
- That's fine. Your looking well, GEN
- Thank you.
- What can I do for you?
- Well, it's, it's nothing much, just ah,
just another requisition.
- Oh? What for?
- Some C-54's.
- C-54's? Really, how many?
- About 6 of them.
- Sure 6 will be enough?
- Just right, sir.
- And how soon would you want them?
- Immediately.
Why don't you ask for 6 battle ships?
Or 6 carriers?
- What are you building out there at
Wendover, a one-man Air Force?
- It says there it's Silverplate sir.
My instructions are to give Silverplate top
But I also have a responsibility to see that
priorities are not abused, by anyone.
This is one request you'll have to justify to
my complete satisfaction.
Very well sir, I can't do my job properly
without those C-54's.
If it's that urgent, why don't they send
somebody with rank?
Look, GEN, I flew all last night and I still
have to fly back to Wendover. I'm tired, now
if you'll please just sign this order I can
GEN Brent will have to verify this.
- Get him on the phone.
- That won't be necessary, sir, GEN Brent
gave me the job.
All right, requisition refused, insufficient
- Then, sir, you better get me relieved of my
- What?
- For failure to carry out my mission.
- That's my problem.
Unless you can give me a more specific
this request is disapproved.
Very well, sir.
Tibb, I ought to have something in writing
from GEN Roberts before I release these
planes to you.
- I'll take full responsibility, Steve,
verbal orders. Okay?
- But, Tibb!
Don't worry. You'll hear from GEN Roberts any
minute now.
GEN Roberts to Col. Tibbets, over.
This is Tibbets. I can barely hear you GEN,
Do you realize what you're doing?
- I can't read you, GEN
- Listen, Tibbets, you're directly violating
- I order you to land at once.
- That's right, sir, I'm sure the weather's
going to be okay.
I can explain everything when I land at
For the last time, did you understand what I
Yes, sir, the papers are right on your desk.
I'm going on radio silence for security.
Tibbets out.
So, Paul got his C-54's.
He got bigger airplanes.
He got bigger problems.
He got bigger headaches.
Me? I just got bigger, and lonelier.
Paul's letters and phone calls became less
and less frequent and told me absolutely
If it hadn't been for Marge Bratton, I
wouldn't even have known that the wives were
going to Wendover.
Bye, honey.
Take care of my fella and tell him write.
You just have that baby and hurry out there.
We're going to have a lot of laughs.
- Yeah
- Bye.
A lot of laughs. I couldn't tell her that I
probably wouldn't be coming to Wendover,
that my husband hadn't even bothered to ask
me out.
I guess that was my low point.
I felt lonely and unwanted, and unattractive,
and pretty generally sorry for myself.
I didn't have long to think about it.
For just then, I knew I had to get to the
And fast.
I don't remember much about that ride. Except
that, thank heaven I left Paul Jr. with his
grandma Tibbets.
Enola Gay Tibbets. Enola. What a funny name,
I kept thinking.
Enola. Backwards, it spelled "alone".
I guess that's why I thought of it.
I never felt more alone in my whole life.
- Did you call my husband?
- We tried several times, Mrs. Tibbets, he
can't be reached .
- Oh, no!
- I'll try again, soon.
At that moment, I hated Paul. He promised to
be with me and he wasn't.
It was careless and callous and thoughtless
I don't suppose it would have mattered even
if I'd known he was 6,000mi. away at Guam.
Discussing flight tactics with GEN LeMay.
At that moment, I wouldn't have cared how
hard was he working.
How the burden of responsibility was
beginning to show.
How tired he was.
Well, what's the verdict?
- Tactics approved.
- Good
- I want to see the operational reports:
flying and ordinance.
- They're all right here.
Now, why don't you get some sleep, Paul? Take
care of it tomorrow.
Tomorrow is yesterday.
- Good night, Paul.
- Good night, Bill.
I don't want to be disturbed. No phone calls
no interruptions, nothing.
Yes, sir.
- I thought I told you...
- Direct line from Washington, sir.
Oh, okay.
Hello, sugar, how are you?
- A boy!
- 6lb. 8oz.
Oh, he's so cute, Paul! He, he's got your
eyes and, and red hair and...
I should have been there, darling. I let you
But, believe me. I couldn't help it.
It doesn't matter darling, not anymore. Just
tell me, when I'm coming to Wendover?
Aw Luce, it's... it's pretty rugged out here.
With a new baby and all...
Look, Paul, I don't care how rugged it is or
how rough.
This family's going to get together and stay
together. I'm going to come out there just as
soon as I'm strong enough.
All right?
Sure, it's all right. Come out as soon as
you're strong enough. It'll work out fine.
Oh, Paul. I... I want you to do something for
I want you to get some cigars and a bottle of
champagne and go out and really shake the
I want the world to know we've got a brand-
new baby boy and...
and how much I love his old man.
I miss you, Lucy.
Good night darling. See you soon.
Sure, goodnight.
