The Beser Foundation for Archival Research and Preservation Salutes the Men of the 509th Composite Group On Behalf Of A Forever



The Hiroshima Mission
August 6, 1945

Col. Paul W. Tibbet, Jr. waves to photographers and film crews before taking off in the early morning of August 6, 1945 for Hiroshima, Japan.

Enola Gay returns from Hiroshima August 6, 1945.

Enola Gay under restoration. The Enola Gay has been restored so completely that it would probably start if fueled, officials said. But because components are so old, it wouldn't be flight worthy. Curators restored each part to the way it looked on "mission day," down to particular radio tubes used at the time.

General Spaatz and others await the Enola Gay returning from Hiroshima August 6, 1945.

Standing (L-R) Col. Porter,Capt. van Kirk, Maj. Ferebee, Col. Tibbets, Capt. Lewis, Lt. Beser Kneeling (L-R) Sgt. Stibork, Sgt. Caron, Pfc. Nelson, Sgt. Schumard, Sgt. Duzenbury

Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. ? Pilot and Aircraft commander
Capt. Robert A. Lewis ? Co-pilot; Enola Gay's assigned aircraft commander
Maj. Thomas Ferebee ? Bombardier
Capt. Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk ? Navigator
Navy Capt. William S. "Deak" Parsons ? Weaponeer and bomb commander
1st Lt. Jacob Beser ? Radar countermeasures (also the only man to fly on both of the nuclear bombing aircraft)
2nd Lt. Morris R. Jeppson ? Assistant weaponeer
Tech. Sergeant George R. "Bob" Caron ? Tail gunner
Technical Sergeant Wyatt E. Duzenberry ? Flight engineer
Sergeant Joe S. Stiborik ? Radar Operator
Sergeant Robert H. Shumard ? Assistant flight engineer
Pfc. Richard H. Nelson - Radio operator

Atomic bomb (Little Boy) used to destroy Hiroshima. The Little Boy design consisted of a gun that fired one mass of uranium 235 at another mass of uranium 235, thus creating a supercritical mass when combined. A crucial requirement was that the pieces be brought together in a time shorter than the time between spontaneous fissions. Once the two pieces of uranium are brought together, the initiator introduces a burst of neutrons and the chain reaction begins, continuing until the energy released becomes so great that the bomb simply blows itself apart. Length: 120.0 inches (10 feet / 3.0 meters) Diameter: 28.0 inches (71.1 cm) Weight: 9,700 lbs (4,400 kg) Yield: 15 kiltons (+/- 20%)

Atomic mushroom cloud over Nagasaki

City of Hiroshima after the attack August 6, 1945

Hiroshima 60 years later

    My Father
  T?was in June of ?92, a tired old soldier, in agony and great pain on his deathbed lay. Waiting for the Heavenly Shepherd of Mercy, to arrive and take him on his way.

   As he lay there his mind ran rampant with nostalgic scenes, thinking back to the history making events of long ago. Reliving again the forgotten memories of his days in the army and recalling fond memories of friends he used to know.

    There was Tibbets, vanKirk, Ferebee, Lewis, Duzenbury, Caron, Stiborik, Shumard, Nelson, Jeppson, Parsons and about 1800 more. Some have gone on but others still await their special orders from the higher command to prepare to soar.

   The Heavenly Shepherd of Mercy arrived later that day and said ?St. Peter is waiting for you on the pearly way.? As He took my father tenderly by the hand he heard him say, You and your buddies will fly again as a crew some day.

   Jerome Beser

Official Logo of the 509th Composite Group, the unit that dropped the atomic bombs.  The unit was activated at Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, Dec. 17, 1944. The crews trained with practice bombs called ?pumpkins? because of their size and shape, which was the same as ?the Fat Man? atomic bomb. The 509th deployed to Tinian in the Marianas in May, 1945. It was a self-contained unit, with personnel strength of about 1,770.

This book has been compiled using unpublished documents from the personal collection of the late Jacob Beser, 1st Lt. U.S. Army Air Corps, 1945.

Lt. Beser was the only man to have participated in the design of the atomic bomb, and also flew as a crewmember on the strike aircraft for both the historic missions.

Beser collected data for over 40 years and began writing the book in 1990. He was unable to complete it because of his untimely death in 1992. In 2007, his youngest son Jerome and a close personal friend Jack Spangler finished the project. While concentrating on the untold story of the near tragic Nagasaki mission, this book presents a well balanced summary of what led up to World War II, why the bombs were only another weapon of war, and how many thousands of lives were saved by their successful use.

Lt. Beser argues that the public needs to recognize the true motivations and circumstances that led up to the use of the atomic weapons, as well as their horrible effects on mankind. Without clear and unbiased factual documentation and a society that understands the danger of allowing a part of history to be biased by ?pity the victims? stories and photographs, the possibility of history repeating itself becomes a real danger to current and future generations.

Autographed soft cover copies of this book are available directly from the authors for $20.00 (plus $4.00 postage - US Only):

Copies can also be ordered online from or may be available at (or ordered by) your local book store.

All profits from the sale of this book go to the Beser Foundation for Archival Research and Preservation, a not for profit organization dedicated to the "Preservation of the Past for the Benefit of the Future" and to assist in locating MIA's.