Military News

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Col. Paul Tibbets IV qualifies on B-52, continuing family's Air Force legacy

by Master Sgt. Greg Steele
93rd Bomb Squadron

11/21/2013 - Barksdale Air Force Base, La. -- 
Col. Paul Tibbets IV, Air Force Global Strike Command deputy director of operations, will become certified to fly the B-52H Stratofortress bomber here Nov. 21, making him one of a select number trained to fly all three U.S. Air Force bomber platforms.

He flew the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers during previous assignments.

"This is not an accomplishment many achieve," said 93rd Bomb Squadron B-52 Formal Training Unit commander Lt. Col. James Morriss. "The bomber pilot community is small and most stay with one bomber platform."

Col. Tibbets is also the grandson of Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets Jr., who was best known for his atomic mission in a B-29, the "Enola Gay", during World War II. Gen. Tibbets also flew 25 combat missions in the B-17, to include the first American Flying Fortress raid against occupied Europe. His B-17 Flying Fortress was decorated with the nose art "Red Gremlin."

As a tribute to the Tibbets family, the "Red Gremlin II" nose art has been placed on the B-52 that Col. Tibbets will land Thursday to mark his family's legacy.

"Col. Tibbets' heritage is the heritage of the Air Force and the long range strike mission," said Col. Jonathan Ellis, 307th Bomb Wing commander. "This is an opportunity to honor the legacy of our deterrence mission, past and present."

"My grandfather had a passion for aviation and most specifically, bombers," Col. Tibbets said. "It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of my hero and to fly the nose art that my grandfather flew in 1942. I am honored to play a small part in keeping his legacy alive today!"

Col. Tibbets is a command pilot with more than 3,800 flying hours.

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