Congratulations, pal.
Oh, I'd have been lost without you, Mary. I
hope we didn't ruin your trip.
Mrs. Tibbets, Billy and I were married just
two days before he was sent here. Nothing
could ruin this trip. I'm on my way to a
That makes two of us.
Oh, that's Paul! Oh!
- Would you like me to hold him?
- Would you, Mary?
Oh, thanks dear. Thanks
Hello, sugar!
Well, look who's here!
- Hi, daddy!
- How big can you get in 6 months?
- Pretty big.
- Yes sir, show me your muscle.
- Oh boy, you glad to see your daddy?
- Sure, my dad's the boss here.
- Who said so?
- Mommy.
Oh, well, she ought to know.
- Come on, darling.
- Oh, Mrs. Tibbets!
You forgot something!
- What's that?
- Nothing much, just your youngest son.
- Thank you, Mary. Thanks for everything.
- You're welcome.
Well say, we better give him a lift. It's a
pretty long walk.
Well, there he is.
A 1944 model Tibbets FOB Wendover.
- So, this is Wendover?
- It's not exactly Palm Springs, but it'll
Over there's what we laughingly call our
officers club. There's gonna be a dance there
tonight, you'll meet all the bunch.
- Well, what about a sitter?
- He's driving the car.
There's the church. Used for everything from
novenas to Yom Kippur.
Then the hospital.
- Just about everything here you'll need.
- That's for sure.
- What are those fellows over there?
- Where?
- Over there, in the white suits.
- Oh, those fellas?
Well they're um... Well they're um... They're
sanitary engineers. They're in charge of
- Whew, that's nice.
- And on this side is our new housing
Well, here we are.
It's just darling, Paul. It's cute as it can
- Daddy, where's the sidewalk?
- Well, this house doesn't have a sidewalk.
- Why not?
- Just doesn't, dear.
Oh ah, darling, this is Sergeant Wilson. He
just came over to straighten things up a
- Thanks a lot, sergeant. It's very nice of
- Thank you, ma'am.
- Did you get the drapes?
- Yes sir, the ones you picked out. Hung 'em
just the way you wanted.
Mommy! I don't like this house!
- Oh shh, honey.
- And it doesn't even have a sidewalk!
Never mind dear. You, you run out and help
with the men. That's a good boy.
'course it may need a little touching up,
here and there. They're, they're all alike.
The other, the other couple just moved out.
- If there's anything you don't like...
- No, it's fine Paul just fine.
Nice and cozy.
- 'course there's, there's just one little
thing. These, these drapes...
- Yeah, well, well they've got to go. Ah
they're pretty bad.
And here's the ah, the dining area down here.
Good solid table.
And, and the refrigerator of course, over
here, seems to be in pretty good shape.
Ah, looks like it needs a little ice.
And this is uh, this is a cute little gadget
here. This is ah, this is a coal stove.
It throws a nice even heat.
- Well ah, where do you get the coal, honey?
- Oh, that's, that's in a bin out in the, out
in the back.
And this ah, it's a great sink. Ah, hot and
cold running water.
- Oh I, I can fix that. Just get a screw and
tighten it.
- As long as the water's hot, that's all that
And... and the uh cupboards.
The bedrooms, I think, are right around the
back here.
- Any, anyplace there.
- Yes, sir.
- Oh, and Paul let's, let's look at the
bedrooms, huh.
- 'kay.
- Can you make it?
- Yes, sir.
- Ah you can just sit that anywhere.
- And you better be careful because my dad is
the boss here.
Never mind, dear.
This is the ah, this is the kids' room. It's
clean and airy.
- Oh, it's fine Paul, just fine.
- Mommy, where's my room?
- This is it, honey.
- I want a room of my own.
- Ah, never mind that. You go outside and
- But there's no sidewalk!
That doesn't matter, sweetheart, go on.
Ah, the ah bridal suite is just around here.
Well it, it isn't exactly the Waldorf, but
It's got nice twin beds and ah...
and good, good springs, and cross draft
We'll have to get a screen or something here.
And of course, the ah, the closet over there.
And ah...
Ah it's a mess, isn't it?
Oh, darling, it's wonderful.
As long as we're together, what difference
does it make?
I'll get it.
Eh, okay.
- I better get over to headquarters right
away. Sorry to leave you alone.
- It's alright honey. Run along. I'll manage.
- Goodbye, shorty.
- I sure wish we had a sidewalk.
Right away.
It's alright, honey. Mommy's coming.
This I don't get at all.
Well, it's not difficult, MAJ. He really
wants to find out what the maximum gross
weight of this plane can be at takeoff.
I thought that fact was established when he took the plane out at Wichita.
This airplane's been modified since then.
Alright, fellas, let's go.
- Four tons over maximum. You gotta be crazy
to try this.
- Want to get out and watch?
Just tell me one thing: Why couldn't the
Wright brothers have been interested in
- What do you say, Deuce?
