Americans Killed by Atomic Bomb to be Honored in Hiroshima

Thursday, June 04, 2009
Crew of The Lonesome Lady

When the B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, it not only killed 70,000 Japanese, but also a dozen captured American fliers. The names of the 12 airmen, who were imprisoned at the Chugoku Military Police Headquarters, located about 1,300 feet (400 meters) from the epicenter of the blast that wiped out the city, may soon be added to a memorial dedicated to the victims of Hiroshima.

Nine of the 12 fliers were Army Air Corps personnel who flew on B-24s that were shot down; three from the Taloa and six from The Lonesome Lady. The other three were Navy airmen. Despite their close proximity to the detonation, not all of the men died immediately. Two servicemen, Ralph Neal and Normand Brissette, survived the blast and fire by diving into a cesspool. According to an account from an American who met up later with Neal and Brissette, the two fliers were “screaming about the fire and pain and the thousands of bodies everywhere. They begged us to kill them and end their suffering, but they soon died and the Japanese took their bodies away.”
The identities of the 12 Americans might never have been discovered were it not for Shigeaki Mori, a historian who has spent 30 years documenting the U.S. airmen’s stories, finding their families and writing a book about it. Mori is himself a Hiroshima survivor who was only 8 years old at the time of the attack. A plaque with the pictures of the crews of the Taloa and the Lonesome Lady was placed at the site of the former police station in 1998, thanks to Mori’s efforts.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
An American Face to the Tragedy of Hiroshima (by Torsten OVe, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Bo 4 years ago
Please tell me in what way the airmen are to be honored in Hiroshima? This article speaks of a plaque placed at the site of the former police station in 1998, but the headline indicates some commemoration which will occur in the future. Is this just an editorial error?

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