Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk
Interview and Book Signing
September 15, 2013 @ 1:30 p.m.
Join us for an afternoon with "Dutch" Van Kirk, the navigator and last living crewman of the Enola Gay—the Boeing B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima 68 years ago, hastening the end of World War II. "Dutch" will speak about training for the Hiroshima mission, the end of
World War II, and his experiences with Paul Tibbetts—the Enola Gay's pilot and
his commanding officer in both the early heavy bombing raids in Europe and in the Pacific. (Read Dutch's
Following the presentation, Dutch will be available to sign copies of his book My True Course with his biographer Suzanne Simon Dietz.
Copies of My True Course will be available in the Museum Store; call (972) 380-8800 X100.
Note: Mr. Van Kirk’s appearance is subject to health conditions and his ability to travel.
Theodore Jerome Van Kirk
"Dutch" Van Kirk was a depression kid and self-described "Susquehanna river rat" from
Northumberland, Pennsylvania who joined the Army Air Corps in September 1941 with aspirations of being a pilot. Assigned instead as a navigator, he participated in the early heavy bombing raids on German-occupied Europe with Paul Tibbets, his pilot and commanding officer, and bombardier Tom Ferebee. The trio also flew special missions carrying Generals Mark Clark and Dwight Eisenhower in support of Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa in fall 1942. Two years later, Van Kirk would rejoin Tibbetts and Ferebee to train for and execute the special mission that would drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. That mission, and the Nagasaki mission three days later, brought about the end of World War II and made the invasion of the Japanese homeland unnecessary, saving many American and Japanese lives.
Suzanne Simon Dietz
Suzanne Dietz is the historian for the Aero Club of Buffalo (the oldest aero club in the United States), writes and researches for the Niagara Aerospace Museum, and is the author of nine historical books.