- Cowl flaps 15, cylinder head temperatures
70,... 75,... 95,... 100,... 105,... 120,
125,... 130,... 130,... 130,... 135,... 135,
140,... 140
Gear up.
Missed it.
- Sugar?
- Yes, please.
Okay, spill it.
- I'm glad you're here, Lucy, real glad.
- You said that before.
For you, for Paul, and more important, for
the base.
- What does that mean?
- Look, I'm going to lay this on the line.
Well, there's a kind of a feeling around here
that Paul's playing this thing awfully big.
- Paul?
- These men are seasoned combat veterans, the
best in the business.
Harry says Paul treats them like they're
still at Kelly Field.
- But...
- The talk is they're good enough for
Eisenhower but not for Tibbets.
- That's standard sour grapes and you know
- Look, honey, Paul's only human.
Everybody knows what happened in Africa.
Well it's only natural that when he gets his first important command, he'll try to make an impression and, get those eagles back.
Don't you ever say anything like that to me
again, Marge!
- Now, Lucy...
- Whatever Paul's done, he's done because
it's part of his job.
Believe me, he's way overboard.
Passes for this, passes for that. You can't buy a jar of pickles around here without passing a loyalty test.
Did it ever occur to you that this job may be something really important?
Did you ever hear of a really important assignment where they let them bring wives and kids where they put a light COL in command?
- Maybe Paul's just tired.
- Maybe
- And maybe you're wrong to!
- Maybe
Just keep your eyes open.
Oh, look Lucy, you know Harry and I have
always been crazy about Paul.
And we'd like to keep it that way.
- I know, honey.
- I've gotta run. See you tonight at the
Yeah, sure
- Did you enjoy your trip, Mrs. Tibbets?
- Very much, thank you.
- How long you planning to stay?
- Oh, long as I'm welcome, I guess.
- When does Col Tibbets say we'll be leaving?
- Guess you'll have to ask Col. Tibbets about
Can I cut in?
- Thank you, ma'am.
- Yes.
Thank you, sir.
You certainly have a nice bunch of boys here, Paul. But they're the nosiest fellows I've ever seen.
- Are they?
- The way they rushed me you'd think I was
Miss America.
- Should we tell the little lady the facts?
- Harry, I think you've had too much to
- Look, honey, far be it from me to detract from your personal charms...
- That's enough.
- But those were security agents you were dancing with. Big handsome security agents...
- I said that's enough!
Marge, you better take Harry home, put him to bed. He has to fly tomorrow.
- Is that an order, Col. Tibbets?
- If that's the way you want it.
- Very well. Good night, Lucy.
- Good night, Harry.
- Come on, honey.
- Good night
This guy's taking all the fun out of modern
Well, it's getting late. Come on nurse, let's hit the sack.
- Good night Tibb, good night Lucy
- Good night, Lucy. Good night, MAJ.
Would you care to dance, Mrs. Tibbets?
Thank you, MAJ but we should run along too.
Dear, I think we should be at home by the
- Right. Goodnight, Bill.
- Goodnight Paul, Mrs. Tibbets
Well, the kids are asleep. I guess the beds
must be comfortable.
Paul! How sweet!
- How did you ever find time to do this?
- Well, I'm the CO here. The CO has lots of
So does the CO's wife.
Paul, tell me something. It may be none of my
business, but...
- Was it necessary to be quite that harsh
with Harry tonight?
- The CO's wife has a beautiful neck.
Tell me
Lucy, look. We both have a big job, here.
Mine's out there, and yours is right here in
the house.
So, I'll make a deal with you.
I'll keep my nose out of your job if you'll keep your pretty little nose out of mine. Okay?
- Paul...
- You have a such wonderful nose, too.
You know, sometimes kids just have to cry.
All right. Tell the boys to get a plane
ready. I meet you on the flight line.
- Not again! Can't you eat one meal at home?
- Sorry dear, this is important.
It's always important. Where are you going?
Lucy, I've told you before: Where I go and
what I do outside this house is none of your
- So, please don't ask any questions.
- Sorry
See you later.
- P-K
- A
- A-U-L. Paul.
- Paul! That's right.
Ah! It's good?
- Hi
- Hi
You're going to have to help me with the
hors d'oeuvres.
You'll serve the cold ones...
What are you doing home so early?
- Lucy, I don't know how to say this, but
- You're not going to be here tonight.
I'm sorry, dear.
- Where are you going?
- I'll try to get back tonight.
- Where are you going?
- Lucy, if I wanted you to know, I'd have
told you.
Oh Paul, for heaven's sake! Stop taking
yourself so seriously.
- Why don't you stop all this cloak and
dagger stuff?
- Do you know something?
Six years ago, today, almost to the minute, we
were married.
It been rough on you. It may get rougher.
But try to stick it out. Will you sugar?
- Try and get back early.
- I will.
- What's that?
- Oh, I got a man to fix the pipes. I couldn't stand that knocking any longer.
- That's using your head. Who'd you get?
