“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
West Wendover in Elko County, Nevada — The American Mountains (Southwest)

509th Composite Group – First Atomic Bombardment

509th Composite Group Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 17, 2007
1. 509th Composite Group Marker
Inscription. “The Atomic bomb is too dangerous to be loose in a lawless world ... we pray that (God) may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.”
—President Harry S. Truman, August, 1945.

In Memory. This monument is dedicated to the members of the 509th Composite Group, United States Air Force, who trained at the Wendover, Utah, Army Air Force Base in 1944-45, for the vital, secret mission of delivering the first atomic bombs on Japanese targets in August 1945. The combined efforts of all members of the United States Army and the United States Navy who created the massive armed service support of this historic endeavor share this important dedication that brought World War II to a much earlier conclusion.

Recognition is given to the scientific teams who created this awesome weapon, those who sacrificed their lives in the Pacific Theatre, Allied forces in other theatres of action during World War II, and all contributed to bring this dreadful war to an end.

The loss of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan are especially recognized in this memorial for their sacrifice to mankind’s struggle for a more peaceful world.

May this monument stand as a symbol of hope that mankind will reason and world together for the ultimate goal of world peace.
Composite Group Logo image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 17, 2007
2. Composite Group Logo
1990 by Members and Friends of the 509th Composite Group with additional funding provided by the Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology.
Location. 40° 44.228′ N, 114° 3.405′ W. Marker is in West Wendover, Nevada, in Elko County. Marker is on Wendover Boulevard west of U.S. 93, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wells NV 89835, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Hastings Cutoff (approx. 0.9 miles away); Wendover Will Reclaims Skyline Once Again (approx. 0.9 miles away); Control Tower (approx. 1.2 miles away in Utah); Bomb Squadron Hangar (approx. 1.2 miles away in Utah); South Base Area (approx. 1.2 miles away in Utah). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Wendover.
Additional comments.
1. 509th Memorial
I am a veteran of the 509th and was present at the dedication of the memorial during our reunion in 1990. (45th Anniversary) I understand that they are refurbishing it. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted January 30, 2009, by Paul Metro of Edison, New
President Truman's Statement image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 17, 2007
3. President Truman's Statement

Categories. Air & SpaceMilitaryWar, World II
In Memory image. Click for full size.
By Dawn Bowen, June 17, 2007
4. In Memory
Russell Gackenbach and Fat Man image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 10, 2012
5. Russell Gackenbach and Fat Man
2nd Lt. Russell Gackenbach, a member of the 509th Composite Group, flew on the missions that dropped the atomic bombs at the end of World War II. After secret training in nearby Wendover Army Air Field in Utah, he served as navigator on the photographic plane Necessary Evil, or Plane #91, on the Hiroshima mission on August 6, 1945, and on the Enola Gay during the Nagasaki mission three days later. He was awarded the Air Medal for his participation in the mission, and was discharged in April 1946 as a 1st Lieutenant. He is seen here in front of a replica of the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. When this photo was taken, Lt. Gackenbach was one of only three surviving members of the crew.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 24, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,499 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 24, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia.   5. submitted on October 12, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement We are suspending advertising until they remove an ad for a certain book from circulation. A word in the book’s title has given rise to number of complaints. The word is inappropriate in school classroom settings.