Necessary Evil (aircraft)
Assigned to the 393d Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group, it was used as a camera plane to photograph the explosion and effects of the bomb, and to carry scientific observers. At the time of the attack the plane was not named and was known only by its 393d Victor number. The mission was flown by crew B-10, with Captain George Marquardt as aircraft commander.
Built at the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Plant at Omaha, Nebraska, Necessary Evil was accepted by the Army Air Forces on May 18, 1945, and flown to Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, by its assigned crew C-14 (1st Lt. Norman W. Ray, Aircraft Commander) in June. It departed Wendover for North Field, Tinian on June 27 and arrived on July 2. It was originally assigned the Victor (unit-assigned identification) number 11 but on August 1 was given the Circle-R tail markings of the 6th Bomb Group as a security measure and had its Victor changed to 91 to avoid misidentification with actual 6th BG aircraft. It was named and had its nose art painted after the Nagasaki mission.
In addition to the Hiroshima mission, Necessary Evil's operations history on Tinian included 10 training and practice missions, and three combat missions in which it dropped pumpkin bombs on industrial targets in Kobe, Kashiwazaki, and Koriyama, all flown by 1st Lt. Ray and crew C-14.
In December 1945 Necessary Evil returned to the United States with the 509th CG to Roswell Army Airfield, New Mexico. It was part of the Operation Crossroads task force from August 1946 until June 1949, when it was transferred to the 97th Bomb Group at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas.
Necessary Evil was re-configured as a TB-29 trainer by the Oklahoma City Materiel Area at Tinker Air Force Base in April 1950. It was subsequently assigned to:
- 1st Tow Target Squadron, Biggs Air Force Base (September 1952),
- 1st Radar Calibration Squadron, Griffiss Air Force Base, New York (March 1953),
- 4713th Radar Evaluation Flight, Griffiss AFB (March 1954),
- 17th Tow Target Squadron, Yuma County Airport, Arizona (June 1955), and
- 4750th Air Defense Wing, Vincent Air Force Base, Arizona .
Hiroshima mission crew
Crew B-10 (normally assigned to Up An' Atom)
- Capt. George W. Marquardt, Aircraft Commander
- 2nd Lt. James M. Anderson, Co-Pilot
- 2nd Lt. Russell Gackenbach, Navigator
- Capt. James W. Strudwick, Bombardier
- T/Sgt. James R. Corliss, Flight Engineer
- Sgt. Warren L. Coble, Radio Operator
- Sgt. Joseph M. DiJulio, Radar Operator
- Sgt. Melvin H. Bierman, Tail Gunner
- Sgt. Anthony D. Capua, Jr., Assistant Engineer/Scanner
- (Civilian) Prof. Bernard Waldman, Project Alberta, camera operator
Other aircraft named Necessary Evil
Two FB-111A strategic bombers of the USAF 509th Bomb Wing, serials 67-7194 and 68-0259, carried the name and original nose art of Necessary Evil on their nosewheel doors while based at Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire, in the 1970s and 1980s.
- Campbell, Richard H., The Silverplate Bombers: A History and Registry of the Enola Gay and Other B-29s Configured to Carry Atomic Bombs (2005), ISBN 0-7864-2139-8
- 509th CG Aircraft Page, MPHPA
- Wendover City History
- Smithsonian Channel - The Men Who Brought the Dawn