- One of those sanitary engineers.
- Who?
- One of those plumbers.
You know, the fellas with the white suits.
Poor man, I practically dragged him off the
He was terribly sweet about it.
Well, your hot water's all right now, Mrs....
- Tibbets.
- Thank you very much, Mr. ah...
- Oh, just ah, just call me Al.
- Al. Thanks a lot, Al.
- Well, how much do we owe you?
- Oh, that's all right, Mrs. Tibbets.
I should say it's not all right. How much do
you fellas get an hour?
A couple of dollars, I guess.
- $2? You sure that's enough?
- Oh, plenty.
Alright, honey? Would you give Al $2?
- Nice work, Al.
- Oh, anytime, Col.
Well, good day, Mrs. Tibbets.
He's really terribly sweet.
He's not very bright, is he?
Yeah, well...
- Hurry home, honey.
- I will.
And Lucy, next time anything goes wrong with
the plumbing, you better let me fix it.
$2 is a lot of money.
- Alright
- Bye
Gentlemen, as you know, for some time we've
been wrestling with the problem of the actual
exploding of the bomb.
A very tricky problem it's been, indeed.
For a while we assumed that the atomic bomb, like any conventional bomb, would be exploded
on contact.
Gentlemen, we know now, that for maximum
efficiency, an atomic bomb must be exploded
in the air.
When we explode in space, we have to consider
two elements:
One, heat and radiation from the ball of fire
at the center of the nuclear explosion.
Two, the shock wave created by the explosion.
As you can see, the shock wave is enormous.
And the area of it, as it hits the earth's
is determined by the altitude at which the
bomb is exploded.
According to our most recent calculations,
our bomb must be detonated at the precise
altitude of 1,600ft.
Such an explosion, should produce an area of about 3sq. mi. of total destruction.
As to the immediate problem of triggering this bomb, I turn you over to CAPT Parsons.
GEN Brent, Col. Tibbets, bearing in mind the principle of an atomic explosion, in its simplest terms,
this is a mass of fissionable material.
This is an additional mass of nuclear
This is the trigger, on which we're working.
When activated, this material is forcibly
driven into the mass,
setting off a chain reaction.
Now, our specific problem is to achieve this
merger within the shell of a falling bomb at
exactly 1,600ft. above the target.
We will perfect this trigger either
electronically or barometrically.
And Col. Tibbets, we intend to do the bulk of the work, and of course the testing at
That'll mean an added work load on the entire
We'll handle it.
- That's all I have, GEN
- Thank you, Capt.
Gentlemen, may I have a moment with
Col. Tibbets?
- Not a very pretty thought, is it?
- No, sir.
You know, for a moment there, I thought I caught you looking a little uncomfortable.
I was.
- That morning back at Colorado Springs I was
under the impression that...
- May I say something, GEN?
I was flying B-17's, overseas.
Before every mission I used to walk through the bomb bay on my way to the cockpit
and I could... I could reach out and touch
those bombs.
And every time I knew that, even though our targets were industrial,
there'd be people down there who'd get killed by those bombs and I...
I felt uncomfortable.
But I flew the airplanes, dropped the bombs.
Sure, I felt uncomfortable just now.
I wouldnt think much of myself if I didn't.
Neither would I, Paul.
- Hi
- Hi
- Happy Anniversary.
- Happy anniversary, sweetheart.
They're pretty wonderful.
- So are you.
- They are wonderful.
But you know, every time I look at them
asleep, I get sad.
- Terribly sad.
- Why?
Oh, I keep thinking of this war and how...
somewhere, at this very moment, bombs are
being dropped. Children like that are being
Lucy, don't ever say that again, not to me.
Darling! What's wrong?
- What did I say?
- Look...
- Paul, I... I didn't mean to...
- Look!
Let's clear up one little piece of morality
right now.
It's not bombs alone that are horrible, it's
war. War is what's wrong, not just its
- Paul, all I...
- Sure, were in a war and innocent people are
dying, and that's horrible.
But lose this war to the gang we're fighting
would be the most immoral thing we could do
to those kids in there.
Don't you ever forget it!
- Here he comes.
- Turn 'em boys.
Okay, Tom, let her go.
- Way off!
- Missed by 2,000ft.
Well, that's getting a little closer.
Lucy! Lucy!
Lucy! Where's Paul?
- I don't know. Why?
- Little Tommy Wilson fell off the swing.
He's a bad concussion and he's
hemorrhaging. They've got to fly him to
Salt Lake City.
And the hospital can't reach Paul to get
permission to use the plane.
Left orders not to be disturbed.
Look, you take the kids. Don't worry, I'll
find him.
Jimmy! Jimmy, do you know where Col. Tibbets
is? I have to see him right away.
Im sorry, Ma'am, he's in a restricted area
and can't be disturbed.
- Well but, can I call him?
- We're to put no calls through except from
- Oh, I see. What area is he in?
- Area B.
- May I borrow the Col.'s jeep?
