Ross Simpson: All right, here’s the promo for Part One of the Nuclear War Series. I’m Ross Simpson on a bus, heading into Cheyenne Mountain, outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is the home of NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command. This is also where my five part series on the nightmare of nuclear war begins this morning.
Paul Tibbets, Jr.
Ross Simpson: I’m talking with Bob Caron, who was the Tail Gunner on the Enola Gay, the day it flew to Hiroshima, Japan and dropped the first atomic bomb. Bob, what do you remember about that day? It’s been forty years. Forty years is a long time.
Robert Furman: Robert Furman. F-U-R-M-A-N. I was an assistant to General Groves in the Manhattan District, in his Twenty-First Street offices here in Northwest. And I joined him in late autumn of ‘43 and left him right after the war—right after the end of the war.
Cindy Kelly: Can we—just to—no one’s going to hear what I say, so. And don’t feel that I’m interrupting you because the beauty of editing is we can cut and paste things.
Wendover Air Field was chosen as the rear training base for the 509th Composite Group because of its isolation. It is located in the salt flats located 125 miles west of Salt Lake City. Colonel Paul Tibbets, head of the 509th, remarked upon seeing Wendover for himself: "The end of the world, perfect." Life at Wendover was primitive: the drinking water was bad, infrastructure was limited, rats invaded barracks, and there was sand in everything.
Cindy Kelly: Give me your name and spell it.
Graydon Whitman: My name is Graydon Whitman, G-R-A-Y-D-O-N W-H-I-T-M-A-N.
Kelly: Great. Okay, can you tell us a little bit about your background: where you’re from and how you happened to become part of the Manhattan Project?