Photo looking down on B-29 Bockscar in National Museum of USAF

Air Force museum marks end of World War II

In NAHA News, National Museum of the United States Air Force /

On Aug. 9, 1945, the B-29 bomber Bockscar dropped the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Closely following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, the Nagasaki attack proved America had the capacity to use nuclear weapons with devastating effect and led to Japan’s unconditional surrender and the end of 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 (but inert) “Fat Man” atomic bomb are on display—will commemorate it with several special events, according to a museum press release.

Joseph Sweeney, a retired Massachusetts Air National Guard colonel and the son of Bockscar pilot Gen. Charles Sweeney, who was at the controls when the airplane dropped the bomb, will speak about his father and the war during a presentation in Carney Auditorium at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 7. The event is free and open to the public.

Sweeney served in both the Massachusetts Air Guard and the Marine Corps 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 one 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 beginning of the lecture.

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 gallery houses one of the world’s top collections of WWII aircraft and a variety of exhibits that tell the story of the U.S. Army Air Forces during the war.

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 world’s most important military location. Narrated by Tom Brokaw, the film pays tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

During the week of Aug. 7-14, the museum will offer WWII veterans 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.