- I... I guess it's all right.
Thanks, Jimmy.
- Pass, ma'am?
- I don't have one. I'm Mrs. Tibbets.
- I have to see the Col. right away. It's
very important.
- Sorry, Mrs. Tibbets, you can't get by
without a blue pass.
- Can't you run in and tell him I'm here?
- I can't leave this post.
- Look, it's a matter of a child's life. I...
- Sorry.
- I'll take full the responsibility.
- Mrs. Tibbets!
- Your pass, ma'am.
- I've got to see Col. Tibbets right away.
- Please, your pass.
- Look, I've got to see him.
Now will you just knock on the door and tell
him his wife is here and it's very important?
- Sorry ma'am, this is a restricted area.
- I can't help that, a child's life is in
and I have to see my husband about it right
Oh Paul, Tommy Wilson's had a bad accident.
They needs a plane to take him to Salt Lake
Could you do something about it right away?
- Get on the phone. Set it up. Use my plane.
- Right
- Thank you, darling.
- Sergeant!
- Did you let in Mrs. Tibbets in here?
- No, sir.
I did , sir.
- Well, it was my fault...
- See that this man is taken to security
headquarters immediately.
- Cover his post.
- Yes, sir.
Paul, you can't blame that boy. It was my
fault. I rushed right by him.
Now listen, there are ways for that man to
get in touch with me. He knows them as well as I do.
Well, if he made a mistake, it was such a little one. You can't punish him for that.
Lucy, go home; stay home; and keep your nose
out of this base.
Is it really necessary to play it this big,
They told me not to bring you out here in the
first place. Maybe they were right.
Hey, Deuce! Take this to operations.
Paul, I've just come from Washington.
The Japanese have again turned down our
ultimatum to surrender and slaughter
in the Pacific continues.
After long conferences with our allies, and
many hour of soul-searching,
President Truman has regretfully but
definitely authorized the use of the atomic
bomb against the Japanese empire.
- I see.
- Well, that puts it squarely in our laps.
Pretty soon, now, that trigger is going to
be perfected.
The bomb will be completed and final flight plans will begin to take shape.
Just about that time, somebody's going to
have put all these pieces together and say
we're ready.
We're ready to try it.
And that somebody, is going to have to be
you, Paul.
- Well, that's a pretty big order, sir.
- You'll handle it.
The code word is Blue Light.
When you're ready, flash me that and I'll
tell Hap Arnold.
Ten minutes later, Silverplate is in
And from then on, there's no turning back.
But, be sure we're ready, Paul, dead sure.
Because when the time comes, you're going to
have to make the decision...
you, and you alone. And no one on this earth
can help you.
Yes, sir.
Oh, by the way, this came through this
You've been approved for full COL. And
there's a little favor you can do me.
These have been kicking around in my drawers
for years, now, always getting in the way.
They're a little tarnished, but you can polish them up.
I'd kinda like to think of those sitting on your shoulders, up there in that plane.
Thank you, GEN, for everything.
- Get out of here and get busy on Blue Light.
- Yes, sir.
- Hi, daddy.
- Hi shorty.
- I'm impossible. Ain't I?
- Fine
- Hello, peewee. Hi
- Hello.
Hey ask your mommy if she notices anything
different on daddy's collar.
- Well?
- Very nice.
- Look, I told you to keep that truck out of
here. Now take it and put it in your room.
- I will not!
Don't you talk back to me. Put it in your
room. Don't ever do it again or I'll take it
away from you.
It's all right. It's all right.
It's okay. It's okay.
Not even him, Paul.
Not even a 3-year-old child. Can't even he
make a mistake?
Where does it come from; this need for
perfection; this absolute intolerance of
People are human, they make mistakes...
but not around Paul Tibbets, no mistakes. Not in the air; not on the base; not in the home.
Not even in the nursery.
Well congratulations, you've got your Eagle
now. When do you start bucking for GEN?
I'm working tonight. I'll eat at the office.
It's all right, sweetheart.
Gentlemen, I'm just a guy who flies
The development; testing; and criteria for
the success of the bomb is strictly your
But I've been the responsibility of
committing this unit to action at the earliest possible time.
You've demonstrated 9 successful drops. In my opinion, we're ready.
I'm sorry, COL, but I don't agree.
It's true that we've made a start and a good
one. It's worked 9 times.
But what about the 10th? Or the 15th? Or the
What if it fails then? When you're over a Japanese city.
- Why should it fail?
- We don't say that it will, but...
we can't guarantee that it won't.
We've been charged with the responsibility of
developing a bomb that has a negligible...
that is...
1 to 10,000th chance of failing to fire.
9 drops can hardly be considered conclusive.
- How much further testing will you require?
- Hard to say. Possibly several months.
A lot of men can die in several months.
Well that's true COL, but an unsuccessful
detonation would achieve nothing; save no
And waste 5 years of work; 20 billion dollars
in research.
- Well, what does this all add up to?
