On Aug. 9, 1945, the B-29 Bockscar dropped the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki, which led to Japan’s unconditional surrender and the end World War II.This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force – where the B-29 Bockscar and an actual “Fat Man” atomic bomb are on display – will have several special opportunities to commemorate it.Col. (Ret.) Joseph Sweeney, the son of Bockscar pilot Gen. Charles Sweeney who was at the controls when the aircraft dropped the bomb on that fateful day, will speak about his father and the war during a presentation in Carney Auditorium on Aug. 7 at 10 a.m. This event is free and open to the public.
Col. Sweeney has served in both the United States Marine Corps, as well as the Massachusetts Air National Guard, and was the former commander of the 102nd Air Intelligence Squadron at Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass., before retiring in 2012. Some of his major awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Device, Air Force Commendation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon and the Legion of Merit.The lecture will be streamed live on Periscope through the museum’s Twitter account. To watch, follow the museum on Twitter @AFmuseum and log in prior to the lecture starting on Aug. 7.For more information or handicapped seating arrangements during the lecture, contact the museum’s Special Events Division at (937) 255-1712. Filming or videotaping the lecture is prohibited.
In addition, several WWII veterans will also be on hand to discuss their experiences with visitors in the museum’s WWII Gallery on Aug. 14 from 1-3 p.m. The museum’s WWII Gallery houses one of the world’s top collections of WWII aircraft and a variety of engaging and evocative exhibits to tell the proud story of the U.S. Army Air Forces during the war. The gallery captures the pivotal moments, campaigns and figures of U.S. Army Air Forces’ air power in both the Pacific and European Theaters.
Finally, the Air Force Museum Theatre will feature the film D-Day: Normandy 1944. Although the largest Allied operation of WWII began in Normandy, France, few know in detail exactly why and how, from the end of 1943 through August 1944, this region became the most important location in the world. Narrated by Tom Brokaw, the film pays tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom. During the week of Aug. 7-14, WWII veterans will be offered complimentary tickets to the film and all others will receive a special discounted rate of $6.00. For more information, call (937) 253-4629 or visit www.afmuseum.com/attractions/theatre.
The theatre is operated by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., a Section 501(c)(3) private, non-profit organization that assists the Air Force in the development and expansion of the facilities of the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The Air Force Museum Foundation is not part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no governmental status. For more information on the Air Force Museum Foundation, visit www.airforcemuseum.com.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about one million visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.