- Simply this,
without further and exhaustive tests, we cannot scientifically guarantee the success of Silverplate.
If the unit must be brought into action, the
responsibility must be completely and solely
I ah...
I'll have to think about this.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Get me GEN Brent in Colorado Springs.
I can't make this decision. It's too big.
He'll have to make it himself.
Take it easy, Paul. No one expects you to be
When the time comes, you're going to have to
make a decision.
you, and you alone. And no one on this earth
can help you.
Cancel that call.
I don't know.
See you later, Bill.
Paul, your chicken's getting cold.
- Stop doing that and eat your potatoes.
- I don't like potatoes!
Well, they're good for you, now you just eat
I will not!
- No nonsense, now, I don't want to hear
another word out of you...
- Can't we have one meal in peace?
All right, all right, don't eat them.
Paul, we... we just can't go on like this.
What's bothering you?
- You're so stubborn. If you'd just let me help...
- Lucy please, go back to the table.
- But... but why won't you let me...
- Lucy, will you just leave me alone!
No, I won't!
I'm not going to stand by and see you destroy
yourself and me and the children.
I don't care what this job is, you're not
going to kill yourself.
- Well, you're exhausted, Paul. You need a
- There's nothing I can do about it.
Look, you need a change. Anything, just
24 hrs. away from this horrible place.
And it's so ridiculously easy.
- What are you talking about?
- Cold Springs, they have cabins and a good
trout stream.
We can run up with Marge and Harry and be
back Sunday. No one would ever have to know.
- Where is this Cold Springs?
- Outside Salt Lake.
Oh darling, just for the weekend.
- Marge says the trout are that big. You
don't even have to know the spot...
- When was Marge up there?
Last week. Harry flew up to Salt Lake about
something or other and he developed a little convenient carburetor trouble
Marge drove up to meet him. She said they had
the most...
- What're you doing?
- This is COL Tibbets get me MAJ Henderson.
Paul, what're you doing?
MAJ, I want Harry Bratton relieved of his
duties and confined to base.
You will take over as Director of Training
until further notice.
That's right.
If it wasn't for you and Marge, I'd have him
- Are you out of your mind?
- Lucy, I've told you before...
- You believe you can violate my confidence to do a thing like this to Harry?
- For the last time, will you stay out of my
It's my business too. And I'm beginning to
understand a few things I couldn't face
- That's enough.
- Everything they say is true.
You're not the man I married, not anymore.
You're ambitious. You're cold, and unfeeling.
- Lucy, listen to me.
- You listen to me!
I've had all I can take of this place. I
can't live this nightmare any longer!
You've killed every ounce of love or
affection I ever felt for you, and I want
You hear. I want you to get me out of here!
All right.
As soon as I can arrange transportation. I'll
get you out of here.
You and the children.
- Sergeant.
- Yes, sir?
Set up my airplane for immediate take off.
Notify GEN Brent I'll be in Colorado Springs
in the morning.
- What happened?
- Engine failure on takeoff.
- Anybody get out?
- Pilot, co-pilot killed.
- The GEN's in pretty bad shape.
- The GEN?
Not GEN Brent?
Let's go.
COL Tibbets
- You may see him now. Just for a minute.
- How is he?
Alive. Remember, just for a minute.
- Hello Paul.
- I hear you ran into a little hard luck,
Oh, a couple of scratches, nothing to worry
Well Paul, I know this isn't any social call.
What's on your mind?
I ah...
I came to see you sir to ask...
To tell you it's Blue Light, GEN.
Good work, son.
Wire Hap Arnold "Blue Light".
Tell him old Brent's still got a pretty fair
country average.
- Yes sir.
- Tibb,
don't drop that thing in some old rice
God bless you, sir.
- Yeah?
- Mrs. Tibbets to see you, MAJ.
- Oh, show her in.
- Yes, sir.
- Hello Bill.
- Well this is a pleasant surprise!
- Sit down.
- Thank you.
- Cigarette?
- No thanks.
- How are those kids of yours?
- Oh, they're fine, just fine.
- Bill, where's Paul?
- Away
- Where?
- I think he'll be back this afternoon.
I didn't ask you that.
I know you didn't.
Did you see him before he left?
- Why?
- Did he mention anything about us?
- Should he have?
- Did he?
Why can't I ever get an answer around here? A
simple answer to a simple question.
- Lucy, what's wrong?
- Paul and I just had a fight last night. We
decided to split up.
But I'm not leaving, not yet.
Not until you give me the answer to a
question, a big question.
- What is it?
- What's Paul doing here at Wendover?
Why do you want to know?
Because if... Because if it's just another
job, then... then Paul's changed, and I can't
live with him anymore.
But if what he's doing is really important,
there might be some reason for this act he's
putting on.
You've got to tell me, Bill.
It means my home, my husband, my family.
Lucy, I know it's tough. But be patient.
It'll work itself out.
- Then you won't help me?
- I couldn't.
All right, if I don't find out from you, I'll
find out from somebody else.
But mark my words: Before I break up my home,
I'm going to find out what's going on, on
this base.
And you can put that on your security list.
- Lucy, look...
- Good afternoon, MAJ
- Larry.
- Yes, sir?
I want a complete 105 on Mrs. Tibbets.
- Mrs. Tibbets?
- That's right, the COL's wife.
- I want to be notified the moment COL
Tibbets steps off that plane.
- Yes, sir.
MAJ Uanna wants to see you in his office
right away, sir. He says it's important.
I just wanted you to know that I've taken the
precaution of putting her under surveyance.
- Do you really think Lucy's a security risk?
- In this frame of mind, she could be.
- What do you want me to do?
- I see no alternative to sending her back to
Paul, another thing: now that we'll be
shoving off in a couple of weeks,
her leaving like this might cause speculation
that the outfit's ready to move.
I'd like it to get around that you and she
have had a family squabble; and she took the
kids and went home.
It might be better if she thought that too.
Think you can arrange it?
How much? How much is she supposed to take?
Why don't I just go home and kick her teeth
in? That'd be easy.
What do they want from me?
Keep your mouth shut. Keep a secret. Lose
your friends. Break up your family. What's
How much can a man take? How much?
She'll be out of here tonight.
Call Washington. Clear a plane.
- Get me A2 in Washington.
- Yes, sir.
- Hello Paul.
- Hi
- Have you had your lunch? I... I kept things
- I ate on the plane.
Oh, Paul! I... I said such awful things last
I was wrong, darling, so wrong.
I don't want to leave. I want to be with you,
Paul. All the time with you, every second
that I can.
I want you to take the children and go back
to Washington.
I've arranged for a plane.
A plane?
- When?
- This afternoon.
I'll help you pack.
- Take care of your mummy and be a good boy,
- Daddy, why aren't you coming?
Daddy'll be home just as soon as he can.
- Well?
- Take care of yourself, Paul.
Yeah, I'll be seeing you.
Come on, shorty.
Ah, that's it fellas, Tinian. You can call it
home, for a while.
- Circuit A.
- I read continuity.
- Circuit B.
- Circuit continues.
- Excuse me, Dr. Ramsey.
- Uh huh
- Hello Bill. Any change in the weather?
- No, that storm center is still moving
towards the coast of Japan.
- This just came in.
- What is it?
GEN LeMay wants to see you at Guam
- Radio back I'll be there in an hour.
- Right
- See you later, Dr. Ramsey.
- Right
We've been given four alternate targets:
Niigata, Kokura, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki
Which city we bomb will be determined by
weather reports received in flight.
Briefly, the plan calls for three weather ships precede me by two hours.
Two camera ships will accompany me and get a record if... well, if anything goes wrong.
I'll bomb from 30,000ft and execute the steepest possible turn to head away from the blast area.
The essence of the plan is simplicity:
One bomb, one airplane.
You mean to say you're going in there with a single unescorted B-29? With an atomic bomb
at stake?
Why, I'd surround your aeroplane with every fighter and B-29 we've got.
- Hundreds of them.
- Well, that sir, would alert all the
Jap defenses. We're counting on surprise.
Well, what if you're jumped by a flock of Jap zeroes?
Our ship is stripped down: no armor, no
We can fly and bomb at 31,000ft. A zero
stalls out at 25,000.
That's cutting it pretty fine COL.
We think that speed, altitude, and surprise
are a better defense than guns.
The plan has been approved by GEN Spots.
COL, you get yourself back to Tinian and stay
at ready.
You'll hear from me just as soon as I...
Storm center moving off coast. Should clear
by 07:00.
Well, that's it.
Tonight's your night.
- Better get going, Paul.
- Yes, sir.
Our father, we pray thee that the end of the war may come soon.
And that once more we may know peace on
May the men who fly this night be kept safe in thy care.
And may they be returned safely to us.
We go forward, trusting in thee. Knowing that we are in thy care, now and forever.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
Take off will be at 02:15. Go get some rest.
- Bill, if ah... if anything happens, see
that Lucy gets that.
- You bet
You got four hours. Try to get some sleep
Dear mother,
I'm writing you tonight because I've got
something to say.
You're the only one I can say it to.
I've never said it to Lucy, and I never want to say it to my sons,
I've never been able to say it to dad.
Mom, I'm scared.
I don't know why I'm scared. I suppose it could be that there's a good chance I'll be
killed tomorrow.
I've faced that before, often. It's never
But I'm not sure that's it.
Maybe I'm scared of making a mistake.
So many details, so much to keep in my head.
Have I forgotten anything? Have I something
That one little slip that could ruin the
Maybe that's it, but I don't think so.
Maybe I'm scared of the idea of dropping one
bomb that can kill thousands of people.
It's a hard thing to live with, but it's part of my job, and I've gotta do it.
Just been looking for you COL. The boys are wondering what name you want to put on the
It's probably a little of all these things, mom.
But I think mostly I'm more scared for my
for their world.
I'm scared of what could happen if this thing we're unleashing tomorrow doesn't stop this war...
and all others.
I feel better now, mom. I'll be all right.
- Sergeant. Did... did you just ask me
- Well, yes sir. The name for the plane?
Oh, just um... just name it "Enola Gay."
"Enola Gay"? Is that someone's name, sir? Who is she, sir? One of your old girls?
Yeah, one of my old girls.
- Never even got off the runway.
- 40,000 men and 300 planes on this island.
- What if that happens to us?
- You'd make quite a mess of things around
It's not going to happen to us. We're taking
off with the bomb unarmed.
CAPT Parsons will arm it once we're in
This decision was made some time ago.
- Well, gentlemen. Good luck.
- Thanks, GEN. All right fellas.
- PBS 8 - PBS 8
- Flaps 25 - Flaps 25
- High RPM - High RPM
Checklist complete
The camera ships are taking off now, COL.
North Tinian Tower, this is Dimples 82, ready
for takeoff.
Dimples 82, from North Tinian Tower.
- Clear for immediate takeoff on runway no.1.
- Roger, Dimples 82.
- Okay, Duze?
- All set, COL.
Looks like we're past the worst of the
turbulence, CAPT.
Any time, now.
And good luck.
Circuit A.
unh... Circuit B.
Pilot to crew, give me your attention.
Up to this time you've only been told you what you needed to know to help accomplish
this mission.
You're now entitled to know the rest of the
We're on our way to Japan to bomb one of four
Niigata, Kokura, Hiroshima, or Nagasaki
Weather ships ahead of us are surveying
conditions over those cities
and will relay that information to us as we approach the coast of Japan.
I know you're all wondering what that thing
is back there in the bomb bay.
Well, I'll tell you.
It's an atomic bomb.
When we release it today, you're going to see
the biggest explosion in history.
You've all been given dark goggles.
But I don't want anybody I looking in the direction of the flash.
Face away from it until we've made our turn.
We know we're going to be hit by a shock
We don't know how hard. So stay on your toes.
We've come a long way, fellas.
Let's pray to God we finish the job right.
That's all.
Weather ships are coming in, sir.
Niigata, 8/10 cloud cover, hazy
Kokura, solid overcast
Nagasaki, broken clouds, rain, visibility
Hiroshima, clear,
visibility unlimited
It looks like Hiroshima draws the short
straw, COL.
Pilot to navigator, did you hear that, Dutch?
Your primary target is Hiroshima.
I'll split it down the middle for you, Tibb.
- Tom, get a visual run if you can.
- Visual bomb run, wilco.
- Let's take her up, Duze.
- Okay skipper
Pilot to crew, we're approaching target area.
Check your equipment and get ready.
Navigator to pilot, we're over the IP and should hit the bomb release point at 09:15.
Tibbets to camera ships: three minutes.
- Tom, you see anything yet?
- Negative
There it is!
- You've got it, Tom.
- I got it.
Plunger away. Doors open.
All right everybody, get your dark goggles
Remember, don't look at the flash.
Get ready for the shock wave.
20 seconds
15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9,
8, 7, 6, 5,
4, 3, 2, 1.
Stand by! Here comes the shock wave.
- Everybody okay back there?
- Everything okay back here, COL.
- Okay
- Engines, okay
Take it for a while, Bob.
Pilot to radio operator. Take a strike
Results good
Results good
- When did you sleep last, COL Tibbets?
- Oh, I got a little sleep last night.
- How long was the flight?
- Approximately 14 hours
- How big was the bomb?
- Sorry, no comment
- All right COL, we're ready for you on the
- All right
Who knew about the project?
No comment
- Did you feel any heat from the flash?
- No
COL Tibbets how do you feel personally about
this bomb?
Sorry, no comment
Just a minute, COL.
I represent a news service that's read by 16 million Americans.
You've just dropped a bomb that's killed
80,000 people. My readers want to know how
you feel about it.
How do they feel about it?
Lucy! Lucy!
Lucy! Lucy, turn on the radio! It's Paul!
He's on Guam. They just wiped out a Japanese
city. It may end the war.
May we have some pictures, Mrs. Tibbets?
This is KWGA on Guam.
You've been listening to COL Paul W. Tibbets Jr. who has just made history by leading a mission which dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan.
Flying a B-29 named the "Enola Gay".
COL Tibbets and his crew of 9, landed at
Tinian at 3:15 P.M.
where GEN Spots personally decorated COL
Tibbets with the Distinguished Service Cross.
For further details, we return you to New
York. Come in, New York.
- Did he tell you about the mission?
- Did he tell you it was an atomic bomb?
- How do you feel about his getting the DSC?
- Is there any truth to the rumor that you
and the COL are splitting up, Mrs. Tibbets?
- Please, Mrs. Tibbets, just one picture.
- One with the babies, please
- Ad nauseam